washington monument

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We’ve been having a lot of stormy weather lately in the Washington DC area. It seems like almost every day I’ve been getting warnings on my phone about rain or thunderstorms. I’m not complaining though because it feels great to break up some of the hot, humid summer days. But with all these rainy days, I’m always thinking about the water levels at the Tidal Basin and how bad the flood walls need to be repaired.

Even though I took this image last summer, it reminds me of what it’s probably been like at the Tidal Basin right now. It’s pretty ridiculous to see how much the Tidal Basin gets flooded, even on a day that doesn’t rain that much. To be honest, this particular day was the worst I’ve ever seen it. The sidewalks are flooded and it has become un-walkable. At some point, I had to walk up the slight hill, up to the sidewalk in order to get around trees and the flooding in order to walk along the Tidal Basin. It’s crazy!

If you’re are just as concerned as I am about your grandchildren seeing the Tidal Basin in all its beautiful glory, including the iconic cherry blossoms, please consider taking the pledge from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It’s a national treasure that needs to be preserved.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/250th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Now that I’m feeling a little better, the blogs can go on as normal 🙂 Thank you for all your kind messages. They really made me feel better quicker.

I had been holding out on all the images I captured during Memorial Day weekend because I really wanted to be more thoughtful with those blog posts. So here it goes…

This image was captured the Thursday before the weekend had even started and it was totally unplanned. We got really heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon that seemed to have come out of nowhere and then all of a sudden, we lost power. With no power, Andrew and I were just bored, staring at each other so we decided that we may as well as go out and take pictures. Well, I was taking pictures while Andrew got some fresh air.

The US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) is the closest landmark to our house. When we arrived, there were 3 tour buses full of people standing around and taking pictures. I figured with so many people around the memorial, it would probably be best for us to walk over to the Netherlands Carillion which has a fantastic view of the DC skyline and wait out the buses for a bit. Hopefully, by the time we’re done, all the buses will be gone.

My wish came true!

We walked back to Iwo Jima and no one was there. We had the whole memorial to ourselves. I was so excited, I started snapping away. Eventually, I made my way over to some trees and were looking for some framing compositions when I saw this man come. He must have just gotten off of work, it was around 5:30p when I captured this and if I had to guess, he probably didn’t have any power either. I just love the way he was standing there and soaking it all in, I had to capture it.

My camera settings for this image is F13 at 1/500th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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This image has been shared more than 3.6 million times.

Probably much more than that but with so many people showing it to their friends and family, I know my name has been lost and I can’t keep track. To say it’s been an honor is an understatement. The number of conversations, emails and private messages I’ve received about this one image has been overwhelming but so humbling. Even to this day, 7 years later, I will still get messages in my email box specifically about the emotions people have felt about it.

This post isn’t to brag or to show off. It comes from the bottom of my heart. The deepest gratitude I can offer to the beautiful city I call home, all those who have taken the time to tell me how much this image has meant to them, and especially all the veterans and families who have been impacted by the Vietnam War.

So I wanted to take a moment and talk about the story behind the image, Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Sunrise:

It All Started 11 Months Prior. January 6th, 2012:

I woke up for sunrise with every intention to photograph the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I had visited the memorial one time before but did not come out with images I was super excited about. After a conversation with a friend, I decided I needed to go back.

Little did I know, the sunrise that morning was going to be EPIC!

Click here to read more

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Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin have pretty much lost all their flowers. Whenever that happens it sort of feels like the official end to cherry blossom season but I’m not sad about it. It’s expected for the cherry blossoms to last about a week-ish but there was something very special about this year’s bloom.

They seemed to be puffier and more colorful than ever. We had beautiful weather the entire week with nothing but blue skies. It was so exciting to capture. And it seemed like there were so many more photographers out because of the beautiful weather.

This image was actually captured 2 weeks ago, my first official day of photographing the trees this year.

I got to the Tidal Basin a little bit earlier than my usual time. I say I’d got there around 6:20a and it was ALREADY PACKED! I couldn’t find a parking anywhere spot along Ohio Dr at all. In my head, I thought that since it was Monday and that I was there earlier than I usually am, I should be fine with parking, but I was totally wrong. I ended up parking closer to the Smithsonian museums along the National Mall.

It was all good though because I was able to capture some of the cherry blossom trees by the Washington Monument on my walks to and from the Tidal Basin. This one was taken on my way back to the car. The sun had been out for quite some time but I just loved the cherry blossom trees looked like they were about to engulf the Washington Monument. I think that little bit of cloud adds a nice touch to the framing as well.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/640th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle.

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Another puddle, same day. Just a few steps away from this image and this image, I found this huge puddle. The difference between puddles is that this puddle had some really pretty petals along side of it.

Now try saying “puddle with pretty pink petals in it” 5 times as fast as you can.

Like I briefly mentioned yesterday, there are puddles everywhere. Especially on rainy days but it doesn’t even have to be rainy to find them. High tide will also make the sidewalks flood and it’s getting really bad. It’s to the point where it can be impassable.

I mentioned it last week but the Tidal Basin really does need your help. It will come to a point where no one will be able to enjoy the cherry blossoms because of the damaged flood walls. If you are interested in more information about the problem, click here and tag your images #savethetidalbasin on social media to help spread the word.

It can be deceiving but that puddle is actually deeper than it appears. I stepped into with my rainboots and the water went up to my ankles. I’ll take no more puddle reflection shots over saving the cherry blossom trees for future generations to enjoy.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/320th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

All photos available for print and licensing >

It’s official. I’ve officially caught spring fever and over the cold winter weather. You can now bring on the warmer temps and longer days. I’m ready! But in case you missed it, I’ve updated my cherry blossom guide with everything you need to know about photographing the beautiful flowers. From my favorite trees at the Tidal Basin to other places where you can catch the flowers blooming around the city. It’s all there. And of course, if you have any other questions about the cherry blossoms, please let me know in the comments. I’ll try my best to answer them.

But while I’m actually waiting for my spring dreams to come true, I figured I may as well load up on all the winter snow images I have while they’re still relevant. LOL. Things like this is why people always think I think ahead.

Anyways, this image was taken during our biggest snowfall of the year. It’s not really saying much since we didn’t get THAT much accumulation this season but it was still fun to capture. Like I said in my previous blog, I ended up taking the metro into the city and ended my day at the Smithsonian stop. This image was captured closer to the final destination but there was something that compelled me to turn around and take one last look at the Washington Monument when I saw this scene. I just loved how the trees were flanking and framing the obelisk. But I think my favorite part is looking at the very bottom of he image and seeing all the details. I don’t know why but I think it’s because those American flags and light posts are usually captured to be larger than life but when you see them in reference to the trees, they look so tiny. Definitely a new way of looking at these “everyday” things.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/1600th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.