Washington D.C., the Nation’s Capital is full of iconic sites and monuments recognized the world over – the Washington Monument Obelisk, the White House, and the Lincoln Memorial. Perhaps every tourist or visitor has the same images of President Lincoln seated, the South Side of the White House, or the Washington Monument seen from the Mall. Instantly recognizable shots have their place, but can also be bland. Seek out new angles and new perspectives to bring new life to old favorites.
A day of strolling through these inspiring monuments and sites will bring forth details missed by the average rushing tourist scrambling from bus to site and back. The greatest photographic pleasure can be found by strolling through the area looking from what is often missed – details. Many sculptures, such as the statue of President Lincoln, were carved with pain-staking attention to detail. Focusing closer on the face and fingers illuminate this magnificent memorial to one of the Nation’s greatest Presidents.
Another site offering a plethora of photographic opportunities is the World War II Memorial. Dedicated on May 29th, 2004, the monument honors the human sacrifices made by all the States of the Union and its territories. Beautifully sculpted friezes flank the ceremonial entrance to the memorial and offer scenes from the war effort both at home and abroad. The central fountain also provides an opportunity for abstract images. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze water in mid-air creating unique patterns. Try converting images to black and white for stark contrasts and compositions.
One could wander through Washington D.C. for days and not even begin to scratch the surface of what there is to see. If time is short, one not-to-be-missed place is the Sculpture Garden at the Hirshhorn Art Museum. Part of the Smithsonian museum complex, the sunken sculpture garden offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets and Mall above. An idyllic setting with sculptures from the Matisse, Rodin, as well as emerging artists, the garden offers countless opportunities for intriguing photographs. Zoom into details such as hands and facial expressions. Point-and-shooters try your “Macro” setting (the “flower” setting on most cameras), to bring the subject to attention in the foreground while blurring the background.
Whether a reflection in a fountain pool or a Presidential helicopter zooming overhead, Washington D.C. offers countless opportunities for photography. Keep the standard subject matter fresh and always seek out the details.