US capitol

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Taken at the same time as this image, I was really excited how this one turned out. It’s just the opposite side of the wall of the previous image with the sort of the same idea of a vanishing point. I love how everything lined up with this image. Even this guy’s outfit fits the scene so well with the little details of color in his backpack. I love how it’s all in the same color family with the street signs.

I think with these two images, I just got lucky with people who were passing by at the right time that just happen to match the scene. At times I have waited 5 to 10 minutes with the composition already in my mind for people to walk by who I thought would work for the image. If someone doesn’t come by in that time frame, I usually get impatient and walk away. So going to a place with a lot of people walking around is key but also having patience is a huge factor in taking these street images. This one happened instantly. There wasn’t much waiting at all for either image and I was so happy with the way they turned out.

I captured this image around the holidays and I was telling my friend, Birch that this image would have been perfect if a Santa was ringing his bell as he was walking down this sidewalk. One day we should make that happen. LOL. Anyone have a Santa Claus outfit? If so, we really need to get together soon.

Side note: I heard a really nice Santa costume is $5,000! That’s nuts! I can’t even imagine the dry cleaning cost after the season is over.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/320th of a second at ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm ultra zoom.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2019! WOW. Not to total ignore 2019 but everytime I think 2019, I can’t help but think 2020 is just around the corner and that is just bananas to me. Like can you imagine people saying that they were born in 2020? The number is just crazy to me. P.S. Where are the flying cars at?

Anyways…

Much like my top travel images of 2018, I like to reminisce and look back on my favorite images from Washington DC from the past year. It makes me feel so fortunate to live in the Nation’s Capital. I love being able to hop in my car and within minutes be among some of the most recognizable and loved landmarks in the world. I feel extremely blessed and look forward to another year of capturing more images.

Click on each image to read the original blog post but I’ll try to add some additional light on these images now that I’ve sat on them for a while. In no particular order except chronological, here are my favorite images of 2018.

fog, tidal basin, winter, weather, umbrella, stranger, candid, washington dc, national mall, moody, cherry blossom trees, trunk, photowalk,

This day was definietly a highlight of the winter season. I remember we had some crazy foggy mornings but on this particular day, the fog happened in the middle of the day. Oh yea, it was raining too. Luckily, it was on a Sunday and I didn’t have much else going on. So what better way than to walk around the National Mall than with my friend, Birch. I still love how everything lines up in this image, even the little reflection you see in the puddle behind the lady is so interesting to see.

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Shout out to Oregon for this year’s US Capitol Christmas tree! It’s stunning!

This isn’t my first time capturing the US Capitol Christmas tree but as I was capturing it this year, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful it is. Maybe I’m just older and feel like I appreciate the holidays more or something but I really enjoyed just walking around and finding the different angles.

A few weeks ago, I woke up for sunrise and made my way over to the US Capitol. I started off at the usual reflecting pool spot but saw a few other photographers there. For some reason something clicked in my head that I didn’t want to stay there and figured it would be better if I walked around a bit. I made my way all around the front of the Capitol. I was trying to find different angles but for some reason the tree itself was blocked off. I couldn’t get down to the grass where the tree was. The US Capitol police must block it off sometime in the middle of the night because I know I’ve been close to the tree before. Weird…

But I love the way this turned out. Mostly because I like the way the branches are just sticking out. I don’t know, I find it cute and it makes me smile. Hope this image makes you smile and brings you a little holiday cheer today. Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate. Wishing you all the best this holiday season.

I’ll be with family all day today and most looking forward to watching all my nieces and nephews open their christmas presents. It’s the best watching them so happy 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/640th sec at ISO 2500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Attention! Attention! I have a new sunset spot that I need to share. It’s very similar to the view at this one, but at least this time you’ll be able to go whenever you want and won’t be trespassing on residential property. LOL.

Its at the Observation Deck at the CEB Tower in Arlington, VA. If you haven’t already you gotta go! I honestly don’t know what took me so long because it opened in the summertime and earlier this week was my first time visiting. You can walk 360 degrees all around the 31st floor of this building which gives you very interesting viewpoints of Rosslyn, VA and Washington, DC. It’s absolutely stunning! The one downside is that you’re always shooting through windows.

This image was captured right before sunset through the window. The glow on the memorials is what caught my attention to this scene and I couldn’t help but snap multiple images. My tip is to put your lens right up against the glass to reduce glare. If you have a dark black cloth that you can put over the lens, that’s even better! In order to capture this, I actually used my cell phone as a shield against the little spot that was being reflected. It was enough for the day but in case you’re there on a super sunny day, a cloth would be best.

But I haven’t told you the best part yet! The best part is that you can go up to the second floor of this observatory and go outside! You’re still shooting through glass but it’s even better with the fresh air. There are little spaces in between the glass panes that you can sort of fit your lens through but otherwise, it’s an interesting place to experiment.

My camera setting for this image is F5.6 at 1/100th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Speaking of fog, Saturday was really foggy. There were times that you could not even see the Washington Monument it was so foggy. But at sunrise, the fog brought this beautiful glow to the city and it was amazing.

On this particular day, I parked on Ohio Dr. so coming from that side of the National Mall, I had my first glimpse of the US Capitol at the Reflecting Pool. I love how the dome is partially covered by the mist and lights. This was the very first shot I took and probably my favorite from the entire morning. I didn’t have my tripod with me so I sort of balanced my camera along the side of the reflecting pool and for this shot it worked well. Others, not so much. Another reason why this is my favorite shot. LOL.

So I have been getting questions about foggy mornings. Just like a colorful sunrise, they’re hard to predict. This particular morning I knew it was going to be foggy because the night before had been incredibly foggy and the weather apps said it was going to last all night. However, there have been times that I have been out and knew there was going to be fog without the weather apps saying so. I’ve realized that when I listen to the radio or a weather forecast and the meteorologist says, “warm front” then there’s a good chance for fog. It’s the combination of the warm air mixing with the cold that brings the foggy mornings and I love it. Foggy mornings like this is what makes photography so much fun. You just never know what you’re going to get.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 0.6 sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II with my 70-200mm ultra zoom lens.

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If you asked me my favorite time of day to photograph Washington DC, it has to be sunrise. Hands down, no questions asked, absolutely the best. Yes, the early wake up time can be a little brutal especially in the long summer months but it is so worth it. I love the alignment of where the sun rises among the monuments as opposed to where it sets from. It gives off this amazing warm glow on the memorials that’s hard to get at sunset. Plus there is this overwhelming feeling of peace and calm in a city that’s usually hustling and bustling during the day. At sunrise you’re more likely to get images with no one in them while at sunset it’s nearly impossible.

Whether you’re traveling or live within the DC Metro area, I highly recommend you try to make your way down to the National Mall early in the morning at least once. I typically try to arrive at my sunrise location about 30 minutes before the sun rises. That way you will see all the great predawn colors in the sky. Dress according to the weather and grab a coffee, you won’t regret it.

For the serious photographers out there, you may be wondering about tripods. For the most part they are not allowed. However if you’re photographing sunrise and there is no one else around, you could probably get away with it. I think the biggest concern is when the memorials are crowded and other people may trip over the legs. Out of all the times I’ve been out for sunrise (trust me it’s way more than I can count), I have been asked to put it away once while I was at the Lincoln Memorial. All other times other than sunrise at any of the memorials, it’s pretty much out of the question.

The United States Capitol is slightly different. Technically, it’s not the National Mall so the same rules don’t apply as they do at the memorials. There is way more security there and I’ve heard conflicting rules about tripods. The last time I spoke to a Capitol Policeman about it, he said they are allowed. However since then I’ve heard of photographer friends being asked to put it away. It seems like there is no right or wrong answer there so I would take your tripod if you want and just be respectful when photographing the grounds.

One last thing to note, I wrote a book all about photographing Washington DC. It’s called Snap DC: Your Guide to taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… and it is available on Amazon. So if you are interested in seeing more of Washington DC than just the sunrise, click here to check it out.  As an added bonus I created a 1, 3, and 5 day sample photo itinerary for your trip to Washington DC, click here to download my ideal schedule.

Now on to that sunrise…

The Lincoln Memorial

In my opinion, this is the ultimate sunrise location in Washington DC.  It’s the most iconic and it is the place that I tell everyone they must go if they have never been to the national mall and especially at sunrise. It’s the center of 4 great landmarks all within a central area. A one stop shop if you will.

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