Photos: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

My niece is in town and we decided to visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in nearby DC.

Despite the hot weather, the place was packed with tourists. The hot weather made the animals seek shelter, the tourists (especially kids) were constantly in the way of my camera, and my zoom lens (Tamron 70-300) missed focus a lot, but I was still able to find a few pictures worth sharing with you.

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Photos: Smithsonian Udvar-Hazey Center

It was awesome to get to the visit the Udvar-Hazey center near Dulles Airport, VA.

I continued to improve my flash photography skills, using a 600EX-RT clone flash unit. Challenges at the hangar were the varying intensity and color of light, and having the use the camera hand-held, compared to the benefits a tripod or monopod would bring when using low shutter speeds. I would like to upgrade my Canon 40D APS-C body to a full-frame body (such as the Canon 5D or 6D) or at least a current APS-C Canon 80D body. The full frame body would help me to get a wider frame of view and would provide more mercy when shooting in low-light situations, such as this hangar.

As you would expect, I made a beeline towards the space shuttle Discovery as soon as I saw it and spent a lot of time taking photos of it.

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Photos: Mount Vernon, Virginia – Second Visit

It was fun to revisit George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, Virginia, on May 15, 2017, with my beautiful, gorgeous, amazing, gracious, and generous wife Holly (who lets my buy camera equipment) and my mother who was visiting and was enjoying seeing the District of Columbia sites for the first time since childhood.

I’ve been working on my fill flash photography skills; you can tell that they’re not great yet.

I wish I had photos from inside the mansion, but they inexplicably forbid photography inside, which is frustrating. They keep the crowd moving at such a pace that it was difficult to have time to fully appreciate any of the rooms, let alone capture any decent pictures.

However, I had a great time taking photos of everything that I could, and some of them were decent enough I decided to post them here for others to enjoy.

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Photos: Baoer 801 Fountain Pen

I bought a pen at the BWI Fountain Pen show last Saturday. My searches on Google, Amazon, and Ebay have failed to locate the exact make and model. UPDATE: I’ve discovered that it is most likely a Baoer 801-

It’s silver, thin and looks similar to the Jinhao 126, with differences. It has a hooded nob and the finial is longer than the pictures I’ve seen. Additionally, the clip design is a little different and it used a plunger converter, instead of the twist style that I’ve seen on my other JinHao pens. It has four rings around the section.

I played around with my Canon 40 DSLR, 24 mm EF-S lens, and two Yongnuo YN600EX-RT Speedlites to try to photograph it.

After getting started, I remembered that photographing shiny objects is really, really hard. I’m not especially pleased with the results, but I thought I’d share anyway.
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Photos: Mount Vernon, Virginia (Oct 2016)

I had the opportunity to visit President George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, Virginia in October, 2016. I developed a deeper understanding of the man, rather than the one-dimensional saintly impression that schools often teach.

We also visited Historic Occoquan, which I highly recommend to others looking for something interesting and historic to do.
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