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Last Independence Day

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C. nearly 11 years now. Which means, I’ve had a decade of July 4ths here. However, most of my attempts to see the fireworks have been marred by rain showers, whether it was an day drizzle or a monsoon just hours before the spectacle.

Last year, I decided to do something different with my long weekend. Get out town, go somewhere I’d never been and see new things. I convinced my parents to drive down from NY and meet me at Harpers Ferry, WV. I’d never been there before, but I knew it had history, guided tours (thank you park rangers…), hiking opportunities and more. Aside from a soggy morning (what is it with July rain in the Mid-Atlantic?) it was a pretty great time. There were people in costume holding an old-fashioned Independence Day celebration, stores to poke around in, a neat old church you could climb up to and tour, as well as Jefferson Rock.

We stayed in nearby Shepherdstown, where we had a fantastic dinner at The Rathskeller of The Bavarian Inn — right next to a suit of armor. Dad stayed in while mom and I drove over to Antietam Battlefield to watch the fireworks. They were beautiful, and this was my first time photographing with all the proper equipment (tripod, shutter release). Although imperfect, I got the best fireworks images I’ve ever captured.

The next morning we wandered Shepherdstown, visited the farmers market and craft market as well as some galleries, a cycling shop and my dad bought me a lovely piece of art (that I still haven’t figured out where to hang up.)

Before returning to D.C., I hiked the Maryland Heights Trail (the shorter version) in some serious heat with full photo gear. but I was rewarded with a great view of the town.

 

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Local Spots: Jones Point

I went for a bike ride today. It was just too beautiful outside not to. I decided to park my car at Jones Point park because I wanted to ride the Mount Vernon Trail. Since Jones Point is the closest parking spot on the trail for me, there’s lots of parking and the best bathrooms on the trail (with the exception of Mount Vernon estate). In addition to being a great place to start a ride, Jones Point has a cute little lighthouse, some picnic tables, great views of National Harbor and of DC from downriver.

As I was riding on this beautiful day it occurred to me that a little more than a year ago I was there for a much different reason and took some beautiful portraits. My little brother and his fiancee came to DC in order for me to take some engagement pictures for them. I think this is my favorite one (taken at a building beside the lighthouse).

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Best Views of D.C.

It’s Cherry Blossom time in Washington, D.C. When hordes of tourists descend upon the city armed with cameras. I generally find the crush of people too overwhelming to take my own camera to Tidal Basin during the festival.

I’ve lived in the D.C. area for more than a decade and before this month, had only gone to see the blossoms twice. This year, however, I decided it was time to try again armed with the right gear (tripod and shutter remote) and the will to get up earlier than most. I went last weekend (peak was supposed to be last week) and had the place to myself, but a disappointing sunrise.

Although I was not rewarded with the best sunrise today, I did capture some beautiful views of my adopted city, spent time with a friend and logged quite a bit of practice with long exposures and sunrise metering. I also realized live view is a huge (but necessary) battery drain and I really need to order a backup battery.

Here are just a few of my favorites from today.

Before the sun:

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Closer to sunrise:

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Dawn in D.C.

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