Happy Memorial Day!

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It has been a while since my last blog post, and given the theme of the weekend, I thought that I’d use the time post some pics of the VE day celebrations in Washington from earlier this month.  Because after all, it’s only because of the sacrifice of so many brave men that I am able to enjoy such a relaxing weekend with family and friends!

Virginia is for [landscape] photographers

Anyone who has driven through the Shenandoah Valley within 2 hours of sunset knows how phenomenal this area can be for photography. I’ve always thought how much I’d love to have a place in the central Shenandoah Valley and drive around to photograph old farms and the surrounding hillsides. Over the next year, I plan on highlighting the varied terrain and flora of the Commonwealth. It truly is a four season state, each season bringing it’s own unique beauty. I consider ourselves extremely fortunate to live in such a beautiful area. Within 15 minutes of driving/walking from my house, I can be at some truly beautiful (and unique) places. For the moment we’ll stick to the 3 sets of pictures taken over the last 2 weekends. The first set is of the upper Shenandoah Valley taken at sunset from the Appalachian Trail at the top of Blue Ridge. Which, for reference is a 45 minute drive from my house in suburban metro Washington. How cool is that?

Speaking of suburban metro Washington, we live in the planned community of Reston, which is famous for its green space. That and it truly is a great community to live in (I personally love all of the running trails).

The 3rd set is of the northern portion of the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. I love the contrast of the agricultural land next to preserved federal lands.

April showers bring….April flowers!

Growing up in the South, I have always been intrigued by this old adage, since all of our flowers always came up well in advance of May.  Even further North in the Mid Atlantic (after an extremely long and cold Winter), most of our flowers will be out well before May.  It seems as if the adage was either coined by someone : A. living in Saskatchewan   B. living at an elevation greater than 5000′ or C. living in the “Little Ice Age.”

Bluebells at sunset in Bull Run Regional Park
Bluebells at sunset in Bull Run Regional Park

I’ve been telling people for months now how excited I was about Spring, if nothing else, just to see colors other than taupe, blue, and white (even thought I deeply love winter).  Well, Spring has finally sprung in the Mid-Atlantic, and it’s been nothing short of spectacular.  So much so, that I think that my wife’s patience with my photography has been wearing thin, due to the fact that I’ve been devoting so much time to it.  But hey, the Cherry Blossoms and the Bluebells only come for 2 short weeks a year.

These first set of images are from a spectacular storm that arrived late one evening, right before sunset.  The results were some really interesting lighting conditions.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to leave the neighborhood to set up shots, due to the fact that I had a large pan of Moussaka (which was mighty tasty, I might add) baking in the oven.  Despite the lack of a “super interesting” venue, I really liked the results with the lighting.


This next set of images are of the Virginia Bluebells. If you’ve never seen these beauties, and are in the Mid Atlantic in mid April, make it a point to go see these. They grow in large patches in wooded river bottoms (flat places along Bull Run, the Potomac, and I’ve even photographed them along Rock Creek in the District). Where they occur, there are literally acres of these tiny blue little gems. Thomas Jefferson liked them so much that he had several planted in his garden. There’s nothing that compares to a stroll in the warm spring air along a flat trail surrounded by millions of these little guys.  The below images of bluebells are from both River Bend Park in Great Falls & Bull Run Regional Park near Manassas.

The final set of images isn’t exactly springy, but of some interesting places that I shot while out in Manassas to shoot pics of the bluebells.

Thanks for looking!

Cheers,

Tom

One of my wife's favorite pastimes while on photography outings is to grab the camera from me and take shots of me.
One of my wife’s favorite pastimes while on photography outings is to grab the camera from me and take shots of me.

The Cherry Blossoms

One of my favorite things about the National Capital and the Mid-Atlantic region are the 4 very distinct seasons…each season with beauty of its own.  I still think fall here is prettier, but Spring certainly doesn’t disappoint.  I was fortunate enough to capture  the region’s most famous spring site on not just one, but 2 mornings this past weekend.  The first set of pictures was from Sunday morning, which was clearly the best morning for photography.

This next set was from Saturday morning.  I was fortunate to have my wife along with me.  In addition to enjoying her company, this proved to be a huge help, as she helped me navigate with my equipment (in addition to helping me set up shots) through the throngs and throngs of people.  It seemed like as if every photographer who either lived in or was visiting Washington was on the West flank of the Tidal Basin…I’d never seen so much professional camera equipment in one place (easily exceeding $1million, just from what I saw)!  Fortunately, I had already found my ideal location on a previous winter morning shoot (when no one was around), so we headed straight there.

One of the few benefits of being around throngs of friendly people (some A LOT friendlier than others) is the free exchange of information with the friendlier individuals. Fortunately for me, one of these individuals suggested that I go to a neighborhood in Bethesda that has streets lined with the same species of cherry tree.  Ironically, I drive by this neighborhood every day on my way to work, but have never driven through there (except in the dead of winter).  So after the best light around the tidal basin began to wane, it was time to head over to the Kenwood neighborhood in Maryland.  Here are some of the results: