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.
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.
Happy Veterans day! Living in the Washington DC area and photographing the monuments in the National Mall has definietly taught me to appreciate all the service and sacrifice veterans go through every single day. I could not be more thankful for my beautiful life right now and a large part has to do with them. Whether it’s from talking one-on-one with veterans, seeing all the trinkets left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during Memorial Day, or just seeing them ride at Rolling Thunder, I have a special place in my heart to all the men and women who have done so much for me and our country. I feel like the best way that I could possible honor them is by going through my images and collecting some of my favorite images of the war memorials. It’s my way of honoring such the brave men and women of our country.
The image above was taken in December 2012. I was lucky enough to have all the elements lined up: fog, holiday wreaths, amazing sunrise. I’m so honored that this image has been shared over 100,000 times and the reaction and messages I have received from it has been nothing short but amazing. Thank you so, so much.
I’m sure you can tell by now that my favorite time to photograph the monuments is at sunrise. It’s just so quiet and peaceful. I’m usually the only one there and it allows me the time to really appreciate the monuments for all that they are. I love how the sun is peeking out over the WWII memorial.
Thank you today and everyday, Veterans. This is a small token of my forever appreciate to you.
I deleted Instagram off my phone on Tuesday night.
It may not seem like a big deal to some, but for me it was. I’m going to be open and honest here because I just got done talking about this with my friend, Alejandra and I felt inspired to share the story…
I woke up Tuesday morning at 6a. Not an unusual time for me to wake up if I’m not shooting the sunrise. Usually I’d wake up around 4:30-5 if I were. So 6am is kinda like I’m sleeping in. Just like everyone else, one of the first things I do when I’m fully awake is go on my phone and check out what’s been going on social media. One of the first things I see is that there was this amazingly beautiful sunrise, pinks, purples, the whole 9 that morning. I took a look out my bedroom window (which is facing west) and noticed that the sky was so pink. From my experience I know that if the sky facing west is pink then it had to be an amazing sunrise. I immediately felt upset. I missed out on an opportunity to capture one of my favorite things in the whole world, a colorful sky.
So that’s how I started off my day. I spent the rest of the morning thinking about where I would have gone if I went out to take pictures, what my composition what have been like, etc etc etc. Basically just beating myself up about missing the sunrise. But I felt like there had to be underlying reason why I was upset. I was upset because I knew that my most popular images on Instagram are the ones with skies just like the one I had slept through. They are the ones with the most beautiful sunrises with a memorial or something iconic in the foreground and I had missed out. This winter has been so grey and foggy that I couldn’t believe I stayed in bed for this one! I was missing out on the likes. I was missing out on new followers. I was missing out on other people’s confirmations that they like me as an artist and in turn them liking me as a person.
How freaking crazy is that?
So obviously one thought lead to another and I ended up having a really hard mental day. Everything was getting on my nervous. I started getting really antsy and impatient about some projects that I’m working on and why it’s not all complete. Even though nothing had really changed as far as the progression, I just expect things to come sooner, better, and I could not get over it.
I realized at the end of the day I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, to create the type of images I was expected to, and to get as many ‘likes’ as I possibly could. What’s crazy is that I even have this magical number in my head that if I don’t hit it within the first hour of my posting, then it’s not a good image. I just couldn’t deal with it anymore and decided to delete instagram from my phone and take a little “instabreak”. I don’t know how long it’s going to last but I already feel like some pressure has been taken off.
As an artist, I shouldn’t be so concerned with what other people think of my work. I should be concerned if I like the work. I should worry about if the image I created is a true representation of who I am as an artist and if it conveys the thoughts or emotions that I want said.
I don’t know. Those are just my quick thoughts about being an artist on social media now. Please let me know if I’m not the only crazy and if you feel the same way as well. I’ll be back on instagram eventually. Probably within the next week because I still love it for artistic inspiration and I’ve made some amazing friends from the app. I just need to take a little bit of time for myself. I’ll still be out there taking pics even if I’m not posting on instagram… I’ll be posting them on twitter now instead. LOL. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!!! I took this one this morning at the Iwo Jima Memorial 🙂 JK I love taking pictures and sharing them with everyone. I just felt like I was putting too much pressure on myself and don’t feel the same pressure from facebook, twitter, etc…
Other thoughts that passed through my head yesterday were not being my true self on the internet vs. real life and the need for everything to be perfect in my images before posting them. If you’re interested, let me know and I can write another long ass blog post about those topics and hopefully start a discussion.
Hey Hey Hey! Guess what today is?! It’s my birthday! Virgo baby! I’d be lying if I said I was one of those people who don’t make a big deal out of their birthdays because I DO! I love my birthday. What other time do you get to publicly declare how awesome you are without getting weird looks? Plus theres birthday cake. And I love birthday cake. Especially on a Tuesday. With extra frosting. And ice cream on the side 🙂 Hopefully there will be some french fries today too.
I’m also really proud of the fact that today is Michael Jackson’s birthday as well. Birthday twins! RIP. Two creative geniuses born on the same day. HAHA JK about me being a creative genius. See, I can say stuff like that because today is my birthday 🙂
Anyways… I took this shot a couple of years ago after a summer storm in the DC area. It was a crazy evening because the storm ended right around sunset. I wasn’t expecting much because I thought the sunset wouldn’t have had time to shine through but then the rainbow popped up. We were there just in time. The glow from the sun and the clouds made this an even more incredible scene. I just love the red/orangey hues contrasted with the blue skies. I feel lucky that I was able to even witness it, let alone photograph it. I just remember being really, really happy when it was all over. Just a few minutes later the storm clouds kept rolling in and another storm was hit the Marine Corps Memorial . I got wet but it was totally worth it. Nothing makes me happier than to see colorful skies like this.
My camera settings for this image was F/22 at 1 second ISO 64 on a tripod.
I remember shooting this last year. I was driving home from shooting the storm at the Washington Monument and was a little disappointed with how my pictures came out. There wasn’t one that I was extremely happy with or excited to work on but the rain had cut my photoshoot short. Sometimes it happens even on the worst weather days. And then as soon as I got to my car and start driving, the rain stopped. So I started filtering all the places I could go shoot on my way home when finally I realized the US Marine Corps War Memorial was perfect!
I drove up to the memorial and NO ONE was there. It was amazing! Usually there are bus loads of people here. But the rain must of scared them all away. So taking all the liberties I could, I parked my car right in front of the memorial. Yes, right along the drive path. Whatevs- no one was there anyways. I was only going to be there for 10 minutes tops. I didn’t even close my driver side door because I was so excited by the clouds. So I started shooting, shooting, shooting. No tripod, all hand held. The storm clouds were so dramatic and amazing. I was so grateful for this little break in the rain. My favorite part is seeing that little reflection of Iwo Jima in the puddle. I had to squat down real low for this one which also helped in making the storm clouds look even bigger.
My camera settings for this image was F5.6 at 1/15th of a second at ISO 640. Shooting handheld with such dark, dramatic skies, you have to put your ISO high to avoid any kind of motion blur. I also bracketed these shots so I could later choose which one turned out the best.