Things have been super busy since we moved to California in April of last year. But now, we are finally settling into our new home and I was able to spend some time continuing to explore the coast. I know I promised I would move away from coastal photography, but I couldn’t resist.
Another coastal shot! Made it out to natural bridges state park just north of Santa Cruz. Cold water but I quickly got acclimated to it as I stood waist deep to get some good wave action…with another earth, sea, sky shot — maybe time to explore a little inland.
In the 6+ months we have lived in the Bay Area, shooting opportunities have been very few. Recently though we took a trip to Lake Tahoe and I had a business trip to San Diego. I did my best to get back out there and in the elements.
Finally I feel like I’m starting to explore this beautiful state we live in!
It’s been so long but getting back to the swing of things. My first trip up to SF for sunrise. No clouds – all good. 2 hour commute back to South bay – all bad
We have been living in the bay area for almost 6 months now… crazy how time flies! In the months since we have been here, we have been busy getting settled. After several months of the grind, we finally got a chance to get away to Hawaii for our 5 year anniversary and my wife’s bday. One of the advantages of living in the west coast is that 5 hours later, we can plop down at a gorgeous beach like we did at Waikiki.
While I really have not spent much time at all in the last 6 months on photography, I had to get a sunrise shoot squeezed into our relaxing time on Oahu. This is my take on the sunrise from Lanai Lookout, just near Hanauma Bay. The sun rose through the haze and highlighted sparkles through the crashing water coming to the lava rock shores.
I hope that in the coming months I can spend more time exploring California through photography. But for this vacation, it was nice to just get back in the swing of things.
I took a few hours to check out an amazing celestial display in the solar eclipse. The experience was really amazing even as I did not witness “totality”. Maybe in 2024 🙂
Last evening, storm clouds caught some nice color at sunset. A long exposure streaked the clouds and calmed the water over the Jefferson memorial and still peaking blossoms
Over the weekend, we hit peak of cherry blossoms. After a warm winter followed by a cold spell while the blossoms were partially exposed, many were worried if we would see Cherry Blossoms as we are accustomed to. I think the bloom is actually really nice! I personally can’t tell a difference between this and previous years. This morning was a beautiful calm fog over the scene, which allowed some beautiful blue tones in the clouds with the pink of the blossoms and allowed for a peaceful mood.
This morning, I was hoping for a little more photogenic and more snow than what we got. But I made the most of it while touring the Tidal Basin. The blossoms were covered in ice while still delicately blooming. Here’s hoping they will last…
Last week I returned to Iceland after an amazing trip in October left me wanting more. For this trip, my goal was to capture winter scenes, in particular ice caves and hopefully some aurora. As it turns out, the rainy weather I witnessed in October stayed for the months I was away, and Iceland is continuing to go through a wet and warm winter. There was no snow on the ground when I arrived and in fact the ice caves were in jeopardy of melting due to intense rainfall. We were not even sure if we could visit as we had hoped. Ultimately, we lucked out on one day where we had no rain and less wind which allowed us to hike 10 miles up and down the glacier, capturing photos and flying the drone all the way! Thanks to my new friend Stephan Mantler, who leads amazing small group hikes here. My short trip was highlighted by that arduous and sometimes intimidating trek — where a slip here or there could mean real trouble and a possible slide all the way down the glacier. My friend Bernard Chen, a very good photographer and videographer, documented our hike below. Besides that hike, I also visited Gulfoss, Vik, and some mountain scenes near Pingvellir. Another nice, short trip to Iceland and I appreciate your thoughts on my work!
Here on we started our trip up the glacier! Here’s the documentary our trip up via Bernard Chen and his DJI Mavic Pro.
The next day after our hike, we headed back east towards Vik. While in Reynisfjara, I finally was able to scamper over the rocks during low tide and get a full-on view of the impressive sea stacks (the second shot in these two):
On our way to Pingvellir, I noticed these massive mountains that were partially reflected in a frozen lake. It was an impressive show of size even in grand Iceland:
This morning I led a very cold workshop at the Vietnam and Lincoln Memorials. Not a cloud in the sky and 20-ish degrees, but still a beautiful sight!
Another year in review! I’m actually surprised at the amount of shots I captured this year, given that next year’s resolution is to shoot more. Here are my fav 10…Which one is your favorite?
Last night I spent some time down by the memorials. I wanted to get a shot of the wreaths against the Vietnam memorial, but the beautiful clouds started gathering more westward. I did a few long exposures facing the Lincoln Memorial before turning back east to the Washington Monument where the sky had turned a deep pink. A pretty nice and unique sunset despite the cold!
As we finally are seeing cold weather we regularly expect in late November, the autumn leaves — several weeks later than normal, are finally falling off of the trees. This past Saturday was a particularly amazing day. It started at 70 degrees on an afternoon we decided to take our baby to the zoo. By 3pm, a cold front arrived with 40 degree weather and crazy wind! Leaves of all shapes and colors flew across the sky. We may have a week or so left to witness the fall color. I’ll perhaps have a little more to share, but here are a few from the past two weeks:
This evening, we saw an amazing supermoon rise over Washington DC. We chose the Constitution Gardens to allow us a view eastward to the rising moon while also seeing the peaking fall foliage. Enjoy!
Happy Veterans Day on this beautiful fall morning… As shown by some amazing color at the Air Force Memorial this week
I was lucky to spend 3 amazing nights in Iceland. Though there was a lot of rain, I made the best of the situation and had a great time. I will be updating this page with details of my trip!
This past weekend, the family and I went to check out the fall foliage at Blackwater Falls State Park. It has become a little tradition for us! Some locales were past peak, and others hadn’t quite reached peak. An interesting year for sure as leaves are usually fully peak by the end of September. Here are the few images I captured from this year
Last week, the Air Force Memorial celebrated its 10 year anniversary and I had the honor of photographing the event. The event included an amazing performance by the Air Force Memorial Band, a former American Idol contestant, speeches by distinguished guests, two flyovers, and a video presentation by former President George Bush. Also, Deborah James, the Secretary of the Air Force, was named an honorary Tuskeegee Airman for her role in supporting the group’s objectives. It was a really good time, and I was glad I was there to capture it for this important memorial.
On Sunday night, I captured the rising full moon as it rose beautifully over the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I used the lit path to lead the viewer into the image and used two exposures to capture the foreground and moon.
Last night I met up with the IGDC crew for the first time! Nice to finally meet some of the photogs I had been following on Instagram. The sunset wasn’t too bad either. I tried some new angles and some other more traditional ones… hope you enjoy!
Yesterday’s Sunset may not have been much compared to the previous days, but still was beautiful and serene as seen from great falls
We recently returned from a family trip to Seattle! This makes two years in a row that we have traveled for my mom’s bday! We had a blast and have this takeaway from a late afternoon visit to Kerry Park. A gorgeous view to Mt. Rainer, surreal like the mountain is superimposed over a picture of the city! The park was kind of small, but sissy and I had fun pretending we were kids. Till next time…
Last week, I met up with friend and photographer Angela Pan and two new photog friends Dave an Zack at Union Station! After checking out the sunset from the parking rooftop, after Dave asked for it, we were granted access to a cool perspective from behind the statues that adorn the elegant and historic transportation depot. I captured a straight on view to the U.S. Capitol and toyed with the intersection of lines in the ceiling of Union Station. Hope you enjoy em…
Last night I went shooting with my friend Angela Pan to capture storm photography near the city.The storms arrived right around sunset, which allowed for some nice light and color as the bolts struck. After the sun set, continuous bolts highlighted clouds behind the Air Force Memorial. While I would have loved to see some fork-like bolts, it still was a nice sight to see.
Tonight I met up with my friend and photographer/workshop extraordinaire, Michael Chinnici of Photo Workshop Adventures. After hanging for a bit, we headed to shoot sunset at the White House and Washington Monument. Just past sunset, some interesting clouds rolled in while subtle pinks took towards the horizon. A center comp seemed to be in order.
Enjoy the rest of summer!
I had planned this shot for a while and finally went out to capture it. Usually this is a spot for sunrise but I was looking for the monument to be basked in light and looked to use the crowd to add mood. Might try this one again still.
In Living Memory
In June, we went on vacation to Greece. This was a leisurely trip to Greek Islands Mykonos and Santorini and a stop over in Athens before flying home. Through 8 nights, the trip proved to be a fair amount of time spent traveling. If I were to do it again, I’d maybe cut out Athens or spend more time overall.
During vacations, I don’t usually spend much time photographing. I like to keep photography trips and vacations with family as separate as possible. They have such different daily routines and sights to see, that I find it to be hard to concentrate on both. But, I bring my camera along nonetheless and see if there are opportunities to add to the portfolio.
During this trip, I took mostly portraits of us having fun. I mixed that in with a little shooting in Santorini –sunrise and midnight shoots in Oia, where we were lucky enough to stay, and some shots from the boat tour of the Aegean Sea from Santorini. Ultimately, I only have landscape shots from Santorini – and more than I thought I would come away with! Hope you enjoy them and my views from a beautiful island destination.
A preview from Greece… more to come 🙂
#fbf to a more attractive Capitol dome under post sunset pinks and reds. Restoration should be finishing soon, thank God. Definitely less nice than the monument scaffolding froma few years ago. I right now I avoid shooting the Capitol like the plague
#washingtondc #dcweather #dcfocused #focused #exposeddc #igdc #dctography #instantdc #instagood #dccool #mydccool #uscapitol #dc #monuments #acreativedc
Several months ago, I shot a scene on the Memorial Bridge for ABC 7 News’ dynamic weather background that viewers see during every forecast. After being Facebook friends with super TV personality and weatherman Steve Rudin for 5 years, I finally visited the ABC 7 studios in Rosslyn to meet Steve and the weather producer, Alex Liggitt and other notable personalities like Brian van de Graaff and Doug Hill. Everyone was super nice — especially Steve, who gave me the grand tour of the facility!
Check out the shots… woops about my collar 🙂
Next time you watch the weather, look out for my shot!
Last month, I flew out to Las Vegas for 3 nights of photography. It had been a long while since I took a trip dedicated to photography! As a new father, my world turned upside down and I found it to be much harder to spend extended time away from home. Every moment is so special and I find it hard to be away to miss even the slightest thing. But being out in the environment and doing photography helps me clear my head and mind when the rush of life overwhelms me. Taking the time to travel and explore is worth it for me.
I had considered several locations but settled on Las Vegas and Death Valley National Park. This was because of the really convenient flight out there and the fact that wildflowers were seeing a rare superbloom hadn’t seen for 10+ years. But, a day before I arrived at the park, a massive windstorm swept away the most prominent patches of wildflowers. No worries… I still had myself a great time.
I tried to stay flexible and free during my 3.5 days/3 nights in the area. I used a great field guide for Death Valley by Ron Coscorrosa and Sarah Marino that helped me triangulate on locations to hit. Though it was a blast, I think I stretched myself a little too thin and across too many places! I started further east at Death Valley, took a 1.5 day excursion west to the Alabama Hills, and circled back to Death Valley before departing. A lot of driving, a lot of hiking, a few beers, and even fewer hours of sleep — and these are the shots I have to show for it.
All in all, it was a really great trip. It helped that I was able to stay in contact, for the most part, with my wife and baby back home. Google hangouts from Alabama Hills – the best of both worlds being in an alien-like, grand landscape but still connected to those I love back home.
As for Death Valley itself, honestly, the first day or so underwhelmed me. I was wondering what the appeal was of this much-discussed National Park, where mud flats and distant mountains were the most prominent features. However, as I spent more time at the park, its subtleties and more grandiose parts of the environment showed themselves to me. The park itself is massive – so making a rush call on its entirety based on one location and evening was mistake #1. Also, it’s a place for all its scale that is so different from mile to mile. Take for example the Cottonball Basin or Panamint Playa, both of which I spent evenings photographing. As an outsider, I took for granted the formations in the salt and mud playas that were so distinctive in shots I had seen from this place. In truth, finding those photogenic locations is extremely difficult. After 5 hours searching on Panamint Playa across several square miles (hiking and by deplacing by car), I found a section I liked but not nearly as deep or graphic in nature as I had sought. It became clear to me that hikers and photographers have spent hours, days, weeks, months combing this park for gems that can be found with time and effort. And finding those gems was not only a photographic accomplishment but a true sight to behold.
Just this vignette about Panamint Playa reflects my thoughts on the park — there is so much diversity that can be found in relatively small spaces within this massive area. One really just needs to spend the time to find it. Couldn’t the same lesson be applied in most life situations?
On to the images. I am usually one to say “quality over quantity”, but in this case I find myself with almost too many images for 3.5 days. Nonetheless, each speaks to me in a different way and also serves to tell viewers about the different aspects of Death Valley National Park and the nearby landscapes in the Eastern Sierras. What an amazing stretch of natural beauty in this earth! Here they are in chronological order. Your thoughts are appreciated:
Dante’s View: a nice place to see the expanse of a section of the park. I shot this area in mid-day and was able to see some abstract shapes in the creeks that seep into Badwater Basin.
Cottonball Basin: Talk about misunderstanding a place. When I arrived here, I was pretty underwhelmed. I found the edges of this salt flat to be a little boring. A few more minutes in and steps toward center, and the otherworldly nature of this spot took hold. The delicate salt formations were foreboding but fragile. I immediately noticed that my footprints were affecting the crusty surface of the salt flat. Treading lightly, I searched for cool formations that reflected the sunset light.
Zabriskie Point: One of the most popular spots in all of Death Valley. I spent some time before sunrise here to capture twilight and some of the waning starlight. Beautiful formations but a little too crowded.
Twenty Mule Team Canyon: I found a section of cool badlands in this canyon and set out on foot, deeper and deeper into the canyon. The badlands were interesting in texture — a crumbly sort of mud that fell away as I drove my boots up the mountains. With such a texture, it seemed to me that each mountain of mud existed precariously and could wash away in a rainstorm — kind of reminded me of the quality of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon in the way the oxidized volcanic rock had been reduced to mounds of red ash just crumbling away. I followed faint footpaths on the edges of the canyon peaks, getting higher in elevation, and suddenly found a rock quarry peppered with desert gold wildflowers. Just past sunrise, it was a perfect complement to the waves of badlands, bathed in warm sunlight, looking towards the valley.
Alabama Hills: I booked it West for 3 hours, past the town of Lone Pine, CA to visit the amazing Alabama Hills. Wow! Such crazy formations in rock — varied from those organic shapes close to me in the Alabama Hills, differing to a pillar form closer to the Sierra Nevada Range, and ending with the massive range itself topped by Mount Whitney and still covered in snow. The hike around the hills was just amazing. The ground was covered of loose, soil-like, sepia sand. Within the sand grew tiny flowerbeds of varied colors blue, yellow, green, and white. I had to tread lightly to not damage those flowers or the equally frail cacti and other shrubs that hung onto life in Alabama Hills. I did not have the best lighting against the peaks of the Sierra Nevadas, but made do with the view – which was spectacular to say the least. I stayed overnight at a motel (finally – a bed and a shower) and hoped for some better light come morning. No such luck, but the clear skies allowed some continued twilight/starlight photography that I appreciated.
Panamint Playa: Back to Death Valley after sunrise, I decided to stay at one location to maximize the photographic opportunities and spend less time traveling. That said, it took a lot of time to scour the playa to find a good composition for sunset. I was determined to find some deep (say 6″ or more) cracks in the mud, but couldn’t find it. Instead, I found some interesting variations in the color of the cracked mud as it seemed to lead towards the beautiful Panamint Range, with its multicolored sandstone midsection that is so photogenic. The high clouds — that lingered throughout the day and teased me with promises of a colorful sunset — dissipated completely right before the sun started towards the horizon. So, not much color to be had but staying through sunset allowed me some twilight work. While many photographers cringe at the moon being present for night shots, I used it to help illuminate parts of the foreground and contribute to the blue skies that are lacking at night during moonless evenings.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: In September, I got the chance to spend a morning at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. Instantly, I knew that dune photography came very naturally to me, likely because I have been shooting a lot of abstracts lately. There’s not much better than a rising sun against rolling sand dunes when you love abstract photography. My flight was just near noon, so with not a whole lot of time, I hiked out to Mesquite Flat pre-sunrise and was able to capture a few shots before the fast hike (run) back to the car and onto Vegas. All that done, I still missed my flight home, but all was OK as I made it back just slightly later that evening.
This was a strenuous, action-packed, and fun excursion. Not everyone’s idea of a “vacation”, but a cathartic experience for me. I learned some things, as I always try to… in that I do think I covered too much ground with too little time, expending myself too much and perhaps not allowing enough time for mindless exploration and art by osmosis. Also, I reminded myself to COMPARTMENTALIZE when it comes to packing and using gear in the field. When I throw everything together, I can’t find my items as quickly and ultimately lose or forget something. Yes, the light could have been better too, but such is life and I saw some amazing things. I can’t complain.
I hope you enjoyed visiting Death Valley and Alabama Hills through my experience and art. Till next time!
Last night, I led a private workshop at the Navy Merchant Marine memorial to see the willows and tulips that adorn the site in early spring. We were treated to a beautiful pink and orange sunset that made the view that much nicer. Your comments are appreciated 🙂
This year, I probably went out for cherry blossoms more than I had any previous year that I can remember. I woke up for a few sunrises, stayed for a few sunsets, and spent some time exploring during the day. As a landscape photographer, there is a fine line between capturing what is presented to you (in weather, blooms, people) and creating something with what you have. Lately, I have been focusing on the latter — trying to create an image given the available elements. Sometimes those elements are inherently beautiful, and therefore popular. Think a blazing orange and pink sunrise – not many people wake up for those, they aren’t very common, and very rarely can one get it framed right above some photogenic elements such as cherry blossoms and the Washington Monument. It’s easy to see why those shots are so popular. Sometimes, the environment doesn’t give you the inherent WOW factor so you have to try to create it yourself. It’s a good exercise in creation that I always enjoy. The practice also helps for when the elements do line up perfectly – I find myself more able to capture shots I find unique and fulfilling.
This year, the cherry blossoms themselves were very nice — as they are most years. The weather we had was also nice, but not stunning. We had a few clear days, a few cloudy days, but no real days of stunning colors. I still had a very nice time shooting at primarily the Tidal Basin, avoiding crowds by going at select times, and shooting solo with friends, and workshop participants.
So here I present to you my cherry blossom shots of 2016. Following these images will be more of the city, some long overdue Air Force Memorial shots, and some images from Death Valley I captured last month:
Last night, I went to the Memorial Bridge to capture the moonrise after sunset over the Washington D.C. monuments. I had a photography workshop to capture the same moon on Sunday, and had canceled because all forecasts pointed to heavy, consistent rain near sunset. Not even a drop fell, by my count! Anyways, I had another chance to shoot the “snow moon”, and decided on this vantage point given the point in sky the moon was rising.
The moon started out as a soft orange as it pushed through low, post-sunset blue and purple clouds:
As the moon rose higher in the sky, it became brighter and the clouds turned darker and more orange with the city lights. I moved towards the left to keep the moon between the monuments as it rose towards the Washington Monument:
The moon high in the sky now was very bright. I used two exposures so to show the detail of the moon along with the foreground. The shimmering body was amazing to see reflected in the Potomac river:
Lead a private workshop yesterday evening… an it wasn’t until very late that a sliver of sky cut through the clouds. I didn’t think it had much potential but I was duped — pink soon surrounded in the sky. The extreme water levels at Great Falls made this section look especially strong & violent. Awesome and cold night to be out!
Last week, our area was pounded by Winter Storm Jonas and its nearly 30″ of snow. It took a few days to dig out, and I was finally able to get to do some post storm shooting. I tried on the few days after the storm and found some of the parks I hoped to shoot were still closed for the weather.
The forecast was for rain/freezing rain yesterday evening — but it did not stop me from trying to shoot. It’s a guessing game with weather. You can never know what you will find once you are in the field. In yesterday’s case, there were beautifully textured blue clouds before sunset. As the sun dipped in the sky, the low clouds caught a mix of sun and city lights to present a beautiful reddish purple hue that is so frequently found in the city. It’s one of my favorite times to shoot. I captured a couple of different looks of the memorial before the rain and freezing rain set in on me and my camera.
I was glad to keep the momentum up from shooting the storm and hope to get out again soon!
Yesterday afternoon, I geared up in my warmest waterproof winter gear and spent 5 hours on the National Mall photographing the onset of the 2016 Blizzard nicknamed “Snowzilla”. Unless someone can offer me transport today, it looks like yesterday was my only opportunity to travel down to the city to capture the falling snow before Sunday. Hopefully, things clear enough so that I can get back down after the nearly 30″ of snow we are expecting! In the meantime, here is what I captured through sunset of last night. The snow was falling pretty consistently, but shifted from fluffy puffs to a glittery mist. It was a blast being out there. Everyone stay warm, hopefully have more to share in the coming days…
Here is my opinion of my best work of 2015! I whittled it down to 10 images — tougher than I expected but a good exercise in curation. This year, I didn’t get to travel much for photography but still was able to capture a decent variation of scenes. I hope to travel much more in the coming years and see my photography continue to grow. I hope you enjoy the collection of shots from this year — organized in chronological order: