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James Jackson

Freelance lifestyle and travel photographer

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DC above and below by thisisjamesj

Hi there. I'm James (@thisisjamesj on Instagram, Twitter, or VSCO).

I've lived in DC since early 2012. Photography (and specifically Instagram) is how I've learned about the city. I'm fortunate that we have a really active, welcoming, supporting photo community here. (See #igdc on Instagram.) Photography has been a casual hobby for at least 6 years but I've begun to get serious about it over the past two years. I've been pleased with the growth I've seen and find myself enjoying the hobby even more.

I usually shoot with my iPhone 6 or my Sony a6000, process with VSCOcam, and have a never ending fascination with the Metro and Chinatown, as you'll see below.

The Street Portrait

H St. NW heading towards 7th St. NW is probably my favorite part of Chinatown. The colors are vibrant — golds, reds, and green — and there's always a lot of foot traffic no matter what the weather is like. This day was a warm winter day, thinly cloudy so the light was nice and even. There had been a bit of rain which always adds a nice sheen to things. I shot this with my a6000 and a 50mm prime lens. 

The Look Up

This was yesterday. I left work early becuase it was so beautiful, sunny, and warm. This look up is of 1 Dupont Circle. I really took Trashand's advice and focused on balancing the negative space with the bulding and processed the photo to bring out the reflectivity. Shot with my a6000 and my 16-50mm wide angle lens, pulled all the way back. I'm incredibly happy with how this one turned out.

The Motion Shot

I usually post these on IG with the hashtag #trainedfocus. My intention is to get one or two people in focus with the rest blurred. The iPhone's native camera does a great job in the low light setting of the Metro. Pre-focus, point, tap and hold to activate burst mode, and pan along with the train. I first started doing these with an iPhone 5 (which doesn't have burst mode) but my success rate was dismal. Also my a6000 actually autofocuses a bit too fast and I don't get as much motion blur and distortion as I'd like.... so I stick with the iPhone.

The Night Shot

This apartment buidling is on Capitol Hill and it's quite atypical, actually. My first thought was that this looks like So Cal rather than DC — a little Melrose Place action, maybe. But the lighting was perfect and the framing of the trees really set it off. I shot this with my a6000 the 16-50mm wide angle.

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