weather

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And this is what it looks like when lightning strikes behind the clouds. I love the glow the clouds are giving off in this image. So much so that it’s kind of hard for me to say if I like this image better or the one I took of the actual lightning strike. There’s something about seeing all the definition in the clouds that I can’t stop looking at. Plus it’s incredible how much light actually comes from lightning. *trying my best not to reference Grease Lightning*

Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

In other news, Andrew and I are headed to Oregon next week. I can’t wait. It’s our first times visiting and I’m really looking forward to spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest. You should see my google map. It’s filled with pins. Is it me or does it seem like everywhere you turn is another waterfall in Oregon? While I was doing some photo research, I read that someone called it the “Iceland of America”. I giggled but also really hope it’s true.

I also discovered that Oregon seems super dog-friendly. Out of all the places I was interested in going, Crater Lake National Park is the only place that dogs aren’t allowed to go. So with that in mind, Frankie’s coming on the trip with us too! I can’t wait to go on hikes with him and run on the beach. Don’t worry though, we bought a backpack for when he gets tired on the hikes 🙂 Can’t wait!!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens with my tripod.

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I’m not sure when I started to become a sunset/night photographer but it just sort of started happening naturally. The summer days have been rough to wake up for sunrise but to be honest, the sunsets have been looking way better than sunrise anyways. Sunset around Washington DC has it’s own interesting challenges like parking and dealing with the crowds of people but the more I get out there, the more I’m appreciating the sunset glow more and more.

But this image came by accident. I was out with Zack (again, on a different night) to photograph the Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The sunset wasn’t really what we expected so we waited a bit longer for blue hour to try to capture the monuments at night. Then when I was about to say bye to Zack and walk back to my car, I saw a lightning bolt out of the corner of my eye.

OMG change of plans. I did not end up going back to my car, quickly texted Andrew that I was going to be home later than I expected and both Zack and I started looking at weather apps to see where the storm was headed. We made a game plan to try to capture it by the Tidal Basin and then as the storm moved forward we were going to try to capture it with the Washington Monument. It ended up being a super exciting night of storm chasing but the only problem was that I left my tripod in my car! Argh! Capturing lightning is significantly easier with a tripod and remote.

So I had to improvise. In order to capture this, I was basically just sitting on the ground hoping to get something. I was so lucky. But I also LOVE how the street lights are red. It’s sort of like a warning to not pass in case of lightning.

My camera settings for this image is f4 at 1/15th sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35 wide-angle lens.

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I don’t know much about clouds. I remember learning about them in middle school but nothing really stuck except for cirrus clouds. But I do like looking at them. And in the past couple of years of photography, I’ve figured out that mammatus clouds are pretty rare but highly sought after. Like the meteorologists go crazy over them. I’m not sure why other than they look super cool so now I’m always on the lookout for them.

These particular clouds came at sunset, right before full moon shooting. We had a pretty significant storm in the afternoon which caused these stunning clouds and color in the sky. Zack and I were going bananas over the color and running all around the National Mall trying to find different angles to capture it.

It just so happened that a bunch of airplanes were flying into Reagan as well. The storm caused a whole bunch of flight delays earlier in the day so I guess when the sky cleared up, the airplanes started coming in as quickly as possible. It seemed like every 5-10 minutes there was another airplane. But can you imagine looking out your window and seeing this? OMG, what I would have done to be one of the passengers on that airplane.

My camera settings for this image is f6.3 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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It happened! OMG! I’m pretty sure it’s because I blogged about it last week, but I was finally able to capture a lightning strike this summer. I still can’t get over it.

I had been talking to my friend, Andy sporadically throughout the day through text message when I finally asked him if he wanted to meet up for sunset. He told me he was already meeting up a friend for sunset but if I wanted to join them, I was welcome to. So I crashed their party and invited another friend and ended up having such a great time.

The best part was that we did not even get wet! The storms were passing right in front of us and we definitely felt some of those lightning strikes, but no actual raindrops on us. It was perfect.

The sunset ended up being dramatic but I stayed about an hour after to try to get a more distinct lightning strike. You can definitely see lightning strikes a lot better when it’s dark out.

Holy cow I did not expect this one. It was like Thor’s hammer slammed straight down into the Capitol Reflecting Pool. I’m still so excited I was able to capture it.

Since I got one, I’m hooked. I can’t wait for another storm to happen so I can try to get even more lightning strikes. Maybe now that I’ve blogged about it again, it will happen again 🙂 Fingers crossed!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/8th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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Taken just a couple of minutes after this image, I was so grateful for the rain. It wasn’t heavy rain that made you want to run back to your car. It was just enough rain to make the petals fall a little from the trees but also create these amazing puddles.

On a typical sun shiny day, it’s not surprising to see one or two puddles at the Tidal Basin. But on a day like last Friday, there were puddles almost every corner you turned. Although they aren’t great for the cherry blossom trees, they are really cool to create these reflection shots. #savethetidalbasin. The other great thing about the rain is that they scare away a lot of potential visitors. For a moment there, I thought I had the whole Tidal Basin to myself! I was about to start blasting music from my phone before I saw a group of runners run past me. I should have brought my ear phones.

But I’m glad I got a few minutes alone with this puddle. I had never seen one form around this area so I took advantage of the opportunity and shot a couple of shots.

Pro tip: It’s said to say but everytime you visit the Tidal Basin, you should wear waterproof boots. That’s the only way you won’t can really avoid getting wet but still get puddle shots like this.

In case you were wondering, I was at the Basin again yesterday. It looks like a majority of the trees have lost a significant amount of petals over the weekend. They’re still beautiful and worth the visit if you still haven’t been this year. It just won’t be as pink and fluffy.

My camera settings for this image is F7.1 at 1/125th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle 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.