freedom plaza

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Besides the Washington Monument, there aren’t many options in Washington for someone to get an elevated view of the city. Sure you could go to a rooftop bar or hotel, but who can pass up the opportunity to go to the third tallest building in the city, for free! The Old Post Office Tower is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave and considered to be a part of the National Mall. It’s viewing tower has some unique views that can’t be seen anywhere else and opened daily from 9 am – 5 pm daily (last entry is at 4:30 pm) except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the early 1900s, this building was used as the city’s main post office. Since then has been transformed into office buildings and in 2016 Donald Trump redeveloped the property into a hotel with restaurants and retail.

The entrance is located in the middle of 12th street between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Constitution NW, next to the Starbucks. A little tucked away but there are signs that will lead you to the entrance. As you enter the building, there is security who checks your bags to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you aren’t supposed to be carrying. You are then directed down the hall to the elevators. This hallway was particularly interesting because it had old images of Washington DC from years ago. Living in the Washington area, these are scenes I see almost every day so it’s interesting to see what it actually looked like in the early 1900s.

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I captured this at the same time I captured this image.

After playing around with some long exposures, I decided to walk around to see if I could get any foreground interest. I was there with my Sunday morning sunrise friends so finding a person as my foreground was pretty easy. Luckily Mark made for a great unknowing model and I was able to capture a few images of him taking pictures.

But the moral of the story is that Mark always gets to our locations early and snags the best spots before anyone else.

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/25th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm.

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When I went to bed the night before, I wasn’t expecting much out of the sunrise. The weather apps said it was going to be cloudy, and so I just thought it was going to be a grey day. Luckily, I was meeting up with friends who came up with the great idea of capturing the sunrise from Freedom Plaza at sunrise. Having that accountability of meeting with people was definitely the motivation to get out of bed.

As I was driving into the city I saw very faint hints of pink and it got me excited. I immediately parked the car, grabbed my tripod and got to this beautiful spot along Pennsylvania Avenue as fast as I could. There wasn’t a lot of traffic going on so I thought for this image I would try to crop the street a bit and focus mainly on the sky. I really like how the street lights are acting as lines towards the US Capitol.

My camera settings for this image are F8 at 1/30th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Last week was a pretty awesome week for storms. I’ll post more on that soon. But that doesn’t go so well with trying to capture the full moon rising.

Fortunately, I was out with my friend, Zack to capture it. It was his idea to head to Freedom Plaza to try to get the moon over the Capitol dome but things didn’t go as planned. It took a while for us to actually see the moon because of all the low hanging storm clouds. So I’m glad Zack was there to hang out with while we waited. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have just given up and left before we were able to see it.

I love how the moon looks like an orange ball of light in the sky. It’s a nice centerpiece to all the other lights going on in the image. By the way, I could have done without all the construction cones and lights. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s some kind of construction in Washington. This is along Pennsylvania Ave.

Anyways, I’ve made it an appoint to mark my calendar for the rest of the year for full and new moons. The best moons always happen in the fall time so I can’t wait to capture some more 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/5th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm on a tripod.