waterfront

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The Mount Vernon Trail is one of the best places to go for those who enjoy being active outdoors but doesn’t want to deal with the crowds in Washington DC. The 17 miles trail spans from Rosslyn, VA to President George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon but along the way provides some of the best views of the nation’s capital and then some. The trail itself is protected by the National Park Service and can be accessed year-round from 6 am- 10 pm.

Here’s a great map of the trail.

For a majority of the time, the trail is sandwiched between the Potomac River and the George Washington Parkway.  This makes it really easy to hop on and off the trail at any given point. But it also provides some very beautiful waterfront views.  In other words, you don’t have to walk the entire 17 miles in order to see the best of the best, here are some personal favorite points of interests and places where you can hop on and off the trail:

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The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Arlington Memorial Bridge are seen from the Mount Vernon Trail in the middle of autumn.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

(L) the footbridge leading to Theodore Roosevelt Island (R) Theodore Roosevelt statue

Let’s start with one of my favorite places along the Mount Vernon Trail, Theodore Roosevelt Island. A great place to begin your outdoor adventure. I love it because it’s not like any other place along the trail. Park your car in the parking lot and cross the footbridge. You’ll be greeted by Theodore Roosevelt himself. Walk within the island for a bit more solitude than you would get along the Mount Vernon Trail. No bikes are allowed on the island but there’s a bike rack by the bridge so you can leave your bike and walk 🙂

Once you are back on the Mount Vernon Trail, you will see beautiful willow trees, and about half a mile away from Roosevelt island, you’ll start seeing some of the best views of the Washington DC Memorials. Its one of the only places where you can actually see the top 3 landmarks (Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the US Capitol) all lined up in a row. There is not one spot, in particular, you should go to see them. The more you walk, the more the perspectives will change and the view from across the Potomac River is like no other. If you walk a little further, you’ll start seeing the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as well. Enjoy these views or the memorials anywhere from Roosevelt Island to the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial.

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July 4th firework celebration

If you can, my favorite time to go here is on July 4th for the firework show. You basically get front row seats all along this part of the trail so you don’t really have to go early to claim your spot. If you do decide to go, then driving/parking may be a hassle. The best way to do it is to take the metro and get on and off at the Rosslyn stop. It’s a little more than half a mile walk but you’ll be saving so much more time by using the public transportation route. I have been on the George Washington Parkway when there are fireworks and cars will literally stop in the middle of the road to watch it. At that point, traffic gets super backed up!

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I got another roll of film developed! It’s always so exciting to get your rolls of film back, don’t you think? For some reason, I always forget most of the images I photograph so getting to see the images is so fun. Tell me why I had images of snow and cherry blossoms on the same roll! LOL. I don’t always procrastinate on stuff, but I guess capturing images on film is one of those things that I think can wait.

So here are just a few of my favorite images I received. The one above is of the Smithsonian Castle captured from the steps of the Hirshhorn Museum. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed how the Washington Monument can be seen from this point of view. I loved all the layering and points.

It’s like spring all over again. Looking up at the cherry blossom at the Tidal Basin.

Classic view of the cherry blossoms with the Washington Monument in the frame.

This image was captured on a spring afternoon on a walk around Georgetown with my friend, Andy. We decided to get some bubble tea after we left Dumbarton Oaks and this was along the way.

A selfie in the “Mirror. Mirror” art display in Alexandria’s Waterfront Park in Virginia. This is very cool to see in person and would recommend stopping by if you’re in the area. Luckily, I was there when no one else was so I was able to get this solo self-portrait.

Obviously, these are a little out of order but it’s just so weird seeing this snow image with all the others. I love this view from the View of DC. So obviously I had to go check it out when the city was covered in snow. I think this image turned out pretty well considering it was photographed through a window.

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When I think of spring flowers, I usually think of it as Magnolias, Cherry Blossoms and then Tulips. Magnolias are always the first sign of spring and Tulips are there to round out the end. However, somehow this year I totally missed the tulips!

I think these images were the only two images I captured this year.

The tulips a little closer up.

But hese were taken in Old Town Alexandria, right by the waterfront. I loved the way they were all lined up and the colors were beautiful. I was with my friend, Birch one afternoon just walking around and taking pics when we decided that crossing the street would probably get a cool view of the entire scene. The tulips, the house, and landscaping.

I really like this image in particular because of the dog. Yes, I’m a huge dog fan but the way that this dog is pulling on the leash totally reminds me of Frankie. LOL. Frankie is more of a ‘take time to smell the roses’ type of dog. Meaning he never wants to walk at a normal walking pace, he always wants to just take his time and sniff every single smell along the walk. This is exactly what this dog is doing and if you try to nudge him along to actually walk, he’ll resist just like what this dog is doing. It’s perfect that his person is taking a drink of coffee because he knows that he’ll be there for a while. LOL.

So in reality, walking Frankie is more like standing outside with Frankie.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/3200 sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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This is a portrait of my friend, Albert from one of Artechouse’s installations earlier this summer. I love it because of the cool lights in the background, the color, the mood but my favorite part of this image is because it is of Albert.

I’ve known him from a few years now and have been following him on instagram even longer than that. But it hasn’t been until the past year where I have really gotten to know him. We’ve spent some beautiful mornings together taking pictures and have spent some amazing evenings together talking and laughing. We have a lot of things in common, one of the main things being photography but he just inspires me so much every time we get together. I am always amazed by his images but what I love most about him is that he is not afraid to be himself. I mean look at this!

But because of him, my interest in street photography and portraiture has grown so much. Even when I’m standing right next to him, he can see things that just pass me by. He has taught me to be more patient, not care what anyone else thinks and I appreciate him so much for that.

To be honest, I don’t think he reads my blog or will ever know that I’m writing this about him. But I just would like him to know how much he inspires me to be me and how much I value his friendship. Thank you, Pootie! Hope we can get together soon after I get back from California to catch up and take more pics <3

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/500th of a second at ISO 5000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens. Have I mentioned how much I love this camera in low light situations?

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Its been a couple of years since it’s been built and guess what. I still haven’t been on the Capital Wheel. I should really put that on my to-do list. I bet the views from there are real nice. For some reason every time I’ve been to the National Harbor, it’s closed. But then again, I’m usually there just to eat and not really anything else. Have you had Grace’s Mandarin? OMG so good. LOL.

I captured this image about a year ago just by luck. I happened to be driving home from my friend’s house in Maryland and noticed how insanely foggy it was getting outside. But when I crossed over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, I noticed how the fog was effecting the colors of the ferris wheel. It was like something I had never seen before. It was sooo foggy that the fog was actually carrying the colors from the lights. I had to make a quick U-turn to check things out. Luckily I had my camera and tripod with me. Oh man, I would have been so upset if I didn’t. But as I got closer to the ferris wheel, the cooler it looked. The fog blocked everything else out and the only thing visible was the wheel. If I shot this without the fog, you would have probably seen so much many more lights from the National Harbor or even the roads leading up to it. I’m so grateful that I had my gear with me.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 0.8 seconds at ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm camera.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Can you believe it’s already December 15th? Luckily I finished all my holiday shopping earlier this week. Thank you Amazon! I’ve never been so prepared 🙂

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When we first arrived in New York, Brooklyn Bridge Park was one of our first stops. We originally went to go get ice cream but ended up walking across the Brooklyn bridge. Kind of.

But I did not have a tripod with me. Andrew and I were just planning on taking it easy and not really do much that evening since we were both tired from travel. No problem at all. As long as I have my camera, charged batteries and my memory card, I’m down for whatever and not having a tripod pushed me to find creative ways around that. So as Andrew was finishing up my ice cream (they gave me wayyyy too much), I was trying to find different ways to keep my camera sturdy in this evening light. I took quite a few shots. Some from the ground, some from leaning against trees, etc. This image turned out to be my favorite composition.

If you look towards the left of this image on the pier, you can see how there’s a fence there, right? Well that same thing was going on right in front of me so I kneeled down and put my camera on the ground, in between the wood from the pier and the iron fence. So thats what the foreground texture is. The wood grain. I love how it turned out and how it’s so noticeable. I also think it adds a different element to the image having the bottom half so dark. For some reason it kind of reminds me of Gotham City from Batman.

The settings for this image is 1.6 seconds at F7/1 ISO 800 with my Sony A7II 16-35mm.

Have a great weekend everyone! Hope you all have something fun planned and if you do, let me know in the comments. Stay safe! I can’t believe September is almost over….