So the story behind these heads is that they were originally apart of a Williamsburg attraction called President’s Park. It started in the early 2000s and these busts were in an open-air museum type thing for people to pay to see. Unfortunately, people did not want to pay to see it so in 2010, the park closed and the heads were left to be trashed.
A man named Howard Hankins happened to help build the park but also did not want to see the busts go to waste. He bid and won them at an auction and ended up moving them to his property. I don’t think he had any real plans for them, he just didn’t want to see them destroyed. So they’re basically just sitting on his property and this is what they look like after sitting around for 9 years without any maintenance.
It’s pretty cool to see how decayed they are. I mean the details on some of these heads were incredible. I wanted to add an image here to give you a sense of scale and to sort of see how they are laid out. To the right of the image is my friend, Zack taking pictures of one of the presidents. You can see how an average height person comes to almost the shoulder of the presidents.
Most of them are lined up in rows like this. There were 3 long rows, a few shorter rows and even fewer that just stood out. Please don’t ask me to name all of them because I definitely can’t. LOL. But I was surprised to see President Clinton and both of the Bushs’.
My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
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.
This image of the Lincoln Memorial was taken first and I was so surprised when I saw it on the LCD screen. I was walking towards the reflecting pool when I thought it may be cool to see some grass blades as tall as the Lincoln Memorial. So I put my camera on the ground, tilted it a little bit up and this is what I came out with.
What I didn’t realize was all the morning dew that would turn into these cool little bokeh textures in the grass and somehow turned this image to look magical. In order to capture it, I had to focus the image on just Lincoln Memorial. It’s a shame I almost forgot about it. To be honest, I was more excited about the duck capture than this one on the day I captured them. But I love the way that this image turned out. I also love that little hint of purple coming, which you can really see in the duck image.
Just goes to show you never know what you’ll find unless you try 🙂
My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1.6 sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
If you’re looking for the best spots to watch and photograph the sun setting in Washington DC, you’ve come to the right place.
The National Mall can get crowded, overwhelming and confusing. I’m here to help you navigate the park so you can get your best shots quickly and efficiently.
I’ve lived in the area my whole life and been photographing the National Mall for over 8 years. I’ve pretty much been to every one of these places at least 20 times. So here’s my complete list of the best to watch the sunset in Washington DC:
But First, Here’s What You Need to Get Ready for Your Sunset Shoot
Because of the number of people that visit the National Mall every day, sunset is a little more difficult to navigate than sunrise. There are far more people, we’re talking busloads of people, so be prepared. That means if this is your first time in Washington DC, I’d highly suggest public transportation either by metro, Lyft or even an electric scooter! All are very convenient ways to get you around the Nation’s Capital.
Also with the number of people, I’d even say try to get to your sunset location earlier than you think you should. Who knows what kind of hang-ups you could possibly run into. If it were a cold winter day, I say you could get by with going 30 minutes early. On a beautiful summer day, I’d go as far as saying an hour before sunset would not be a bad idea.
And my number one most asked question, are tripods allowed? For the most part, yes, but you may run into some complications. If you’re in a densely crowded area like World War II Memorial or Lincoln Memorial, you will probably be asked to take it down immediately by Park Police. They can be a walking hazard and just get in the way of people. But if you’re in a more spread out area like the Washington Monument grounds or even the Tidal Basin, there is a little more elbow room so you could get away with it.
The United States Capitol is unique because it’s technically not a part of the National Mall. The last time I spoke to Capitol police they said tripods are allowed. Since then, other photographer friends have told me that the Capitol police asked them to take down their tripods. So I’m still pretty if-y if they are actually allowed. I tend to just bring my tripod to the Capitol and if I’m asked to put it away, I do so politely.
Now on to The Top 5 Sunset Locations in Washington DC:
The Washington Monument is Always a Good Idea
The Washington Monument is so iconically Washington DC and the tallest structure in the city. So because of that, there is no best time to photograph it. It can be seen from so many different vantage points around the city that the possibilities are endless. However, if you catch it at the right time, it can glow orange. It’s absolutely amazing if you see it.
In order to capture the glow, I’d recommend getting to your sunset location early and face east towards the Monument. I would suggest standing either in front of the World War II memorial or along the grassy area in front of the west side of the monument and maybe 30-40 minutes ahead of sunset will work. I think the closer you are to the monument the better the imagery. But the key is to be patient. The way that the sun reflects off of clouds and on to the monument to glow doesn’t happen every day but if you see it, it will make your travel images very unique.
Before leaving to Chicago, I had no idea there were so many alleyways in the city. Now that I think about it, it makes sense though. Just never really thought about alleys. So this one time when Andrew and I were on our way to a photo location (I don’t remember exactly which one but it’s safe to say it was a parking garage), google maps actually lead us through this one as the fastest way to get to our final destination. It seemed a little sketch with the smell of super greasy food, what it looked like people taking a cigarette break in the alley, and just an overall darkness hanging above us but other than all that I saw no reason not to walk through. LOL.
So we did.
Then I saw this puddle and probably spent a good 5 minutes just standing in front of it. I was trying to find a good reflection and then patiently waited for someone to walk past. I think the smell was starting to get to me and I was tempted to just ask Andrew to walk past a few times but then at the moment I was about to give up, two people actually walked past. You can see the second person a little bit closer to the wall on the right hand side.
Because I didn’t want that second person to be so visible and I thought this image would lend itself so well to it, I decided to convert it to black and white. In the end, it was just more interesting to just reduce it down to its lines and shapes and really bringing the attention to the person in the middle and the reflection. I love the way that it turned out. It actually kinda makes me want to go back to some older images and looking at them in black and white. It’s seriously a whole totally different point of view.
My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/125th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.
I just got back from my second trip to Chicago but my first real time visiting with a camera in my hand. I booked this trip with the intention to scout out photo locations for our upcoming photo workshop in Chicago. I wanted to get a feel for the city and the logicistics of getting around. So if you’re interested in joining me for a week in Chicago, click here.
In general, I loved visiting the city. Compared to New York City or even Washington DC, it’s a lot quieter as far as car noises and even people walking around. It’s so photogenic, meaning everywhere you turned could be a great new image. With the so many different elevated views, it was difficult to take a bad picture. I especially liked being among the skyscrapers. Even during the middle of the day, you can find some very interesting shadow play. Overall you can’t go wrong with a photo adventure in Chicago – even if it’s just for a few days.
Side note, they don’t call it the “windy city’ for nothing. Even on a nice, sunshining day, it can get really cold with the wind. I highly suggest packing at least gloves and a hat in your camera bag for those just in case moments. You don’t want to let being too cold be the reason why you don’t capture your shot. I was there at the very end of March and I wore my gloves everyday.
So we had a good 72 hours in Chicago packed full of photography. Here’s what we did: