One of the best aspects of being a member of The Arcanum is connecting with photographers from all over the world who share the same passion. How fortunate I am to be living less than an hour away from Arcanum Master Angela B. Pan.
After watching Angela’s performances on The Creation Wars (where she’s undefeated after two appearances!), I sent her an email introducing myself. We decided to meet for a shoot in Washington, D.C., and yesterday was the day.
It was cold winter day for D.C. standards, with temperatures hovering in the 20s and a significant wind chill. Being the weather wimp that I am, I did pack hand warmers, which totally saved me at the end of the evening. But, I’m getting ahead of our adventure.
Thanks to Angela’s fantastic knowledge of D.C. and the side streets on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, we arrived in D.C. about 5 p.m. and had no issues with the rush hour traffic. We parked at the Tidal Basin, which was partly ice-covered. Interestingly, hundreds of seagulls were gathered, with some hanging around on the railings and nearby grassy areas.
We didn’t really have a firm plan, so we decided to take advantage of the birds and spent some time shooting them as the sun set over the basin with the Jefferson Memorial as a backdrop. In my head I was kind of thinking it funny that I came from the country to the city to shoot birds, which are among my regular and favorite subjects. Nevertheless, I was quite enjoying it and working on compositions with the birds and the Jefferson Memorial.
As we were chatting and shooting, something seemed to spook the birds, and suddenly there was a whoosh and they were all taking flight. It was one of the most amazing spectacles I’ve ever seen, with the glorious colors of the setting sun, the reflections on the Tidal Basin and the memorials all around us. The birds flew up and around our heads, gathering in a huge flock before they swooped off.
We were both in awe, clicking away as this all unfolded in front of us. I don’t typically “spray and pray” as I work, but I couldn’t help but just keep holding the shutter down, periodically changing the zoom on my lens to capture different focal lengths. It was so cool!
After they flew off, we walked up to the nearby Washington Monument, where we set up our tripods for some wider angle shots. Here, the winds were whipping, and I could barely feel my fingers as I fumbled with my settings. The wind was so strong that I had to hold my tripod steady during my long exposure shots and still some were blurry. Angela is so adept with her tripod that it seemed she had her shots finished before I’d even set up.
Then, it was time to head back and warm up, and thank goodness for the heated seats in Angela’s car. It was a fantastic photo shoot and so great to make a new friend, who just happens to be a super photographer. To see Angela’s work, click here to read her blog. She updates it each weekday.
I look forward to our future photography adventures and thank the birds for a most memorable experience on this cold D.C. day!
Gorgeous, I love the rich colors
Thank you, Ken! It was a great sunset!
Love, love the bird shot. How wonderful to go with the flow of the unexpected.
So not anticipating photographing birds! But I guess it was karma 🙂
Thank you, Sarah!
What an amazing photo of the birds taking off. Did you do anything special to process the image? After reading about your experiences with the Arcanum, I applied today!
Hi Sue, what great news! Please keep me posted on how it goes 🙂
For this photo I did edit it lightly in Lightroom and in Intensify Pro. I bumped up the saturation slightly and lightened the shadows in LR and then used the Natural Enhance filter in IP. In looking at it on the blog yesterday it seemed maybe a bit too saturated, so I went in and dropped it down a bit when I posted it on other social media. The photo actually got picked up from Twitter and was featured on the NBC Washington D.C. News/Weather on TV this morning. Kind of cool!
Wow–your celebrity status increases. Thanks for the info on post processing. I know so little about that subject, and am anxious to learn more. I did get picked up by a mentor on the Arcanum — Les Imgrund — but haven’t managed to actually “enter” the community yet, due probably to my unfamiliarity with google+, which I really don’t like.
Congratulations Sue! That’s great news! Les is a wonderful photographer and great communicator. Google+ is a bit daunting at first, but I have to say that now that I’m there it’s my favorite social media site for conversations with other photographers. Lots of great interaction. I look forward to your updates!
…..gorgeous! And thanks for introducing me to Angela’s blog as well.
Thanks Lucinda! Glad you liked it. You will appreciate this: NBC Washington channel 4 used it on their News/Weather this morning. So it had quite an audience 🙂
It was interesting to go over to Angela’s blog and compare the photos you both took of the birds in flight. I must admit I like your interpretation with a tighter composition and how you have caught the light on the birds in the central third of the photo against the dark backdrop of the trees, and of course the gorgeous flaming sunset colours.
Thank you! I did edit the photo to bring out the birds that were in silhouette. I played with that a bit because I wanted it to look natural but at the same time I thought it would be nice to see more of the birds against the dark areas of the photo. It’s always a judgment call when you edit an image like that because what you see in real life and what comes through the camera are sometimes two different views. I have tried to keep in mind editing to try and match what I saw at that moment without going too far. Always a challenge!
I think you have got that one just right, very natural looking and I know what you mean by what you see and what the camera records.
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