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Confused by what sights to see on your short visit to Washington DC?

There are so many monuments, memorials, and museums. Where do you even start?

If want to know the absolute best of the best things to see in Washington DC, keep on scrolling. This guide is for you!

I’ve lived in the Washington DC area my entire life and in that time I’ve gotten to know the city very well. It has changed so much in the past few years that it may be hard to keep up with all the new and fun things to see. Sometimes I even think it’s hard to keep up with all that is going on. There have been new museums, memorials and points of interest that would be fun for a solo traveler as well as families all at the same time.

So in this guide, I will share some highlights of my favorite sights as a Washington DC native and photographer.

My 7 Favorite Must-See Sights in Washington DC:

 

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From the top of the Altaire luxury apartments in Crystal City, Virginia. I still can’t get over this view.

Although the Lincoln Memorial isn’t as predominately seen from this viewpoint, it was still so cool to capture.  I think it’s because you see the memorial from the side, which isn’t seen as often but it is surrounded by so many trees. I really had to zoom in with my lens to capture this.

But it also raises the question, should landscape images be photographed in landscape mode? Meaning vertical or horizontal? I feel like the majority of images I capture are in the vertical orientation. Not for any reason other than I think the composition usually looks better that way. I sort of see it as a way of “naturally” cropping and zooming in to a subject. Yes, it is more phone-friendly as well because it takes up the screen but I know traditional photographers will always photograph in the horizontal.

A couple of years ago, my friend, Mike who at the time worked at Modern Luxury DC magazine, said that magazine editors prefer the vertical orientation as well since that’s how magazines are read. Ever since then I was trying to get into the habit and it kinda stuck.

Obviously, this image is horizontal, but I think it worked because my main focus was to show all the layers behind the Lincoln Memorial. I tried cropping it in vertical, but it just didn’t work.

So I guess I’m saying that the orientation depends on the image but in general, you will usually see my images vertical. What about you?

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/100th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and my kind friend, Larry let me use his 100-400mm lens for this shot.

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From the top of Altaire’s rooftop in Crystal City, Virginia is one of the best views of the Washington DC memorials I had ever seen. It’s rare to get such an elevated, unobstructed view. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it took my breath away.

This image was taken as the sunset was starting to burn. I totally wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t think the clouds looked like the right “sunset clouds” but it was definitely a welcomed surprise! So I quickly tried to set up my shot while looking at the United States Air Force Memorial. It wasn’t quite working out since I had focused mainly on the memorial and the beautiful red sky wasn’t showing in the image. So I took a few steps back so I could at least get a little bit of the color. I loved the way this turned out. I love how the red in the sky matches the red in the back brake lights of the cars. I think if I had to do it all over again, I would make the exposure just a  little bit longer so the cars in the foreground were a little bit more blurred but I think that’s just me being nitpicky. Other than that, I think this turned out to be very cool.

Gotta love those summer sunsets 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F13 at 0.3 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 100-400mm

 

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Now that I’m feeling a little better, the blogs can go on as normal 🙂 Thank you for all your kind messages. They really made me feel better quicker.

I had been holding out on all the images I captured during Memorial Day weekend because I really wanted to be more thoughtful with those blog posts. So here it goes…

This image was captured the Thursday before the weekend had even started and it was totally unplanned. We got really heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon that seemed to have come out of nowhere and then all of a sudden, we lost power. With no power, Andrew and I were just bored, staring at each other so we decided that we may as well as go out and take pictures. Well, I was taking pictures while Andrew got some fresh air.

The US Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) is the closest landmark to our house. When we arrived, there were 3 tour buses full of people standing around and taking pictures. I figured with so many people around the memorial, it would probably be best for us to walk over to the Netherlands Carillion which has a fantastic view of the DC skyline and wait out the buses for a bit. Hopefully, by the time we’re done, all the buses will be gone.

My wish came true!

We walked back to Iwo Jima and no one was there. We had the whole memorial to ourselves. I was so excited, I started snapping away. Eventually, I made my way over to some trees and were looking for some framing compositions when I saw this man come. He must have just gotten off of work, it was around 5:30p when I captured this and if I had to guess, he probably didn’t have any power either. I just love the way he was standing there and soaking it all in, I had to capture it.

My camera settings for this image is F13 at 1/500th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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One of my new favorite places in the world is the CEB Tower in Rosslyn, VA. I’ve found myself recommending it to people without them even asking. LOL thats how you know it’s a great place to be. Not only is there a great view of Washington DC, but the observation deck itself is very beautiful. The first time I visited, I was blown away by the interior and the windows, paneling, everything. It’s floor to ceiling windows and it’s just breathtaking at sunset.

But my favorite part is when you go outside to the little deck area and you’re literally standing 31 floors up in the air with nothing but beauty around you. That is what my friend, Albert was experiencing in this image. He’s sitting outside on the deck, posing for his own pictures when I saw him perfectly framed by the window panels while standing inside. It was right around sunset time so the sky was working in our favor as well. I love that he is being silhouetted by the colors.

So if you’re planning a visit to the CEB Tower, definietly enjoy the view but the interior is something to appreciate as well. Also, there’s a bar inside so what can be better than some nice views and a little drinky drink. You know what I’m saying? LOL.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/15th sec at ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

By the way, currently working on the follow up to this blog post about sunrises in Washington DC with one about sunsets. Obviously the CEB Tower will be included, but if you have any other places that you think are good for sunsets in Washington DC, please let me know! I would love to add your input.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend 🙂

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So now that you know that I’ve spent multiple evenings at the View of DC, you must have figured that I have quite a few images from this place now. LOL. This is the balcony. You can see how it’s enclosed by glass so reflections can be found everywhere! I loved it from the first moment I saw it.

This image was taken on the second day that I was was visiting the CEB building. The sunset was gorgeous and I was so happy to be on the balcony to witness it. I was the only one out there with this couple who were on the opposite side taking their own pictures of the view. At this time they were looking at the images they had just captured on the camera but I love the way they are still being affectionate towards each other. I had to stoop down low in order to capture this image so that the glass reflection looked almost as big as the side of the building on the right hand side.

In case you were wondering, the spaces in between the glass panes are pretty big. I was able to fit my entire lens through it, but it wasn’t big enough to turn it to the side. If I wanted to capture an image, it had to be straight on. However if you’re at the corner of the balcony, the spaces in between are a lot smaller. Just a little tip for you photographers who were thinking about visiting and hoping to capture images without the glass.

With this view, I know I’ll be back. I feel like there’s so much more to explore here with so many different angles.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/640th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.