Cascade Falls in Virginia

CASCADES-FALL-02-FB-WEB-97MPCascade Falls – F/7.1 @ 1/2 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 97MP

We were in Virginia/West Virginia area and from google it says that Cascade Falls is the best waterfall in Virginia! We decided to drop by and take a look. We chose the more difficult 2 mile hike route because we were tough, so I thought. Man, I am out of shape. My friend and I used to trail run 5 miles before, but since January I have been on and off with my fitness regimen. I am just too occupied with my work, that’s my excuse, LOL.

Cascade Falls is a 66-foot drop waterfall that can be found in Jefferson National Forest in Pembroke, VA. It is just about north of Blacksburg.

CASCADES-FALL-01-FB-WEB-93MPThe Cascade – F/22 @ 1 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 93MP

The most important thing when shooting waterfalls is the shutter speed. I look at how big the waterfall is and its speed. The faster it is the slower the shutter speed I use in my camera. Here I used 1/2 to 1 second. You need to meter to the water falls and then compose.

For those who like to shoot waterfalls, hold it until the fall season. Your photos will look better with all the colors in the fall foliage. And also you can’t be lazy because most waterfalls are hidden and hiking is needed, for real! :)

A Dawn with Honest Abe

WASHINGTONDC-01-FB-WEB-96MPLincoln Memorial – F/11 @ 30 secs, 24mm, ISO 100, 96MP

I have been to Washington DC so many times in the past but never at dawn. Here is a panoramic shot inside the Lincoln Memorial.

We went back to the car and drove near the Capitol building to catch the sunrise. You would think that you’d be alone. There was an early bird there occupying the center most part of the reflecting pool. LOL.

WASHINGTONDC-04-FB-WEB-59MPDawn At The Capital – F/22 @ 25 secs, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 59MP

The sun was just about to get out from hiding…

WASHINGTONDC-03-2The Capitol Sunrise – F/22 @ 2.5 secs, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 56MP

All my photos here are stitched panorama. In the second and third photo a 3-stop ND filter was used.

Even at dawn this place is full of people; joggers, photographers etc etc. Well, it was a good trip nonetheless.

Overlooking Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH-01-FB-83MPPittsburgh Skyline – F/16 @ 30 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, click photo for L

I was going to cool off with cityscapes when we had the chance to go to Pittsburgh. Such a beautiful city from Mount Washington overlooking. You can never appreciate it during the day but when the night comes, and the city lights are on, it’s totally different.

We took advantage of the light and waited for few moments before taking the shot. I used a ND8 (3-stop ND) filter to maintain my aperture but prolonging my shutter speed. The right time to shoot cityscapes to me is on a twilight, when the light still prevails and the buildings are about to light up. Compare it to the second shot on a different vantage point and different time.

PITTSBURGH-03-FB-24MPGame Night – Pittsburgh – F/9 @ 30 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, click photo for L

This night was game night between Marlins and Pirates. I think the Pirates lost it. LOL.

Hope you enjoy it!

One week in Maine! Pt. 2

BASS HARBOR HEADLIGHT-01-FB-FLKR-61MPBass Harbor Dawn – F/13 @ 10 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, click photo for L

BASS HARBOR CLIFF-01-FB-61MPBass Harbor Sunrise – F/22 @ 15 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, click photo for L

SCHOODIC-RUGGED-01-FB-FLKR-49MPRugged Schoodic – F/10 @ 1/8 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, HDR, click photo for L

These were stitched in Photoshop CC 2014 and post processed in Lightroom 5.5.

One week in Maine! Pt. 1

PEMAQUID-2ROWS-02-FB-77MPPemaquid Point Lighthouse – F/22 @ 1 sec, 24mm, ISO 100, 77MP, click photo for L

Lighthouses are of no use for modern sea navigation, with all the advances in GPS technology, ships don’t need them to navigate the shores. They are just there for adornment, a tourist destination, specially in Maine.

I had limited composition in Pemaquid lighthouse because it was during sunset and there was a lot of tourists that I could not position my tripod without someone in front of me.

I was intrigued by Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor still a part of Acadia NP, we went there for a sunset. Should have been a sunrise because we were in the wrong side of the coast! I love the rocks here, pretty cool!
SCHOODIC POINT-FB-32MPSchoodic “Croc” Point – F/13 @ 10 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 32MP, click photo for L

My friend and I went to Bass Harbor lighthouse for a sunrise. We were alone there the whole time, no tourist at all. The water was very calm and the light was soft, time for some long exposure. It was very low tide but I found a way not to make that visible.

BASS HARBOR-FB-02-77MPBass Harbor Head Light – F/22 @ 13 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, ND8, 77MP, click photo for L

The last two photos I have used a 3-stop ND filter(ND8) to prolong the shutter to the desired speed. Study the light long before you push that shutta!

Hope you like them and have good week end!

The garden of Eden was in Colorado

MAROON BELLS-02-FB-58MPGarden of Eden, Maroon Bells – F/22 @ 2 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, 6X12, 3-stop ND, 58MP, click photo for L

I woke myself around 1am. The drive to Aspen was 3 hours from my current location in Colorado. Its been a good 3 days so far, I was to able to go to places in Utah and Wyoming. Southwest is a special place for me, with all these unlimited places to shoot. I’m blessed to be able to visit them. Thanks to all the people who preserved these places for us and for the next generation. I do hope fracking wont mess things up. LOL.

I arrived at Maroon Lake 5am and it was still very dark. I read that at one point there were 100 tripods in this location and I don’t wanna miss out. I guess I was too early but then I got the best spot imo. A few minutes later 3 cars came and I said to myself this is good at least I was alone no more. I spoke with this gentleman from St Louis it was his first time there too.

MAROON BELLS-04-FB-55MP 6X18, shot earlier, click photo for L

The composition here was very simple since this has been photographed a million times before, lake reflections with the Maroon Bells as subject and Maroon Lake as foreground. To have a perfect reflection there must be no ripples in the water. The conditions were pretty good so far at 539am, no wind, no birds messing up the water. I set up my tripod and I was looking at 7 stitches with the horizon at the center.

As the mountains came out from the shadows, gorgeous is the best word to describe the whole place. Man, this must be the garden of Eden! I don’t wonder why so many photographers come here 365 days a year. I waited a little bit more for the sun to light up the mountain and began shootin! That Aspen glow! This place is beyond gorgeous in the fall season with all that color reflections.

The Tetons!

GRAND TETON-LE-FB-66MPThe Tetons – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – F/14 @ 30 seconds, 24mm, ISO 100, 10-stop filter, 66 MP, click photo for L

It was my 2nd day in the Southwest. I was looking at the map, Grand Teton is just 4 hours away from my hotel in Southern WY. My friend told me you don’t get assigned there that often, go drive! Hopped to my FJ Cruiser rental and off to the Grand Teton. Half way to the drive it started raining, like pouring hard. The radio channel I was listening to was having a thunderstorm warning. I did not know it was going to rain, I did not check! But I was still driving, even if I couldn’t take photos at least I could still see the Grand Teton. The rain stop like an hour left to drive, thank God!

There are still icecaps even in the summer in these mountains, amazing! It is indeed grand! Pardon my excitement, we do not have something like this in the East coast. I was in the snake river overlook along the SR-191, where Ansel Adams took his famous photo of the Grand Teton with the snake river in the foreground and the tetons as subjects. I was in his footsteps, same composition. It felt good to be where he was standing with his camera box. I could imagine how difficult it was. Nowadays, it is easy with the DSLR, instant feedback from my 3″ back display.

The sunset was still 3 hours away. The lighting conditions were not that bad, I could still take photos with an overcast skies. I used a 10-stop filter to prolong my shutter to 30 seconds to somehow capture some cloud movement. It’s not possible without the ND filter. It was not windy at all so the trees won’t be blurry after 30 seconds. These are the conditions I check when I shoot.

Anyway, after I shoot I went to my car, opened my laptop to stitch the photos and I was happy with the result. No need to do another shot or composition. I don’t change locations anymore when I shoot, I choose a good spot and that is it. Because when I do otherwise, I just screw the subsequent photos, so I rather stay in one location.

When I left, it started raining again. What a day! 8 hour drive for one photo.

I do hope I can come back to the Grand Teton but this time with my family. I’m sure they’re going to love it. Hope you can come too! Wyoming man! It’s a beautiful country.

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