Washington, D.C. 2015

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C H E R R Y B L O S S O M F E S T I V A L 

In early April I traveled to Washington, D.C. on assignment for ThisIsFeeling Photography to photograph one of my couple’s engagement sessions and also visit one of my best friends. Alexis & Miguel, the couple I was photographing, really wanted to have their session with the cherry blossoms in bloom so we did our best to plan my trip accordingly and we totally nailed it. The weekend we did their session, the blossoms were at their peak and the weather was incredible. During my week long stay I had the pleasure of trying Ethiopian food for the first time, photographed two amazing couples, made some new friends, went on various hikes, and spent a lot of time surrounded by the tourist crowds at the tidal basin cherry blossoms.

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On my first full day in town, Jon took me to hike at Chain Bridge and I was happy to be among such gorgeous rock formations. We took a few spills on slippery rocks and managed to get our socks soaked but it was totally worth it.

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I could have spent the entire day shooting here among the jagged earth.

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The neighborhood one street over from where I started Alexis & Miguel’s engagement session is by far the most colorful street I have seen in North America. If only more towns in major urban areas were like this. 

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I had a ton of fun wandering the city with Alexis & Miguel. Before jumping on the Metro we jumped in front of this mural of their main boss. So good! Go visit www.ThisIsFeeling.com to see more of our work!

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Another day of hiking – this time at Great Falls – with Jon afforded me some bonding time with new, reptilian friends. It took a little time to earn the relative trust of this Eastern Fence Lizard, but after a while we were both able to get close enough to capture them with an 85mm. Go figure the one day I don’t bring my 100mm macro lens with me…

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And then we came across this beautiful 4.5ft long Northern Black Racer, basking in the sun. When it started moving on the ground, I was able to pick it up with a branch and get in a little closer. Jon has photos of me doing this. I still haven’t seen those photos, yet Jon [cough cough].

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After releasing the snake back onto the ground it began to climb, and so we continued on with our hike.

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Here’s a quick photo of my two friends, Gene & Corrine, during an impromptu Journey session before heading to lunch in their neighborhood. I captured this using a 45mm tilt shift lens… moments before it crashed onto the pavement due to a camera strap failure. This is why I can’t have nice things. And also why it’s so important to have a backup camera. Everyone saw it hit the ground and we all freaked out, but I pretended it was okay while dying a little inside.

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This was supposed to be a blog about the Cherry Blossom Festival, right? Wrong – it’s about my experience in D.C. during the festival, but fine. Here we go…

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The Jefferson Memorial while waiting for the sun to get a little lower. There were some clouds looming over the horizon and this point and I was really worried I would lose the light of golden hour considering this was my last chance to capture the blossoms while I was in town.

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This is one of my favorite shots from my trip, and I will be placing this for sale in my Shop. I was freelensing for this shot, and if you’ve ever used this technique you can imagine how frustrating it is to focus when your subject is moving with the wind. But in the end I still got what I wanted.

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I watched this man for about five minutes while he tried to balance his son, at least I presume it was indeed his child, on this tree so he could take a photo. He was unsuccessful and gave up. No children were harmed in the making of this photograph.

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And then the clouds dissipated and the light came blazing through, drenching the blossoms in gold.

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Another freelensing shot here, to show the growing crowd at the Jefferson Memorial.

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I briefly spoke with one of the crew members from MacGillivray Freeman Films about their upcoming release, “American Wild,” a tribute to U.S. National Parks. This film is set to release on February 12, 2016 to coincide with the centennial of the National Park Service. I wish I could have watched them work longer but I, too, had light and time against me.

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I always struggle when asked to pick one super power. My choices are always either the ability to control weather or stop time. It’s moments like this one where I know with certainty I would pick the ability to stop time. To swim in this light for hours on end and shoot and shoot and shoot. But living in reality we can only wade in the sun’s ocean for as long as the sun allows, a constant reminder of how timeless everything around us truly is.

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This particular image shows the blossoms in a more, for lack of a better word, realistic view. When cherry blossoms are at their peak, they actually lose their pink pigmentation and appear to be more white than anything else. Only when they are in their early stages do they appear to be pink.

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Here is a decent depiction of what the walkway along the tidal basin looks like during the festival. Shoulder to shoulder, jam packed with folks both local and tourists, domestic and foreign. So much diversity in one space – all of whom are there to appreciate natural wonder, yet there is still trash left on the ground all over. Not saying every single person there litters, but it certainly happens. Here’s to hoping more people will learn to truly appreciate nature as a whole and be responsible and thoughtful about their actions.

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As the sun crept away, so did the crowds. Night time at the National Mall was totally different, leaving time and room to play with tripods, flashlights, and long exposures. Above and below are two shots I captured at 30 second long exposures. The Washington Monument above is a more simple shot with some flashlight beams hitting the blossoms on the left. The blossoms below are along the tidal basin and illuminated with a pink gel over my flashlight for the color effect.

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I’m really glad I was able to take part in this event as I’m sure I won’t be revisiting D.C. during this time of year again. Far too much traffic due to the influx of tourists, but it was definitely a trip well worth it. You can see more images from my D.C. trip by visiting my Instagram account.

You can also follow ThisIsFeeling on Instagram, too!

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