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If you’re anything like me then you’ve been on zoom calls at least a couple of times a week due to stay at home orders placed by the government. It’s hard not to be able to see loved ones and colleagues in real life so one of the next best things to do is hop on a video call. I’ve attended birthday cake cutting zooms, girls happy hour calls, and even photo critiques with fellow photographers. So I figured I’d spice things up a bit with a new background and wanted to share some with you. I went through my archive and found a variety of images so you can swap out your real-life background for something a little different than your living room couch.

Here are instructions from the video conferencing site, Zoom on how to change your virtual background. These images are all cropped to the recommended aspect ratio.

Free Zoom Background 1: Rawlins Park

This image was created about a week before the stay at home orders were placed in the Washington DC area. Rawlins Park in Foggy Bottom right at full peak with Saucer Magnolia trees. If being surrounded by an abundance of pink flowers is your dream, then you can make it happen with this zoom background.

Rawlins_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 2: Ecola State Park

If quarantine has got you dreaming of the ocean, then this may be the perfect Zoom background for you. I visited Oregon for the first time last year and to say that I fell in love was an understatement. I captured this the first morning I was there from Ecola State Park. The perfect place to watch the sunrise over Cannon Beach and the beautiful haystacks.

Ecola_State_Park_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 3: Multiverse

Taking the Zoom name literally, I thought this may be an interesting background for your video calls. This image was created in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Multiverse is a combination of light, sound, and video created by Leo Villareal. A Concourse walkway that connects the East and West Buildings and not to be missed if visiting the gallery.

Multiverse_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 4: US Capitol Storm

For a slightly more dramatic background, I thought this image of a lightning strike at the US Capitol could be interesting to use. Stormy times call for stormy skies?

US_Capitol_Storm_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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Free Zoom Background 5: US Capitol Flowers

And for a slightly less striking image (pun intended), here’s an image from last summer at the US Capitol. I loved the way that the red flowers were framing the dome.

US_Capitol_Flowers_Zoom_Background_Angela B Pan

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I hope you enjoy these backgrounds. If you decide to use them, please send me a screenshot! I’d love to see them.

Stay safe and healthy!

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Back home from our trip to New York City. We had a blast but I think Frankie had the best time out of all of us. It was his first time in the city and he loved every smell of it! As for me, I’m pretty sure I’ve gained about 10lbs while we were there. That’s what happens when you go anywhere with Andrew. He’s a master at Yelp and does his research before we go anywhere. LOL. I’ll share photos soon! Time to recuperate and fit in a little, I mean a lot of cardio. HAHA.

In the mean time I took this image a couple of weeks ago at the same time I took this image. If you scooted over to the right a little more than the rainbow looked like it was coming out of the United States Capitol. I thought it looked really cool to have it as the backdrop to such an amazing piece of architecture. So I busted out with my 70-200mm to make sure I could get the details that I wanted. I usually don’t carry that lens with me, but ever since I decided to carry my 100mm macro lens around with me on rainy days, I figured it would be good practice to carry the 70-200mm all the other times. It definietly paid off this time.

The settings for this image is F/6.3 1/250th of a second at ISO 320. I did not shoot with a tripod which made it a little more difficult but still very happy with the way it turned out ūüôā The lens is just so long that it would have been easier to keep it steady on the tripod so I could mess with the settings and focusing.

Have a great and safe weekend everyone! What do you have planned for the long weekend?

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Every time I think about these horses, I smile. They were every where in Iceland! So short and so hairy.¬†They’re just so cute.

This one was taken on our first day out. It was probably the worst day we had weather-wise. When we landed the pilot over the speaker said we were experiencing 50 mph winds. You could literally feel the plane shaking while we were de-boarding. Add that to all the rain and it was kinda miserable being outside. Luckily the wind didn’t last all day, but the rain sure did. It was raining off and on but mostly on.

So what do you do on a rainy day in Reykjavik? Drive the golden circle! We saw these horses everywhere but all the roads on the island are fenced off. I think it’s so the horses don’t run into the middle of the street, but they could be there for other reasons other than that. I just don’t know. But the whole time we were driving,¬†my friend Mel¬†and I were on a hunt to find horses that were close enough to the¬†fences so we could photograph them but also possibly pet some of them. After pulling over about 5 gagillion times, we finally ran into a group of them that were right next to the fence. Mel suggested I change my lens from my 16-35mm to my 70-200mm so we could stand far enough away from them that we could still get good pics but not scare them away. So I changed my lens and ran out the car.

We slowly started walking towards these horses. Then we realized, the closer we got to them, the more they¬†would come to the fences. They’re super friendly! I immediately ran back to the car to change my lens back to the 16-35mm wide angle and got super close. This was taken at about my hip. I wasn’t looking, I just kept on clicking, hoping for a good shot. Obviously, the horses did not mind all the rain and wind. I’m pretty sure these guys thought my camera was food. Which it is definietly not.

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I took this image a few years ago. I don’t remember the exact date but I do remember what I was thinking while I was taking it.

First, I remember it being really cold and freezing my butt of on a rock with my camera and tripod. Second, I remember being obsessed with the light. But I think at that time I didn’t know why or what about it that I loved so much. I just remember being so hypnotized that I couldn’t even blink, you know the kind where you just keep on staring and staring. You know that you need to turn away, but you just can’t.

And then when I got home I didn’t like the image. I think it was because I didn’t know how to edit it properly to what I saw. Now that some years have passed and I’ve gotten better at post processing that I can now accurately depict the amazing flow of water, light and rhythms crashing in front of me. I loves it and it’s crazy how just looking at an image can bring back so many emotions.