Friday, September 3, 2010

End of Summer Adventures - Part 1

With summer drawing to a close, my husband and I found ourselves staring at our calendars one day and came to one horrible realization: With summer camp over and the start of school two weeks away, we had no one to watch our two oldest children.  At 11 and 6 years old, we couldn't leave them at home alone.  So, with much grumbling and negotiating, my husband and I agreed upon the days that we would each take off from work to stay home with the kids.

It's been a busy summer for me and my husband; I was promoted at work and traveled internationally, while my husband attended a couple of out-of-state conferences and took on extra responsibilities at the office.  Our kids, however, weren't experiencing such grand adventures.  So I figured that if we couldn't afford to go someplace fabulous (like Europe!), I would at least try to be a good parent and take them to some of the amazing national parks that we have here in the D.C. area.

I won't lie - it was also a great excuse to try out my newest acquisition, courtesy of an award that I had earned at work.  After years of a rinky-dink point-and-shoot, my Nikon D5000 is a pretty sweet upgrade!

Our first adventure took us to Great Falls Park in Virginia.  We went early in the morning, even before the Visitors Center opened at 10am.  The kids weren't sure what to expect; I think they had a good time, though.  There were squirrels and grasshoppers and caterpillars and butterflies!!!  

Great Falls, VA - 55mm, f/14, 1/160s, ISO 200

As the temperatures were quickly climbing into the 90's, we didn't stay for very long - but we loved the view.

Great Falls, VA - 32mm, f/11, 1/400s, ISO 200

While I was tinkering with my new camera, my kids were taking pictures of their own...

Great Falls, VA - 35mm, f/10, 1/400s, ISO 200

...and generally looking really cute.

Great Falls, VA - 38mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 200

One of the problems that I faced during this adventure was the ridiculously bright sunlight.  I had hoped to try for some of those really neat pictures of silky-looking waterfalls that you see in travel magazines, but the sunlight was just too bright and the images turned out crazy overexposed if I tried to change the shutter speed to anything more than 1/125s.  Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

Great Falls, VA - 55mm, f/36, 1/20s, ISO 200
I would have normally deleted such a lousy photo, but I realized that it's probably best to keep it as a reminder that I should learn from my mistakes.  As a result, I vowed to get a polarizing filter or at least a neutral density filter before our trip to Manassas Battlefield the next day.

And for your viewing enjoyment, here is one last picture from our trip to Great Falls, VA:

Great Falls, VA - 55mm, f/9, 1/800s, ISO 200

*All images copyright Shauna Hunt, 2010*

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