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- AboutMy interest in photography started with influence from my dad. Wherever we went, he took pictures of my family and the scenery around us. As I grew up, more and more times, he let me be the camera man. Maybe the habit just stuck. I took up photography in the summer of 2006. I really am not sure what spurred the idea, but since then I have made a hobby of taking photos of what I find to be beautiful. What do I find to be beautiful? Mostly, nature. I find beauty in the subtleties of the Earth. When I take the time to think through the complexity of the Earth and the life within it, I conclude that there must be a reason to existence. However, Earth is only one small piece of the larger puzzle; much more beauty exists in places and shapes we have never imagined. What is that larger puzzle? What other beauty lies out in the Universe? What is the driving force behind life? These are questions that run through my mind when I witness nature. What makes the Earth beautiful to me? I can’t really say. I feel a quiet passion as a crisp…
This past Wednesday, we had a fierce thunderstorm come through the area. I’ve been wanting to capture some lightning over Great Falls, and thought it to be a good opportunity.
I came pretty well equipped, with my rain coat and pants, umbrella, and waterproof flashlight, but none really did anything to cope with what I encountered.
I scampered down the rocks from the 1st overlook and the rain started to come down. First in steady drops, then as sheets. I continued my way towards the shore as the thunder & lightning arrived.
I got to a nice position on a large, flat rock and noticed that kayakers, like me, were inspired by the weather! They continued surfing and rowing against the water, even as the currents slowly gained steam.
Water was really coming in from everywhere, so I had to veryyy careffullyyy remove my camera and lens under the precarious safety of my umbrella. The winds were picking up so the umbrella was swaying a little too much for comfort.
I finally positioned my camera towards the falls and waited for the lightning to come more often. It didn’t happen. The lightning came in quick and spontaneous bursts, not the steady flashing strobe I was hoping for. As the deluge continued, I decided to capture what I could before the water damaged my equipment.
Far out in the top of the most interesting section of falls in the park, a lone Great Blue Heron stood overwatch, and was stoic in the storm. He was obviously more composed than me, still searching for his food somehow despite my thought that his direct and peripheral vision would be way skewed from the water coming from every direction. With the backdrop of dark clouds and mist, it made a pretty dramatic scene:
“Through the Deluge”
A Great Blue Heron poised stoically over Great Falls during a heavy thunderstorm.
Canon 5dm2, 70-200/4L IS @ 187mm, f/7.1, 1/6 sec, ISO 2000, tripod
On another note, these herons, which frequent the park in summer months, are wily and courageous creatures. They will seemingly dive through the most violent of water to get their catch. For example, see this image from last Friday:
“Risk and Reward”
A Great Blue Heron rises from the violent rapids with a prize.
Canon 5dm2, Canon 70-200mm/f4L @127mm, f/16, 1/5sec, ISO 5000
Pretty amazing to see a writhing catfish in the Great Blue Heron’s mount. No chance I could have ever spotted a fish like that in the rushing rapids of Great Falls.
Anyways, back to the shoot during the thunderstorm. It was a really exciting experience for me! I was completely soaked, but with a warm, late spring storm it was kind of like a cool bath. To me, it was like playing in rain as a small child. Though I was happy to be soaked, I will say I am lucky that my equipment came out unscathed and dry. My new F-stop Loka bag held all of my lenses and equipment dry… even without that rain cover (which I probably should get….. .. .. …. yeah.).
TILL NEXT TIME!
Last week, I went on a trip for one of my best friend’s weddings in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. With only a few days worth of time down there, I knew I had little chance to venture out of the resort area to take pictures. I had thoughts (read: dreams) of going to the nearby national park: Parque Nacional del Este, and even grander dreams of going further north to a park near Semana, but it really was not feasible.
So, I took an afternoon to myself to hike down the coast near our resort, in search of some inspiration in the calm of the Caribbean. I tried to get as far from the people, beach chairs, plastic cups and cigarettes that cluttered the shoreline near the hotel. Though it is still a lot of fun for me to partake in the gluttony of all-inclusivity, I wanted something a little more pure that afternoon.
I took my time, observing the environment around me. As I walked down the shore, I didn’t find as much beauty in the grandiose beach, with the flat ocean and distant palm trees — as I did the details in the water. The iconic, turquoise color aside, as the sun set, I was fascinated with the illuminated ripples and waves in the lake-like currents. After a while, I found a small freshwater stream emptying into the ocean, creating even more beautiful shapes & textures as the water sources delicately rode around and on top of one another in the sunset light:
A small freshwater stream empties into the calm Caribbean sea, creating beautiful shapes & textures as the water sources delicately ride around and on top of one another in the sunset light.
Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 70-200/F4L @ 144mm, f/16, .6 sec, ISO 50, Tripod
Goes to show (me at least): not all beauty is readily evident. To me, it’s worth it to be patient and calm like the sea I saw that evening. Taking the time to wait, deliberate, and feel can reveal even more meaningful experiences. I try to apply that premise to my everyday life, but especially when exploring or shooting.
Gone is DR, next up… HAWAII!
As you may know, I continue to shoot portraits and engagements by commission, though I normally brand myself as a landscape photographer. Here is a set of images of my friends Tony and Laura, from their Washington DC engagement session on the National Mall, with the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. Enjoy!!
See more of my Washington DC Engagement photography HERE!
Being a photographer has changed the way I walk through life. Slowly but surely, I find myself being more observant of my surroundings and more appreciative of the subtle beauty of the Earth.
A favorite place of mine to visit in the DC area is Great Falls. Of course, Great Falls National Park offers sweeping vistas and dramatic views that even the most seasoned expeditionary would appreciate. However, there are more intricate details and beauty to enjoy if only you choose to look.
On this evening, I was trying out my new lens (Canon 24-105 f4/L) on a group of rocks on the Maryland side of Great Falls. There are so many cool formations around, but what held my interest this evening was a group of lichen moss, brilliantly contrasted in color. I have been frequenting that side of Great Falls for a number of other photos I have in mind, and I think I’ll revisit something like this again as well.
I hope you enjoy this image, and enjoy the beauty in detail all around us!