US capitol

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Every year Washington DC welcomes millions of visitors traveling to the National Mall to take in all the sights and history. Many will start coming in the springtime to catch a glimpse of the beautiful cherry blossom trees at the Tidal Basin. They are alluring, but can sometimes be elusive. Especially when you are dealing with nature, you never know exactly when they are going to bloom or how long they will even last. In general, they will stick around for a week to 10 days. This already leaves a short window of time to see them and that doesn’t include the fact that these flowers are fragile and can fall off their branches with a sudden gust of wind or rain.

So this guide is for all you flower nature lovers who may have missed the cherry blossoms and are here to see what else the city has to offer. Don’t worry because there’s a lot! From Saucer Magnolias to Star Magnolias, Tulips and Forsythia, there is no shortage of beautiful blossoms in the city. You just have to know where to go to see them.

But if you are only interested in the cherry blossoms, I’ve got your back. Click here for the cherry blossom guide!

The National Mall:

Washington DC, especially the mall area, is a very nice area to walk. I highly suggest just taking the day to wander and get lost. There is no doubt that you will run into flowers and beautiful trees while walking around the area. Even the side streets that lead up to the Mall have pretty florets to look at. But if you’re on a time crunch, here are a few specific places to go:

Enid A Haupt Garden

Click here to read more

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From earlier this year, an image from sunrise at the US Capitol.

I don’t think I’ve shared any other images I’ve captured from this morning. It was one of those mornings where it seemed like nothing was really working quite right. Whenever that happens, I try my best to tell myself that days like this happen and that I’m at least out doing what I love to do. I capture as much as I can and just sit on the images until I’m ready to have a full editing session. Those are the times when I’m excited about editing and feel creative enough to try new things that may have not worked before.

I particularly like this image because I don’t see a lot of images of just the Peace Monument located in front of the US Capitol. I love how the bare branches are framing the monument adding to the mood.

My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-20mm zoom lens.

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I captured this at the same time I captured this image.

After playing around with some long exposures, I decided to walk around to see if I could get any foreground interest. I was there with my Sunday morning sunrise friends so finding a person as my foreground was pretty easy. Luckily Mark made for a great unknowing model and I was able to capture a few images of him taking pictures.

But the moral of the story is that Mark always gets to our locations early and snags the best spots before anyone else.

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/25th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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When I went to bed the night before, I wasn’t expecting much out of the sunrise. The weather apps said it was going to be cloudy, and so I just thought it was going to be a grey day. Luckily, I was meeting up with friends who came up with the great idea of capturing the sunrise from Freedom Plaza at sunrise. Having that accountability of meeting with people was definitely the motivation to get out of bed.

As I was driving into the city I saw very faint hints of pink and it got me excited. I immediately parked the car, grabbed my tripod and got to this beautiful spot along Pennsylvania Avenue as fast as I could. There wasn’t a lot of traffic going on so I thought for this image I would try to crop the street a bit and focus mainly on the sky. I really like how the street lights are acting as lines towards the US Capitol.

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/30th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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It looks like a warm summer day, right? No, it was 30 degrees out but a cloudless morning with a bright yellow sun that made the whole city glow for a little while. I was just at the right place at the right time to capture the glow. I love how it almost looks like the street lamps could be giving off the light as well.

On this particular morning, I met up with my friend, Larry who was already standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. Don’t worry though, there’s a bike lane in the middle of the street and we were standing somewhere that was very safe from traffic. Plus it was a Saturday morning was there wasn’t even any traffic. LOL.

We were trying to capture the sunrise but the cloudless sky didn’t really make for the dramatic colors he was looking for. So we started to walk around to see if we could capture the sun from a new perspective. As soon as we stepped back onto the sidewalk, I captured this. I just love how everything is lined up so nicely, leading your eye straight to the US Capitol.

My camera settings for this image are F6.3 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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This is probably the most minimalist image I’ve ever taken at the United States Capitol. But I love it.

I captured it this past Sunday while we were walking from the west to the east side. I saw the wispy clouds that were forming next to the Capitol so I quickly changed from my zoom to my wide-angle lens to try to capture it all. I could have very easily looked a little more to the right to try to capture this image of just clouds, but I love how the American flag is there just poking out of the corner. It’s very subtle but it is so patriotic. LOL.

For a little reference, here’s a better image of the same flag. It just comes out a little bit from the building.

My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/1250th sec and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.