Martin Luther King Jr Memorial

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So after all the color burned off, I was walking back to my car when I noticed that the Martin Luther King Jr memorial was looking especially glow-y. I kind of have this habit of not putting my camera away right away but it’s for moments like this. I thought I was done shooting for the morning but realized that the sun had risen enough that it was casting it’s early morning light on the memorial making it an orange-yellow color. I love when that happens. I tried several different angles but loved this one when I walked to the side to find the Washington Monument and the Martin Luther King Jr memorial lineup with each other. I intentionally photographed this making it look like the two memorials were touching.

In other news, it’s only Tuesday and I’m already looking forward to the weekend. Andrew and I will be visiting New York for a quick birthday getaway. His birthday, not mine. It seems like we take trips to New York several times a year but this year has been so crazy that this is going to be my first time all year. I love that city and really looking forward to just walking around, taking pics and eating delicious food. If you have any NYC recommendations, let me know! We always try to do different things each trip so any tips would be extremely helpful.

Andrew did say that we can go to B&H though. I can’t wait. For some reason I’ve never been but I always had the impression that they aren’t open on the weekends. Since we usually just go for the weekends I never even bothered. Turns out they’re just not opened on Saturdays, so guess what we’re doing Sunday ๐Ÿ™‚

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm handheld.

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Last week was a stunner. There were so many great sunrises and sunsets. I was able to capture some but not all. This particular sunrise colors didn’t last too long but when they were out, they were out in full force and so vibrant. It totally makes waking up early worth it but that part it isn’t too bad now that it’s winter. It’s a little bit after 7a which makes it pretty manageable. The difficult part about winter sunrises is the cold. I’m definietly bundled up and walking around like the michelin tire man.

I decided to go to the Tidal Basin because it’s been a little while since I’ve watched the sun rise from there. This is pretty close to the Martin Luther King Jr memorial along the tidal basin andย one of my favorite spots for sunrise that I mention in this post. I met up with my friend, Larry and we spent the morning just catching up and snapping pics. It was great.

Lately whenever I go out, I carry just two lenses with me. The 70-200mm and the 16-35mm but have been favoring the 70-200mm even more. There have been times when I don’t even switch between the two lenses and only use the 70-200mm. I love it. Capturing this scene with the 16-35mm wide angle would have made the Jefferson Memorial look so small and since the color didn’t fill the whole sky, being able to zoom in to a tighter frame gives the impression of more color than there actually was.

So whenever someone asks me what camera equipment they should get, I always say that it’s really about the lens you use. It can totally change your perception of a scene and make you see things differently. Just something to think about in case you’re in the market ๐Ÿ™‚

My camera settings for this image is F9 and 1/25th sec at ISO 320 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

 

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I know I just talked about this on my last blog post, but I’m still not over it. The difference between now and then was that I was able to actually go see the Martin Luther King Jr memorial print in person! Shout out to Shane who runs the social media for BWI and who arranged and escorted me to the different terminals and even outside to see the hanging. It was so cool to see it from all different perspectives. While walking through the terminals all I could think about was how all the people around me were able to see my work. It was the coolest thing ever.

The image above was from outside. Honestly, I thought I was going to have to wear the ear muffs and bright vest that you see everyone else wearing and was a little disappointed that I didn’t have to. LOL. Oh well, this probably came out a lot better that I didn’t have it. But you can see the size difference between me and the print. I mean that thing is big!

The print is hanging outside of Terminal C which is American Airlines but if you go to Terminal B, Southwest, you get a very nice view of the print. This was taken in a little food court area. I’m not sure if this guy is actually looking at the art but I wanted to capture some images of people looking like they were ๐Ÿ™‚

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And this last image was taken in the observatory. It’s a direct view of the image and I could not be any prouder.

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Also seeing a little behind the scenes of the airport was fun too. I love airports. It’s always so exciting going to one because you know an adventure is right around the corner.

Thanks again BWI airport for selecting my image and for Shane who showed me around the airport. Now I’ll be even more tempted to fly out of BWI for my future travels ๐Ÿ™‚

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Happy Friday! I have more good news ๐Ÿ™‚ Remember this image from 2012? Probably not, but it was one of the first images I ever created of the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial in Washington DC. I remember when the memorial opened in August of 2011 at the Tidal Basin. Everyone was talking about it and it was just so exciting to go see. If I remember correctly, this image was taken at sunset. It’s hard to believe since there’s no one around. I just think that it was such a new memorial, not many tours were visiting it yet plus I remember it being pretty chilly while I was capturing it. So those two factors probably had a big role as to why it was so empty in the evening. If you go now in the evening, it would be nearly impossible to get a shot like this, no matter what the weather.

Well, fast forward 6 years later and this image is now hanging on the outside of the BWI Airport! AHHHH I haven’t been able to see it, mostly because it’s in the terminal and I would need an airplane ticket to go inside but it’s 22′ wide x 14.8′ tall. I heard it can be viewed from B Pier so if anyone is headed that way for holiday travel, please take a picture. I would love to see what it looks like in the day time.

Here’s an image that I received from the contractors who put it up.

BWI isn’t the usual airport I fly out of just because it’s further away from where I live, but I think I can make an exception for my next trip ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s one more view:

My camera settings for the original image is F8 at 0.3sec with ISO 320 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 24-105mm lens on a tripod.

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If you asked me my favorite time of day to photograph Washington DC, it has to be sunrise. Hands down, no questions asked, absolutely the best. Yes, the early wake up time can be a little brutal especially in the long summer months but it is so worth it. I love the alignment of where the sun rises among the monuments as opposed to where it sets from. It gives off this amazing warm glow on the memorials that’s hard to get at sunset. Plus there is this overwhelming feeling of peace and calm in a city that’s usually hustling and bustling during the day. At sunrise you’re more likely to get images with no one in them while at sunset it’s nearly impossible.

Whether you’re traveling or live within the DC Metro area, I highly recommend you try to make your way down to the National Mall early in the morning at least once. I typically try to arrive at my sunrise location about 30 minutes before the sun rises. That way you will see all the great predawn colors in the sky. Dress according to the weather and grab a coffee, you won’t regret it.

For the serious photographers out there, you may be wondering about tripods. For the most part they are not allowed. However if you’re photographing sunrise and there is no one else around, you could probably get away with it. I think the biggest concern is when the memorials are crowded and other people may trip over the legs. Out of all the times I’ve been out for sunrise (trust me it’s way more than I can count), I have been asked to put it away once while I was at the Lincoln Memorial. All other times other than sunrise at any of the memorials, it’s pretty much out of the question.

The United States Capitol is slightly different. Technically, it’s not the National Mall so the same rules don’t apply as they do at the memorials. There is way more security there and I’ve heard conflicting rules about tripods. The last time I spoke to a Capitol Policeman about it, he said they are allowed.ย However since then I’ve heard of photographer friends being asked to put it away. It seems like there is no right or wrong answer there so I would take your tripod if you want and just be respectful when photographing the grounds.

One last thing to note, I wrote a book all about photographing Washington DC. It’s called Snap DC: Your Guide to taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… and it is available on Amazon. So if you are interested in seeing more of Washington DC than just the sunrise, click here to check it out.ย  As an added bonus I created a 1, 3, and 5 day sample photo itinerary for your trip to Washington DC, click here to download my ideal schedule.

Now on to that sunrise…

The Lincoln Memorial

In my opinion, this is the ultimate sunrise location in Washington DC.ย  It’s the most iconic and it is the place that I tell everyone they must go if they have never been to the national mall and especially at sunrise. It’s the center of 4 great landmarks all within a central area. A one stop shop if you will.

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Whether it is sunrise or sunset, I have a group of places I usually default to depending on the time of day. The Martin Luther King Jr memorial is not my usual sunset spot. Actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever taken a photograph here at any other time of day besides sunrise. The only reason being is that I know it gets packed with tour buses as the day goes on and I try my best to avoid that.

So a few weeks ago I got commissioned to take some pictures of the memorial. I was waiting for a cloudy day because I knew the sky would take up most of the image. The previous days had been too cloudy though. So cloudy to the point where it almost looked like a cloudless sky because there were no details in the clouds at all. Just straight up grey. Until finally I was driving around, running some errands when the sky started to open up. I knew that sunset would probably be my only chance of getting the image I wanted, so I took my chances and headed straight to the Tidal Basin.

I was correct in the fact that there were bus loads of people all around the memorial. But I was also correct in the fact that the sky was going to be amazing that day! This was not the image I was commissioned for, but to be honest, I think this one is better! I love the way the way the colors in the sky are casted in the clouds. Maybe I should add the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial to my sunset list instead of sunrise. LOL, what do you think?

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/200th of a second at ISO 800 (handheld) with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.