I can't get that shot I don't have an expensive camera

One of the things I get asked about quite a bit is what gear to buy and while I think that is a complex question because there are multiple variables to it.  That being said the best camera is always the one that you have with you so I lean towards finding something that you will get out and shoot with.  I know multiple people that spend a fair amount of money buying DSLR and lenses and when it comes down to it they have more images with their phone because they didn't want to carry all the extra weight. 

This week I went out to do some comparisons and took out a Panasonic Lumix LX100 which was released almost 4 years ago and a great little camera that we picked up for just over $400 dollars.  The second kit was my everyday camera which is the Sony A7R3 and Sony 16-35 f/4 lens which for the kit is just over $4000 dollars.  This is not a comparison in the fact that I think the Lumix can produce the same quality as my Sony's but showing that in some harsh conditions the LX100 can produce a quality image by understanding it's limitations and strengths.

I need to do a second setup where it's in better light conditions to show you how with great light the image quality becomes even closer.  For this test though I wanted to show my normal style of shooting with early morning higher contrast light and a little bit longer exposure on a tripod. 

The Setup

Both cameras were setup on a tripod with similar framing and using the wider angle of 24mm as the focal length.  The lumix has the lowest ISO of 200 so both cameras were set to ISO 200 with a 5 or 10 sec exposure (had to adjust a little based on Sensor for exposure) at F/10 so it was the same on both.  Everything was shot in Manual and captured in RAW so the same adjustments could be added in lightroom after the fact.  I then used my phones light to give a little light on the leaves in the foreground during the long exposure so it added a different element to show how each camera handles multiple variables in a complex shot.

Editing

Both images were pulled into Adobe Lightroom and similar adjustments made on each (Slight shadows/highlight adjustments, little clarity, color adjustment), the Sony could handle a little heavier hand on pulling back the shadows and highlights but tried to get the final images on both with very close editing. 

The Images

 Sony A7R3 - Handled a bit better on the editing so nice and sharp with a little more shadow detail.

Sony A7R3 - Handled a bit better on the editing so nice and sharp with a little more shadow detail.

 Panasonic LX100 - Image was a little softer after the edit due to the shadows becoming a little muddy when attempting to bring them up.

Panasonic LX100 - Image was a little softer after the edit due to the shadows becoming a little muddy when attempting to bring them up.

Final Thoughts

This is a pretty harsh test of a camera as you need to have some flexibility in the RAW file to pull up the shadows and manipulate the highlights to bring in some details and the LX100 raw files couldn't stand up to some of the swings on the adjustments and turned out a little soft but I think acceptable.  Keep in mind that the sensor on both of these cameras is dramatically different but that is why I wanted to show you that you can still capture the image no matter the camera but there will be some limitations that you have to learn to work around. 

The Verdict

Just as I said in the first of this post that the camera choice matters on what you want to capture and it's more complex then just I want a great camera.  What do you want to shoot?  What is your budget? these 2 questions really start you off on the right path as you now need to look for the best camera in your budget that is best suited for the shots you want to take and that takes research and test out some cameras.  I use Lensrentals.com all the time for renting lenses or bodies to test out ergonomics and how well they fit the images I want to capture.  Any camera can capture a good image as long as you know the limitations and can work within them.

Wake Early. Drink Coffee. always be looking for the light and get out and shoot.

A few outings and some testing Super35/APS-C Crop Mode on the Sony A7R3

I missed last week getting out and capturing a few images so didn't have much to add here but had a chance to get out some this week to revisit a few places as well as visit a few new ones. 

One of the places I visited last week after some recommendations from other Instagram photographers here in DC was to check out the view from the Netherlands Carillon which has an amazing view of the monuments.  Also in the area is the US Marine Corps War Memorial which has been under maintenance for a while but it was in great shape and I was able to capture a good shot of it this time. 

One of the things I also wanted to test while I was there was the APS-C/Super35 mode on the A7RIII to see if the in body crop vs cropping in post made much of a image quality difference and really I did not find a major difference in stills.  I could see this being a benefit in video in certain occasions but not a massive benefit in stills. 

My wife and I also got the chance to go to a baseball game in Camden Yards in Baltimore to knock off another stadium that we could catch a Texas Rangers game at. 

 Shin-Soo Choo continues to amazes at the plate

Shin-Soo Choo continues to amazes at the plate

 Joey Gallo giving us a pop up that carried into left for a HR and caught by none other then Ballhawk Zack Hample who claims to have collected over 10k balls from major league stadiums.

Joey Gallo giving us a pop up that carried into left for a HR and caught by none other then Ballhawk Zack Hample who claims to have collected over 10k balls from major league stadiums.

 Beltre doing a little dance to get out of the way of the throw to first

Beltre doing a little dance to get out of the way of the throw to first

 Throwdown at second, he was safe obviously but looks cool

Throwdown at second, he was safe obviously but looks cool

 Rougie laying down the bunt but did not pan out in a base hit this time.

Rougie laying down the bunt but did not pan out in a base hit this time.

Here are a few images from the Netherlands Carillon and the US Marine Corps War Memorial

 Sony A7R3 --- 4:41am -- Sony 100-400/196mm - 30sec Exposure, F/8, ISO 100, Tripod

Sony A7R3 --- 4:41am -- Sony 100-400/196mm - 30sec Exposure, F/8, ISO 100, Tripod

 Sony A7R3 --- 5:38am -- Sony 100-400/100mm - .4sec exposure, F/10, ISO 100, Tripod

Sony A7R3 --- 5:38am -- Sony 100-400/100mm - .4sec exposure, F/10, ISO 100, Tripod

Just fix it in photoshop....

I will start off by clarifying not everything can be fixed in Photoshop so pay attention when taking your image and also not every photograph is 15 hours worth of editing to make look amazing.

One of the common questions I get is how long do I spend editing some of my images in lightroom/photoshop/whatever editing software you use.  For me I am typically a 5-15 minute editing person and if it goes beyond that while I may like the image it gets flagged for me to get to at a later time which doesn't always happen.  I am by far not a purest and do believe post processing is part of the creative process and helps  to enhance images but I am not one that can spend hours on a single image.  So figured I would show a few examples and time I spent editing so people had an idea of my workflow and how much I do push some of these images.

My workflow after a session is to download my card using Photo Mechanic which makes copies of all the images in 2 locations, my editing drive and my raid backup drive which sync every night based on editing drive being the primary.  I then import into lightroom and start culling through the images flagging the ones I like with 1 star, 2 star for potentials that may need more editing, 3 star for throw away and then once edited 5 star for completed.  From there I look at the 1 star images and do quick edits for exposure, alignment and color grading.  Then the final touches are usually some curves adjustment and if need to do some spot removals then save and on to the next image.  On occasion if the spot removal or object removal is a little more I will pop into Photoshop and do some removals or if I want to really add some contrast pop I do use the Nik Collection of plugins for Color Efex but that is not every image. 

 This is the before image taken at Constitution gardens.  ---- 6:29am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 16-35/24mm, 1/13, f/20, ISO 400, Handheld. 

This is the before image taken at Constitution gardens.  ---- 6:29am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 16-35/24mm, 1/13, f/20, ISO 400, Handheld. 

 This is the edit afterwords - Roughly 15 minutes of editing as I did pull this one into Photoshop to do some cleanup and used the color efex NIK plugin to add more contrast.

This is the edit afterwords - Roughly 15 minutes of editing as I did pull this one into Photoshop to do some cleanup and used the color efex NIK plugin to add more contrast.

 One of my recent ones that got some great feedback.  ---- 4:44am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 16-35/34mm - 6sec exposure, f/8, ISO 100, tripod.

One of my recent ones that got some great feedback.  ---- 4:44am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 16-35/34mm - 6sec exposure, f/8, ISO 100, tripod.

 This one was pretty quick and was between 5-7 minutes to edit as it was just some of the quick adjustments so wasn't to intense. 

This one was pretty quick and was between 5-7 minutes to edit as it was just some of the quick adjustments so wasn't to intense. 

 Another recent one that people enjoyed.  ---- 5:05am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 100-400/179mm - 6 sec exposure, F/8, ISO 100, tripod

Another recent one that people enjoyed.  ---- 5:05am --- Sony A7R3 -- Sony 100-400/179mm - 6 sec exposure, F/8, ISO 100, tripod

 This is another one that was 5-7 minutes as you can see it was just some quick adjustments and adding some pop to the image overall. 

This is another one that was 5-7 minutes as you can see it was just some quick adjustments and adding some pop to the image overall. 

As you can see the majority of the time I am not spending a ton of time editing my images after a shoot as I did spend some extra time trying to get as much of it as I can right in camera and the rest are edits I already have in my head for an image. 

Photowalks, books and photographers oh my!

Over the past couple of weeks I have continued my personal goal that I gave myself back in March which was to continue to step outside of my comfort zone.  My good friend Angela Pan announced that she would be releasing a book, Snap DC is for anyone who wants to take great photos of DC but doesn't have the time to research where to shoot, when's the best time to go, or how to take them.  As part of her launch she partnered with the good folks that run #IGDC to have a photo-walk starting at the Jefferson Memorial.  The water was high and a little rain but the turn out was great and just so happened to be prom so tons of really dressed up kiddos before they went to prom all around.  Congrats on the launch Angela!

Slide forward a few more weeks and I think you see a theme here but I joined another Photo-walk with Angela that she again was leading with the Focus on the Story International photo festival but this time starting at the Lincoln Memorial.  Another great turn out and some more fun was had. 

The thing that I have really enjoyed about this is of course seeing success for an amazing person but just how much the photo community around DC rallies around one another and is extremely supportive.  I have got to meet some great people on these walks and even help in a few ways with some folks that have technical questions around the Sony Alpha cameras as I have dove pretty deep into the entire line. 

I am looking forward to more outings in the upcoming months and adding a few little challenges for myself as well, mainly because it helps push me to actually accomplish something.

  • Visit 1 new photo location per month - Still need to accomplish this for June, better up my game! 
  • Start the work on my 30sec Monument time-lapse idea - 30 second time-lapse for each of the monuments, the goal will be at different times of day so I can show the variety but it will be a work in progress.
  • Post one blog a week starting from July 1st. 

Now the more important stuff, the photos!

 Angela doing her thing and kicking off the Jefferson photo-walk

Angela doing her thing and kicking off the Jefferson photo-walk

 My beautiful wife striking a pose for me under some dramatic skies

My beautiful wife striking a pose for me under some dramatic skies

 One of the best trees around the tidal basin, reflection isn't to shabby either.

One of the best trees around the tidal basin, reflection isn't to shabby either.

 Lincoln Memorial on the second photo-walk around 4:40am

Lincoln Memorial on the second photo-walk around 4:40am

 Amazing reflection, texture in the clouds, and nice pink early morning light.  Around 5:20am at the Lincoln Reflecting Pool

Amazing reflection, texture in the clouds, and nice pink early morning light.  Around 5:20am at the Lincoln Reflecting Pool

 A little bonus image that I took this week that I had planned but never had a chance to shoot it as typically I never find the Lincoln empty enough to get it.  This week I got the shot and I really like how it came out.

A little bonus image that I took this week that I had planned but never had a chance to shoot it as typically I never find the Lincoln empty enough to get it.  This week I got the shot and I really like how it came out.

Alberta Canada Vacation and Family Surprise!

Last year when Annita and I started looking at 2018 for vacations we had a few ideas but nothing really solid until her cousin Chrissy mentioned they were putting something together for her Aunt and Uncle for their 50th wedding anniversary in Grande Prairie, Alberta. 

The Planning was on.  Rocky mountains, Banff, Jasper, lakes, epic sunrises, wildlife, epic sunsets, family, road trip time with the wife.  All of that did happen but what I really enjoyed about the trip was just being on a road trip with my wife and exploring new areas.  Of course I got some amazing photos as it's hard not to in that area but it quickly moved from a photography trip, which was what was in my head, with some family in the middle to a true vacation just relaxing and having fun with my better half. 

Some facts about this trip that I thought were pretty fun, mostly.

  • 20ish hours flight and airport time with a tad tight schedule in Calgary on our way home to get through US customs and to our connecting flight.
  • Signs every mile it seemed like for don't feed the bears/wildlife and we did not.
  • Total KM/Miles Driven - 2500 KM/1550 Miles spent driving over 8 days
    • Our schedule - Flew into Calgary, Drove to Sunwapta Falls x2 nights (Jasper), Drove to Grand Prairie x3 nights, Drove to Georgetown Inn in Canmore x2 nights (Banff), drove back to Calgary x1 night before catching early morning flight. 
  • 2 separate instances where we were "Surprised" by black bears, more on that in a bit. 
  • Tons of conversations about random things while driving and exploring
  • Incredible time spent meeting family and celebrating 50 years of marriage
  • No Moose Captured in Picture, we think we saw 1 near Banff but it was a quick pass so not confirmed - We have since received 1 photo and 1 video from family that saw them after we left.
  • The list could go on but you get the point, it was fun

The first night we arrived at our accommodations for the night the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge where the staff was absolutely incredible, shout out to Janessa who gave us a map and a good lay of the land for all the things to do in Jasper.  The rooms were nice and cozy and had what we needed but the bed was a tad on the hard side so probably only thing we would have liked to have different.  That night we walked to scout out the Sunwapta Falls waterfall which is about 10 minute walk from the Lodge with full intention of getting up for sunrise to maybe head back down (Sunrise was at 5:30 or so no biggie but sunset was after 10pm so my days were all wonky).  I will add some photos at the end as this is already a bit long.

Now that your interest is peaked, let's talk about the bears, no we did not feed them in case you were wondering.  On our 2nd day we woke up early and headed to Athabasca falls and while I was deciding on which lens to take down I hear Annita say " uh, Larry, get back in the truck, Now" so immediately I thought bear and sure enough there was one over by the washrooms at the end of the parking lot.  We hung out for a bit took some pics, then the garbage collector came and the bear ran off so we went and got some waterfall pics.  Second instance was on our way back from Grande Prairie to Banff and we stopped in at Tangle Creek falls, which is stunning but as I turned around I saw a Momma and 2 cubs come out of the trees.  Now your thinking neat photo opportunity which it would have been but I saw a young lady go into the washroom right before they came out and now they were standing beside it.  Annita said she looked at me and could tell in my brain I was calculating the situation which I was and luckily or they were tracking them, 2 park rangers drove up and after I told them they moved in quickly to pick the young lady up in their car and pull her to safety.  Wasn't an immediate danger situation but still something I was not 100% sure how to handle so glad there were no issues.  

The highlight of the trip though was surprising Annita's Aunt and Uncle for their 50th wedding anniversary and they were quite surprised so success!  We stayed in a travel trailer on their land along with Annita's other aunt Lauren, Cousin Chrissy and her husband Rick, Cousin Clay and his wife Rhonda, her cousin Clint and all of their kids.  We had a bit of a compound of campers going on and it was pretty amazing. 

So Super long story short, Alberta and the Rockies are beautiful and we can not wait to get back and see them again in Alberta or Colorado!  Also always welcome for the family visits though our vacations will be on a much smaller scale for the rest of 2018, lol. 

Now some pics from various parts of the trip.

I hope you enjoy!  For more photos you can check them out at the following link (will be slowly trickling in over the next 2 weeks). 

https://irishtexan.smugmug.com/Travel/Alberta-Canada/

 Bow Lake - Still a bit frozen

Bow Lake - Still a bit frozen

 Sunwapta Falls

Sunwapta Falls

 Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

 Do not feed bears!

Do not feed bears!

 Patricia Lake - This was by far one of the best views of the trip

Patricia Lake - This was by far one of the best views of the trip

 Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake

 Annita with one of her uncles horses

Annita with one of her uncles horses

 Bear near Athabasca Falls

Bear near Athabasca Falls

 Momma Bear and Cubs near Tangle Creek Falls

Momma Bear and Cubs near Tangle Creek Falls

 Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake

 Our trusty rental for the 8 days, handled great in the mountains! 

Our trusty rental for the 8 days, handled great in the mountains! 

Do not let Social Media kill your creativity

One of the things I hear most from beginning photographers is that they can't seem to get engagement on their social media platforms or that every time they post something the only feedback they receive makes them want to not take photos or post anything. 

I fall into this same scenario all of the time because it's natural for us as creatives to want to put out something that does spark an emotion and get feedback that makes you feel good about the art that you are putting out.  The truth of the matter is everything is subjective as we all know from client interaction that what we as photographers love they client may not and what we think is a throw away the client may love.  This leads me to the title of this post which is do not let social Media kill your creativity or drive if it is something you truly enjoy doing. 

So far in 2018 I have taken photos at the Tidal Basin/National Mall/Capitol Building/Monuments a total of 12 times out of the 19 weeks in the year and I have countless number of photos that are the exact composition and of the same subjects.    You may ask yourself how I can continue to go and shoot the same things so many times in the year and the truth is for some of those outings it wasn't about the art it was about trying to fit into a social media post that I could get engagement on versus just going out to capture a photo I wanted to capture.  This is the pitfall that leads so many people to burn out or a creative rut because it's about what other people think versus why they picked up the camera in the first place, because they enjoyed capturing photos.  So that is my simple question to anyone that puts a camera in their hand, why do you want to take pictures?  If it's Money, you will fail.  If it's to create a following, you will fail.  If it's simply because everyone else is doing it, you will fail.  The best photographers I know are the ones that are not the ones that have the best gear or a million followers (though some do because they are awesome) but it's the ones that still go out to capture a photo because it is what they truly enjoy doing and have fun doing it. 

I am not a professional photographer, I do not make a living with my camera.  I do however take more photos before most people are awake because that is the style of photo and the time of day I enjoy shooting.  I am starting to grow and refine my style of shooting but I have realized at the end of the day that I am not setting out to capture an image because it will be the next viral photo but I am going out because photography is something I love and honestly is my stress relief.

So my challenge to the budding photographers or even the experienced photographers out there, get out and shoot for YOU and forget about how it fits into your world just for a day so you bring the love for that shutter sound back into why you started shooting in the first place. 

Of course I want to share a few photos from a few of those 12 trips as well. 

 The Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 6:14am -- Sony 16-35/16mm, 1/30, F/7.1, ISO 100

The Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 6:14am -- Sony 16-35/16mm, 1/30, F/7.1, ISO 100

 Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

 Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

 Jefferson Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

Jefferson Memorial - Sony A7R3 --- 5:58am -- Sony 100-400/100mm, 5sec exposure, F/10, ISO100

New Travel Camera Backpack - Atlas Pack Adventure backpack - Initial thoughts

One of the hardest parts of Photography is finding that perfect bag (Spoiler alert, there is no such thing).  The other part is that as photographers we tend to over pack what gear we think we will need because the what if scenario is always running through our head.  Over the years of shooting I have had numerous Think Tank, Lowepro, Peak Design, Mindshift gear, fstop and the list goes on and on but the one thing I realized having all of the bags is that there are different bags for different situations and there will never be just one bag.

This is where the research started as I have a week long trip coming up and from previous trips it is always splitting between two bags and figuring out what to put where or do I need this or that.  I knew what I was looking for so I started looking for a bag that would not be a replacement but a part of the arsenal for my camera bags.

After researching a few I reached out via Instagram DM to a company here in the states called Atlas Packs (https://atlaspacks.com/) as I had a few questions for international travel and their larger backpack the Atlas Adventure backpack.  Much to my surprise they were very quick to respond and answered all of my question and were extremely customer service focused.  I proceeded to buy the bag so I can test it out with some day adventures before our trip.

There are quite a few things that I really like about the bag. 

  • Very versatile (Can remove aluminum frame (for rigidity when hiking), Can remove waste belt, Can adjust where the straps sit on the back of the pack or completely remove them if you wanted to. 
  • Spacious - I will post a picture down below with all of the gear I test packed for the trip and it handles all of it and more.
  • Build quality is great, everything feels very well thought out and able withstand some wear and tear.
  • Lots of little pockets for fitting various items in, ipad/laptop space, space up top for clothes or other items that are not part of the camera kit. 
  • Comfortable carry - Shoulder straps carry the weight well even on a little chunky frame like mine and can adjust pretty easily.

Two little things for me that are not show stoppers but will give them some feedback on

  • Pack is built for more gear then you can carry but the top handle that you lift the bag by for storage, bus, etc. Needs a bit more padding and maybe just a little larger from side to side to make it pick more of the weight up
  • Second is in the top pocket it is 1 big pocket but would like to have had a few little pockets inside of there for things like battery pack and a few other odds and ends.  That is where they sit today but when you open the top the kinda flip around in the pocket.  Nit picky but just an observation
  • It can fit a ton of gear, keep an eye on the weight as you can load it up quick

Enough rambling, here are the pics.

 Out on the trail a general size comparison to standard railing

Out on the trail a general size comparison to standard railing

 Size on a 5'10" frame

Size on a 5'10" frame

 The removal metal frame for rigidity if hiking as well as the waist belt, I am not a fan of any waste belts as a larger person but they can help displace weight from your shoulders so it can help for long hauls.

The removal metal frame for rigidity if hiking as well as the waist belt, I am not a fan of any waste belts as a larger person but they can help displace weight from your shoulders so it can help for long hauls.

 Tons of little pockets like this under the flap

Tons of little pockets like this under the flap

 Front view, nice strapped front flap to cover the day-pack area, pocket for laptop, etc.  Does have a rain cover a as well.

Front view, nice strapped front flap to cover the day-pack area, pocket for laptop, etc.  Does have a rain cover a as well.

 Nice side pockets for water bottles or tripod for easy carry, 1 on each side and 3 straps running length of the bag.

Nice side pockets for water bottles or tripod for easy carry, 1 on each side and 3 straps running length of the bag.

 Quick pockets on the connectors for the waste belt which are nice for a quick change of lens or snacks while on the go without taking the pack off.

Quick pockets on the connectors for the waste belt which are nice for a quick change of lens or snacks while on the go without taking the pack off.

 Plenty of storage

Plenty of storage

 Test pack #1 - Sony A7R II (Top Middle), Sony 24-240 (Top Left), Sony 90mm (Top Right), Sony A7R III (Middle open slot), Mavic Air Remote and Charger (Middle Right), Mavic Air (Bottom Right), Sony 100-400 (Bottom Middle), Gopro Hero5 and Karma Grip (Bottom Left), 2 thinktank bags for charging cables, LumeCube lights, etc. Fit on top of the 100-400 and Gopro. 

Test pack #1 - Sony A7R II (Top Middle), Sony 24-240 (Top Left), Sony 90mm (Top Right), Sony A7R III (Middle open slot), Mavic Air Remote and Charger (Middle Right), Mavic Air (Bottom Right), Sony 100-400 (Bottom Middle), Gopro Hero5 and Karma Grip (Bottom Left), 2 thinktank bags for charging cables, LumeCube lights, etc. Fit on top of the 100-400 and Gopro. 

 Same gear as above but on the table.  With the addition of the Sony 16-35 (usually on the Sony A7R III), the Sony 55mm 1.8 and the 35mm 2.8 (taking this picture).  I usually have the 35/55 in the top compartment in separate protective bags when fully loaded (for now)

Same gear as above but on the table.  With the addition of the Sony 16-35 (usually on the Sony A7R III), the Sony 55mm 1.8 and the 35mm 2.8 (taking this picture).  I usually have the 35/55 in the top compartment in separate protective bags when fully loaded (for now)

As you can see, it's built well and can carry a ton.  We will be doing some backpacking on our next trip as well as some car travel.  For the longer hikes I may utilize a sling bag as I will only be using 1 body and 1-2 lenses but for majority of the trip this will be the bag on my back.  I am not 100% satisfied with how I have it laid out and may change out the Gopro for an Edelkrone little slider as I like it better for timelapse and the gopro is used only sporadically. 

If you have questions let me know or reach out directly to Atlas as their customer service is incredible. 

This is not a paid advertisement this is a fully purchased bag on my own dime (though love it enough may see about their ambassador program now, Lol)

Have a great week and get out their and shoot!

Peak Cherry Blossom season in DC

The difference in the blooms from Sunday to yesterday were really amazing.  Everything is starting to be fully bloomed and the Tidal Basin is just an amazing place to see the Cherry Blossoms in their true beauty. 

With that beauty and the festival comes the volumes of people that are out and about to try and capture the beauty that nature has to offer and there were a ton of people yesterday.  I need to do better of catching the environment but to be honest it really get's the anxiety up.  I am not in the category of Social Anxiety per say as I have 0 problem talking to anyone and find it fun but what really get's the nerves going for me is crowds and tons of people.  My anxiety is minor in comparison to so many with Social Anxiety that is paralyzing but just puts me in that uncomfortable state and I have a tendency to rush my shots because of it.  

For instance this shot below I had an idea for a little desaturated image with the Washington Monument and the early morning blue hour with the white/pinks of the flowers and I found the framing but I missed the focus on the flowers because I rushed.  Is it a bad image?  No it is the image I wanted to capture but in my head it's not technically perfect and I could have gotten it easily if I just slowed down and get the shot. 

_7R31541.jpg

What I did get a chance to do is meet a few of the other DC area photographers that were also out shooting (I think the majority of them, lol) and just catch up which is always nice while the camera is doing it's long exposure things.  I did get a few images that I really liked and added in a few editing flares to make them closer to my minds eye vision for them.  I hope you enjoy!

 

 Sony A7R3 --- 5:12am -- Sony 24-240/26mm, 30sec exposure, F/6.3, ISO 100

Sony A7R3 --- 5:12am -- Sony 24-240/26mm, 30sec exposure, F/6.3, ISO 100

 Sony A7R3 --- 7:04am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/10, F22, ISO 100

Sony A7R3 --- 7:04am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/10, F22, ISO 100

 Sony A7R3 --- 6:57am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/8, F22, ISO 100

Sony A7R3 --- 6:57am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/8, F22, ISO 100

 Sony A7R3 --- 6:57am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/6, F22, ISO 100

Sony A7R3 --- 6:57am -- Sony 16-35/33mm, 1/6, F22, ISO 100

Spring time in the DMV!

The masses of people have started to hit Washington DC for the highly anticipated Cherry Blossom season that welcome us into spring weather(ish).  Winter has not fully decided to make up it's mind and leave us just yet so the blossoms are being delayed a bit but after some fantastic weather over the weekend they are really starting to pop!  This week and next week should be some great photos coming out of the area for Cherry Blossoms!

Aside from the Cherry Blossoms being very exciting as I really do enjoy shooting them, the challenge is figuring out a unique way to capture them that captures how beautiful they are but isn't just another shot just like everyone else and I have not quite figured out that one yet but I will be working on some more detailed shots this year and trying to do some photo stacking to really get the details.

The other great thing is meeting up with other photographers in the area that you follow online and finally getting to put a face to a name.  Over the weekend I got to catch up with one of my favorite photographers Angel Pan as well as a few new faces, Li Zhujun (https://500px.com/18wwai - IG - @li.zhujun), David (IG - @edgardavisp) and another photog I have followed for a while who is incredible Jarrett Hendrix (https://www.jarretthendrix.com/ - IG - @jarrett.hendrix).  I have to do better of capturing peoples faces when we meetup, I usually get side profile or the back of them. 

 Angela Pan (http://www.abpan.com/ - IG - @abpanphoto)

Angela Pan (http://www.abpan.com/ - IG - @abpanphoto)

 Li Zhujun (https://500px.com/18wwai - IG - @li.zhujun)

Li Zhujun (https://500px.com/18wwai - IG - @li.zhujun)

 David (IG - @edgardavisp)

David (IG - @edgardavisp)

 Jarrett Hendrix (https://www.jarretthendrix.com/ - IG - @jarrett.hendrix)

Jarrett Hendrix (https://www.jarretthendrix.com/ - IG - @jarrett.hendrix)

Yes, I know what your saying, that's nice Larry please show us the Cherry Blossom captures from Easter Sunday you captured vs all these words, my bad, here ya go. 

 Early Blue Hour with cherry blossoms lit with a LumeCube ---- Sony A7R3 --- 6:17am -- Sony 24-240/38mm, 20sec exposure, F/8, ISO 100

Early Blue Hour with cherry blossoms lit with a LumeCube ---- Sony A7R3 --- 6:17am -- Sony 24-240/38mm, 20sec exposure, F/8, ISO 100

 Extreme blue hour with one of my favorite subjects, the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument in 1 frame.  Add in some cherry blossoms lit from the LumeCube and tada!  ----  Sony A7R3 --- 6:36am -- Sony 16-35/19mm, 10 second exposure, F/16, ISO 100

Extreme blue hour with one of my favorite subjects, the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument in 1 frame.  Add in some cherry blossoms lit from the LumeCube and tada!  ----  Sony A7R3 --- 6:36am -- Sony 16-35/19mm, 10 second exposure, F/16, ISO 100

 Just as blue hour was starting to get washed out from the clouds I was able to capture this shot which I really love.  ---- Sony A7R3 --- 6:47am -- Sony 16-35/35mm, 25 sec exposure, f/16, ISO 100.

Just as blue hour was starting to get washed out from the clouds I was able to capture this shot which I really love.  ---- Sony A7R3 --- 6:47am -- Sony 16-35/35mm, 25 sec exposure, f/16, ISO 100.

 These are some of the shots I am working on this year.  Stacking this photo so you have more in focus but still have that shallow dof Bokeh to really have the Cherry Blossoms pop.  ---- Sony A7R3 --- 7:43am -- Sony 90mm Macro, F.2.8, 1/125, ISO 250

These are some of the shots I am working on this year.  Stacking this photo so you have more in focus but still have that shallow dof Bokeh to really have the Cherry Blossoms pop.  ---- Sony A7R3 --- 7:43am -- Sony 90mm Macro, F.2.8, 1/125, ISO 250

If your ever out at the Tidal Basin or National Mall and you see a Husky guy with Texas Rangers or Texas Tech clothes on you have probably found me, so say HI!  Look forward to sharing some more of this beautiful city with you all as we are still setting in after being here for 2+ years.

Stepping outside of my comfort zone

One of the challenges I have personally is I do not do well in groups, unless it is a group of friends that I have known for a while and comfortable with.  So along with my goal of being intentional this year with some of my Photography outings I also have challenged myself to join a few meetups throughout the year (helps I had my wing woman with me, Angela Pan - http://www.abpan.com/) and today i joined the #igdc sunrise meetup and had a great time.  The sunrise was not epic but I did finally get out to shoot the Capitol which I have been meaning to do and blue hour came through as always!

A few images from the morning

 A little different perspective on the Washington Monument and Lincoln memorial along with some long exposure car trails because they are fun.  ---- 5:37am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 240mm, F6.3, 30 sec exposure, ISO 100

A little different perspective on the Washington Monument and Lincoln memorial along with some long exposure car trails because they are fun.  ---- 5:37am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 240mm, F6.3, 30 sec exposure, ISO 100

 This was the shot I had in mind when going out this morning but with some texture in the sky with some clouds so will have to make another outing to see if I can capture that!  ---- 6:41am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 50mm, F/8, 10 sec exposure, ISO 100

This was the shot I had in mind when going out this morning but with some texture in the sky with some clouds so will have to make another outing to see if I can capture that!  ---- 6:41am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 50mm, F/8, 10 sec exposure, ISO 100

 As blue hour was wrapping up there was a little whisp of a cloud in the sky so figured it deserved a little love.  ---- 6:53am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 24mm, F/8, 15 second exposure, ISO 100

As blue hour was wrapping up there was a little whisp of a cloud in the sky so figured it deserved a little love.  ---- 6:53am - Sony A7R III, Sony 24-240 / 24mm, F/8, 15 second exposure, ISO 100

 This shot I was trying to get a little star effect and instead got all the light flare from everywhere but still thought it was cool.  ----  6:18am - Sony A7R III, Sony 16-35 / 16mm, F/9, 30 second exposure, ISO 100

This shot I was trying to get a little star effect and instead got all the light flare from everywhere but still thought it was cool.  ----  6:18am - Sony A7R III, Sony 16-35 / 16mm, F/9, 30 second exposure, ISO 100

Over the next few weeks I have a few more outings planned and will get a few more of these up.  I also am going to look at a write up for my thoughts on the new Sony Pixel Shift in the Sony A7 Series (Thanks Angela for the idea!). 

Planned photo number 1 - Stars above the monuments, going to keep an eye on the forecasts as we have a new moon starting on March 17th so will see if I can pull that off.

Planned photo number 2 - Cherry blossoms of all shapes sizes and angles, March 17-27th should have some blooms

Planned photo number 3 - Capitol with some clouds

---  All images are always available for Print or Licensing ---

2018 Kick off with a few Incredible sunrises!

One of my favorite times of the day to be out shooting is early morning before the sun comes up where everything is calm and the chill is still in the air.  The beginning to 2018 has not disappointed for those early morning adventures, though colder then I expected but that just adds some texture to the pictures.

First outing - 1/10/2018 - Sunrise circuit (Park at the Paddle boats, walk to the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, towards the Korean War Veterans Memorial, past Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and back to the jeep) at the monuments in Washington DC.

 This is a picture I have been thinking about for a while but with the moon almost full and a little too long of an exposure so the stars went a little elliptical vs crisp circles.  It's not technically perfect but I like the concept and will be watching the moon cycles to get this shot in 2018! 

This is a picture I have been thinking about for a while but with the moon almost full and a little too long of an exposure so the stars went a little elliptical vs crisp circles.  It's not technically perfect but I like the concept and will be watching the moon cycles to get this shot in 2018! 

 One of the unique situations early this year is the frozen reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and I love these early morning shots with the glow of the city lights across the ice. 

One of the unique situations early this year is the frozen reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial and I love these early morning shots with the glow of the city lights across the ice. 

 The clouds this morning were moving at a nice pace and the first light colors were amazing.  Long exposure shot to get the movement in the clouds to really help add some depth to the picture. 

The clouds this morning were moving at a nice pace and the first light colors were amazing.  Long exposure shot to get the movement in the clouds to really help add some depth to the picture. 

 Another fun shot with the Tidal Basin fully frozen with the Jefferson Memorial at first light with those lovely morning colors. 

Another fun shot with the Tidal Basin fully frozen with the Jefferson Memorial at first light with those lovely morning colors. 

Second Outing - 1/22/2018  - Same circuit as I previously took

 This was a bit of a unique angle as I was able to step out into the reflecting pool as the water is starting to thaw and some fun textured water for reflections of the flags, State Capitol, World War II Memorial and Washington Monument.

This was a bit of a unique angle as I was able to step out into the reflecting pool as the water is starting to thaw and some fun textured water for reflections of the flags, State Capitol, World War II Memorial and Washington Monument.

 A little further down the reflecting pool where you can see where the ice is starting to break up.  Taken from in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the bottom of the steps right by the reflecting pool and a super low angle. 

A little further down the reflecting pool where you can see where the ice is starting to break up.  Taken from in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the bottom of the steps right by the reflecting pool and a super low angle. 

 As i was walking up to the Lincoln Memorial the clouds were moving and opening in a few spots to show the blue early morning sky so had to try and frame it the best I could and try and show some of that movement from the clouds.

As i was walking up to the Lincoln Memorial the clouds were moving and opening in a few spots to show the blue early morning sky so had to try and frame it the best I could and try and show some of that movement from the clouds.

 This was just as light was starting to come up behind the Jefferson Memorial, the colors and sky were just amazing for about 25 minutes till the sun peaked out. 

This was just as light was starting to come up behind the Jefferson Memorial, the colors and sky were just amazing for about 25 minutes till the sun peaked out. 

 This was almost a throw away image for me because of the railing in place in the monument but I did like the texture in the sky and how the WWII Memorial looks at night with the ring of lights from the fountain and after my 5 minute normal processing I liked it even more.

This was almost a throw away image for me because of the railing in place in the monument but I did like the texture in the sky and how the WWII Memorial looks at night with the ring of lights from the fountain and after my 5 minute normal processing I liked it even more.

 This was the last frame of a time-lapse I had running but unfortunatley had a battery run out on me so didn't quite get the sun coming up fully above the horizon. 

This was the last frame of a time-lapse I had running but unfortunatley had a battery run out on me so didn't quite get the sun coming up fully above the horizon. 

I will be working on venturing out to try a few other locations in the area over the next few months as well.  Get some better shots of the Capitol and a few other spots that some other photographers have mentioned. 

As always the images captured here are on my Smugmug account under Travel and Locations and then under Northern Virginia. 

The only way to get the shot is be out there shooting! 

2018 Photography Goals

I interrupt the Alaskan Cruise updates to say Happy New Year!

In 2017 I had challenged myself to get out and be behind the lens more and I think I accomplished that but the problem I saw as I started looking back through the year is not many of my outings had a specific image or goal behind them.  I think the challenge I have for myself is continue to spend time behind the lens but look to be more intentional about what I am going out to capture.  I do think most days last year my intention was to capture a sunrise shot but that is pretty generic.  What is the sunrise shot I want to capture?  Realistically it's like every other photographer that goes out which is to capture an image that has that "wow" factor that draws people into the photo and feeds the creative mind by showing appreciation for it via social media or other means. 

So 2018 I am still going to go out randomly and shoot sunrises with the intention of capturing that perfect sunrise but I also am going to spend some intentional time this year chasing an image vs creating an image from just random happenstance. 

Enjoy the new year, blessings to all of you and get out their and shoot!

2017 Carnival Legend Alaskan Cruise - Day 5 - Juneau

Day 5 brought us to the Capital city of Alaska, Juneau.  Fun fact is that Juneau is a bit unusual among U.S. capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America. 

For this stop we had decided to book us a photo safari excursion with Gastineau Guiding that would take us out whale watching as well as a little hike to the Mendenhall Glacier.  I wasn't sure what to expect as it was a "photo" safari where the tour guide was also suppose to be able to give some photography tips and tricks along the way.  We ended up absolutely loving this excursion and our primary tour guide Zach Kelly was incredibly knowledgeable about the wildlife and nature but also an incredible photographer so was just a great day.  We saw whales, birds, sea lions, seals, eagles, fish, and an incredible Glacier all within a few hours.  So now on to the pictures. 

 Our first view as we walk off the ship

Our first view as we walk off the ship

 Our whale watching ship (cell phone picture that was overexposed so processing kinda bad)

Our whale watching ship (cell phone picture that was overexposed so processing kinda bad)

 So many humpback whales during our trip

So many humpback whales during our trip

 n some whale species, flukes are so distinctive that researchers use them like fingerprints to identify individuals.

n some whale species, flukes are so distinctive that researchers use them like fingerprints to identify individuals.

 The sound from this island was loud but incredible

The sound from this island was loud but incredible

 So much wildlife around

So much wildlife around

 From the boat to the land where beauty is just every where around you

From the boat to the land where beauty is just every where around you

 Mendenhall Glacier - Water was a bit high so had to take from a distance

Mendenhall Glacier - Water was a bit high so had to take from a distance

 Annita and I at the Glacier - A bit of harsh light but still beautiful

Annita and I at the Glacier - A bit of harsh light but still beautiful

 Can't leave without 1 tourist style photo.  =)

Can't leave without 1 tourist style photo.  =)

 So many cruises landing around the same time

So many cruises landing around the same time

2017 Carnival Legend Alaskan Cruise - Day 4 - Skagway

On day 4 of the cruise we pulled into port in Skagway Alaska with some incredible cloud cover and beautiful views from every side of the boat.  We were arriving at the same time as the Norwegian cruise line so was also fun to watch them dock the ship behind us. 

 Norwegian Sun docking in behind us

Norwegian Sun docking in behind us

 Another shot of the Norwegian sun with the low clouds in the background

Another shot of the Norwegian sun with the low clouds in the background

 View off the back of the boat from the channel we just came through

View off the back of the boat from the channel we just came through

 Front of the boat towards Skagway

Front of the boat towards Skagway

Once we were docked it was time to jump off on our excursion for the day which was to take a train (White Pass & Yukon Route) up the mountain and then bike down (it was on the bike that I realized, i need to get out of the house more, seriously out of shape, lol).  We didn't get a ton of pictures on the way down as well I was trying to make it without death. 

 View of the train from the boat (turns out not the train we were taking but ours looked exactly the same)

View of the train from the boat (turns out not the train we were taking but ours looked exactly the same)

 View from the train on our way up

View from the train on our way up

 View of the train as we head up the mountain

View of the train as we head up the mountain

Skagway was a lot of fun and there are a few different excursions here depending on your comfort and athletic levels.  The last picture below we noticed all the rocks painted when we pulled in and when we got a chance to ask one of the crew members it is a tradition at the end of the cruise season to pain the logo or some other tidbits on the rocks which we pretty interesting for some of these.

 Painted rocks - View from ship

Painted rocks - View from ship

Next Stop - Juneau - my favorite stop of the whole trip

2017 Carnival Legend Alaskan Cruise - Day 1-3

One of Annita and I's favorite vacations are cruises and this year I got to check off one of my bucket list cruises, Alaska.  Annita has been to Alaska for work before and she told me how beautiful it was but until you experience it for yourself you really just don't know.  We decided to take one of the last cruises out of Seattle with Carnival cruise lines on the Carnival Legend cruise ship with some good friends of ours Ryan and Sarah Rovnak. 

The cruise started off in Seattle where we essentially just went from the airport to the dock to jump on the boat.  We were soon on board and ready for our 7 days of Alaskan adventure!  The itinerary was Day 1 - Seattle, Day 2 - Fun Day at Sea, Day 3 - Cruise Tracy Arm Fjord, Day 4 - Skagway, Day 5 - Juneau, Day 6 - Ketchikan, Day 7 - Victoria BC, Day 8 - arrive back in Seattle.

 Leaving out of Seattle

Leaving out of Seattle

The First day was getting oriented on the ship and really getting ourselves settled for the next 7 days aboard the boat.  Day 3 brought us to our first destination which was a cruise of the Tracy Arm Fjord which would lead us to the Sawyer Glacier.  While it was a bit rainy and overcast the views were absolutly stunning.

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 Sawyer Glacier

Sawyer Glacier

 Ryan and Sarah Rovnak

Ryan and Sarah Rovnak

 Annita and I - Iphone Pic

Annita and I - Iphone Pic

Stay tuned for the next part of the trip where we stop in Skagway and continue on to one of our favorite stops of the trip, Juneau. 

2017 our year in Review

This year has really flown by it seems but I have had an incredible year behind the lens and while my little weekly photo challenge I started here was a failure on my behalf I did still shoot a ton this year. 

January 2017 we started off the year with some good friends wedding reception (they got married in Disney last year) and was able to setup a photo booth that we really had some fun with.  Just so happened to be on Annita and I's anniversary so Wedding cake bonus!

 Rovnak Reception

Rovnak Reception

February 2017, Annita and I were able to get out and do some adventuring around the area and joining a group doing some skiing up in Pennsylvania and checking out some brewery's (not at the same time mind you).

 Dirt Farm Brewing Company

Dirt Farm Brewing Company

 Annita on the slopes at Whitetail Resort

Annita on the slopes at Whitetail Resort

March 2017 led us into Cherry Blossom season down at the Tidal Basin in DC where I spent many a mornings throughout the month.  Annita and I also ventured out to check out a waterfall at Crabtree Falls in Tyro Virginia which was nice but we got a little surprise along the way, yes the snake is harmless but I almost jumped into the water when it popped out. 

 Foggy morning over the Tidal Basin

Foggy morning over the Tidal Basin

 Harmless maybe but will still make you jump

Harmless maybe but will still make you jump

April 2017 - We finally got a chance to visit the Murphy's in PA and Annita and Kris did a little running as well.  We also got to do a little more exploring and bought annual passes to Meadowlark gardens and checked out Luray Caverns. 

 Annita and Kris getting their run on

Annita and Kris getting their run on

 Meadowlark Gardens

Meadowlark Gardens

 Luray Caverns

Luray Caverns

May was a pretty slow adventure month but we still manged to head up into Maryland and checkout another botanical garden, Brookeside Gardens. 

 Brookside Gardens

Brookside Gardens

In June we ventured out to Burke Lake park which is close by the house to check out some sunrises and get some walking in.  I also made a few adventures down to the Tidal Basin for some sunrise fun.  June was also my first baseball game in DC and got to see the Texas Rangers play which was an incredible time with my wife and met some Texas fans at the game that made us think of Dallas. 

 Burke Lake Park

Burke Lake Park

 Tidal Basin Sunrise

Tidal Basin Sunrise

 Washington Monument sunrise

Washington Monument sunrise

 Texas Rangers vs Washington Nationals - Beltre and Harper chatting

Texas Rangers vs Washington Nationals - Beltre and Harper chatting

July we got to visit the Murphy's again in PA and Kathy, Alan and Kyle up in CT for a balloon festival that was a bit of a bust due to weather. 

 A little roadside garden with the CT Folks

A little roadside garden with the CT Folks

 Annita in the pool at the Murphy's showing the girls how to swim

Annita in the pool at the Murphy's showing the girls how to swim

August we had our wonderful friends the Thornberry's from Texas come in to visit and you can guess it, I did some sunrise shots at the Tidal Basin and Naitonal Mall area.  At the end of August we headed to Seattle to jump on a Carnival Cruise to Alaska which was INCREDIBLE (that will be a seperate blog all in it's own).

 The Thornberry's

The Thornberry's

 Sunrise over the Tidal Basin

Sunrise over the Tidal Basin

 Starting the cruise off right and our in room lush Groot already hitting the bottle

Starting the cruise off right and our in room lush Groot already hitting the bottle

September started off with us in Alaska on our Cruise and I will pop in a few images but will do another blog post with the highlights from Alaska another time.  We also did some local running around hitting Meadowlark gardens and stopping in to check out Cars and Coffee in South Riding for a little fun.

 Tracy Arm Fjord

Tracy Arm Fjord

 Skagway Alaska Train and Bike Ride Excursion

Skagway Alaska Train and Bike Ride Excursion

 Juneau

Juneau

 Ketchikan Alaska Bering Sea Excursion

Ketchikan Alaska Bering Sea Excursion

October we got to be a part of the amazing wedding for our good friends Kathleen and Jonathan and headed back to Dallas for a short trip for my annual company BBQ.  I also got the chance towards the end of the month to head out with my good friend Angela to catch some sunrises on Skyline drive.

 Jonathan and Kathleen Fox

Jonathan and Kathleen Fox

 Sunset leaving Texas

Sunset leaving Texas

 Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

November and December pretty much blended together with work and everything but we did get our first Snow of the season a little earlier this year so Angela and I grabbed the cameras and headed out to Great Falls to see what we could capture (I need work capturing snow falling).  I know this will suprise everyone that made it this far but I also spent some time down at the Monuments shooting sunrise. 

 Long Exposure of the falls

Long Exposure of the falls

 Angela getting the shot!

Angela getting the shot!

 Early light with the World War II memorial and Washington monument

Early light with the World War II memorial and Washington monument

 World War II Memorial fountain

World War II Memorial fountain

That is a quick glance at what we did in 2017 and already have some fun plans for 2018 and looking forward to capturing as much of it as I can through images and video for our memories and to share with everyone.

Early mornings in Washington DC

Sunrises are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to shoot, maybe it's the sunflare or maybe it's just the peacefulness of being only one of the few people crazy enough to be up at that time of day.  This time of year it is even a little more difficult as sunrise is so early in the morning but that has not stopped me the last two days! 

One of the things I am setting out to do is try and shoot a time lapse twice a month because I really do like the content that they can add for videos or just standalone to show off a location.  Now I just have to find the formula that works best for the way I shoot and with the equipment that I use because I still want to keep my kit down to a minimum so not carrying extra wired triggers around for the camera and using the internal app on the Sony's that has some limitations.

Anyway, enough talk let me show you pretty things.

Great Sunrise over Burke Lake

One of my favorite times of day is to shoot is sunrise, not a fan of the time of day this time of year to get up in order to catch it but that is not the point.  Last Saturday we woke up in what I thought was plenty of time and got out to the lake around 5:30 and the Sun was already coming up so it became a mad scramble to get the camera setup and a time lapse running.  It was a great morning and Annita (My wife) got her morning yoga in on the pier while I took photos so a win/win for both of us!  Here are a few of the shots from that day.

Plan is to get out this Thursday, June 8th to try and catch sunrise downtown by the monuments. 

Catching Up - Week 14-21 2017

I have failed.  Simple, to the point and honest.  I was not able to complete more then 7 weeks of continuous updates for the 52 week challenge and now have fallen completely behind.  How often does this also happen in our every day lives not just with our hobbies.  We start with a drive to accomplish something and various factors creep in and next thing you know you are over your head trying to catch up.  I am not going to try and catch up at this point but I will continue to use the 52 week challenge ideas to capture them this year just may not be on the week as planned. 

So now I just adapt and find how I want to share my art and for that I will bring you along on our adventures as we explore the Northeast as recent transplants.

The last couple of trips are just me and my wife wanting to get out and explore the area and see some of the beauty that Northern Virginia has to offer.  We started off close to home by checking out Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna.

 Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

 Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

After walking around the gardens which are beautiful we were a bit hungry so decided to give Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken a try and it did not disappoint.  I know what your thinking, Fried chicken at a doughnut place but you would be surprised! 

 Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken

Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken

Next we head out west towards the Shenandoah National park to check out the Luray Caverns which was discovered in 1878 by 5 locals.  When we arrived we noticed an abundance of tour buses and quickly realized the crowd we were in for.  Even though the crowd had numbers the employees moved everyone through quickly and the wait really was not that bad.  

 Wife at Luray Caverns

Wife at Luray Caverns

 Reflections in Luray Caverns

Reflections in Luray Caverns

Following that Memorial day was right around the corner so we decided to find another botanical garden to check out in the area, might as well get those steps in while you check out some beauty in nature!  This lead us to Brookside Gardens in Maryland and it was equally as impressive as Meadowlark and even had a butterfly exhibit!  We did not check it out this trip but will be planning a trip back soon and it will be on the agenda!  For Memorial day we headed out to Burke Lake park as the fog had rolled in pretty thick so wanted to see how the sunrise would pop off, it didn't, but we got in a good walk and some fun pictures!

 Brookside Gardens - Bee!

Brookside Gardens - Bee!

 Brookside Gardens - always hope for a better sky but the view was still great

Brookside Gardens - always hope for a better sky but the view was still great

 Brookside Gardens

Brookside Gardens

 Burke Lake Park, Fog and Yoga, why not?

Burke Lake Park, Fog and Yoga, why not?

 Burke Lake Park - Family day at the lake

Burke Lake Park - Family day at the lake

We have a few trips planned in the next couple of months but will do my best not to wait months before updating again. 

 

Week 8-13 Feb/March 2017 - The catch up blog and Cherry Blossoms!

I am a little bit behind but have been out shooting so the next updates may have a bit of a theme to them because I absolutely love the shots from the last few days out shooting the Cherry Blossoms here in Washington, DC.  This is a catch up blog to cover the last 6 weeks in an attempt to get me back on track! 

I was not sure what to expect when I went out to the Tidal Basin this year as we had a freeze right before and thought it may have killed off a majority of the blossoms for the season.  I was pleasantly surprised when I went out for 3 days last week in the early shadows of the morning to capture the sunrise and I am glad I did! Over those 3 days I was able to capture some incredible shots, meet up with a good friend for some fun and it inspires me to want to be out every morning with a camera in my hand. 

I Hope you enjoy!

Week 8 - Landscape: Wide Angle/Panorama

 A great sun flare shot of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial with a little cherry blossom kicker over the Tidal Basin.  #Sony A7RM2 , F/22, 1/40th, ISO 200

A great sun flare shot of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial with a little cherry blossom kicker over the Tidal Basin.  #Sony A7RM2 , F/22, 1/40th, ISO 200

Week 9 - Landscape: Nightowl

 Another shot of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial but during the very early morning (nightowlesque).  #Sony A7SM2 , F/4, 1/5th, ISO 1600

Another shot of the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial but during the very early morning (nightowlesque).  #Sony A7SM2 , F/4, 1/5th, ISO 1600

Week 10 - Portrait: Environmental

 Environmental portrait is typically of a subject in their natural environment so this is very fitting because this is where Angela loves to be, in the middle of the Cherry Blossoms.  #Sony A7SM2, F/4, 1/500th, ISO 640.

Environmental portrait is typically of a subject in their natural environment so this is very fitting because this is where Angela loves to be, in the middle of the Cherry Blossoms.  #Sony A7SM2, F/4, 1/500th, ISO 640.

Week 11 - Landscape: Reflection

 As you can tell from the shots above I have a theme and it is the Tidal Basin.  This was a very Foggy morning but thought the Jefferson Memorial reflection along with the Cherry Blossoms was a great shot.  #Sony A7RM2, F/4, 1/250th, ISO 400.

As you can tell from the shots above I have a theme and it is the Tidal Basin.  This was a very Foggy morning but thought the Jefferson Memorial reflection along with the Cherry Blossoms was a great shot.  #Sony A7RM2, F/4, 1/250th, ISO 400.

Week 12 - Artistic: Transportation

 This one was a shot I had in my head with the Cherry Blossoms and the City/Car lights in the distance providing the Bokeh.  #Sony A7RM2, F/2.8, 1/60th, ISO 1600

This one was a shot I had in my head with the Cherry Blossoms and the City/Car lights in the distance providing the Bokeh.  #Sony A7RM2, F/2.8, 1/60th, ISO 1600

Week 13 - Landscape: Zoomed in

 I really love this shot of the Cherry blossoms with the Jefferson Memorial compressed in the background and the only way to accomplish that was to step back and zoom in.  #Sony A7RM2, F/6.3, 1/100th, ISO 400.

I really love this shot of the Cherry blossoms with the Jefferson Memorial compressed in the background and the only way to accomplish that was to step back and zoom in.  #Sony A7RM2, F/6.3, 1/100th, ISO 400.