It’s been a while since I’ve photographed the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. Sometimes the fountains aren’t on in the mornings and in the evening, it can get really packed with visitors. And especially on hot days, people like to soak their feet in the water. So for a while, I just pretty much skipped the entire memorial and went straight for the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial.
But I’m glad I went back!
I was out with my friend, Birch just walking around and talking when she asked if we could stop by the memorial. There had been a shot that she’s been wanting to get but never was able to. Of course, I said yes, so while she was trying to get her shot, I sat down on the steps to capture this one. I loved how the fountains looked like they were right by the Lincoln Memorial but I loved the silhouettes the Lincoln Memorial was helping to create. So I just sat there waiting for the precise moment to capture somebody walking by without too many other people in the foreground. I like the way it came out because there are just so many different layers to look at. And especially if you’re familiar with this memorial, you know there’s at least a good 2,000 ft between the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.
My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/30th sec and ISO 4000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.
When we booked our hotel I knew the rooftop views were going to be epic, but I didn’t know how good they would be. Here was the view when you walked straight out onto the patio. As soon as we walked out there, my jaw dropped. I loved being able to see so much for the skyline but then I turned to the side and saw this. So cool right? A birds eye view of the Manhattan bridge.
After our first trip to the rooftop, Andrew and I decided to just walk around the city and get some food to eat and run a few errands. We found ourselves all the way up midtown and was shocked by how many people we saw. Somehow we ended up really close to Rockefeller center and literally stood in the same spot for like 10 minutes because there were just so many people. There was no flow of traffic and we were just stuck. Even with police there, no one was moving. It was kind of insane but the best part was this guy in front of me who screamed “ok, who just slapped my ass”. LOL.
Needless to say once we got back to the hotel, we were tired. But I wanted to go back up to the rooftop one more time. I really didn’t want to. The bed was calling my name, but I knew that it was the only opportunity I was going to get.
It was a little awkward walking back to the rooftop. By that time, it was basically a club with everyone all dressed up. I was still in my sneakers and winter coat. Oh well. Anything for the shot, right?
The story behind this image is a long one. So here it goes… and it’s slightly embarrassing.
So I visited the View of DC for the first time on Tuesday, Dec 4th. I thought the view was really cool but I was most excited to be there at sunset/night time because I have been loving the Kennedy Center lights at night. Everytime around this year, the Kennedy Center honors the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture, so to help celebrate that have rainbow colored lights on the exterior of the building. Every other time of the year they are plain white. I’m really not sure how long they keep the rainbow lights on, but I know it’s not for long.
So night time falls and I was excited to go out to the balcony and capture the Kennedy Center from an elevated view. I captured a few images of the building but kept my lens moving to see if I could capture any other cool scenes. I captured this one and remember wondering where the lights were coming from. I really didn’t think much of it.
As soon as I got home, it hit me! It’s a reflection from the Kennedy Center! Had I known while I was still at the observation deck, I probably would have spent more time trying find different ways of capturing the reflection. I love how shooting through the glass made the rainbow colors exaggerated. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever but was disappointed that the image was slightly out of focus. I knew if I went back, I could capture an even better image. So I decided then and there that I was going to go back the next day and just spend time trying to capture the reflection.
Wednesday, December 5th. I arrived to the CEB building a little bit before sunset. I figured if I was going to be there anyways, I might as well as try to capture the good light one more time. The sunset was beautiful but cold. I went back inside after the light disappeared waiting for the sky to get darker so I could really see the Kennedy Center lights glow. 20 minutes later, the lights were still white. Why weren’t they rainbow? I CALLED THE KENNEDY CENTER TO ASK WHERE THE LIGHTS WERE. LOL. I think we figured out that the lights weren’t rainbow that evening in honor of President George HW Bush’s funeral earlier that day.
Ok, no problem. Lesson learned. Since the Kennedy Center won’t always turn on the rainbow lights and I wasn’t sure when they would turn them off permanently for the rest of the year, it’s best to make sure the lights turn on before going back to the observation deck.
Thursday, December 6th. I drive by the Kennedy Center right after sunset and the lights are on! YES! I made my way back to Rosslyn, VA and excited to capture the rainbow lights. Until I get to the lobby and find out that the observation deck was closed for a private event! OMG there was no notice of a private event on their website, social media or anything. I was so frustrated especially since sunset is around 5p now and that’s right in the middle of heavy traffic time. Each way to the CEB tower was at least 45min – 1 hr of sitting in traffic. I could have cried. But found out that the next day was going to be absolutely open to the public and I should be able to capture what I was hoping for.
Friday, December 7th. Again, drove by the Kennedy Center to make sure the lights were on and they were. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE DAY! And it finally was. I made my way to the observation deck and was so happy to see that I had it to myself. I spent almost 45 minutes using the glass around the observation deck as a way to capture the different reflections. I put my lens right up to the glass then pulled away. I stepped right and left, up and down to see how I could get it in different ways. This was by far my favorite.
Was all of this effort worth it? I’m not sure yet but I most definitely love the final result. It sort of reminds me of Ariana Grande’s new album cover which makes me even happier.
Told you that was a long story. Would you have gone through all of that to capture this one image?
My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/15th sec at ISo6400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm