We had a couple of thunderstorm warnings last week but for some reason, none of them really came to be. I’m still on the hunt to capture a lightning strike this summer so I tried my best to get out there to try to capture the weather. But when the actual rain didn’t happen, I was fortunate enough to still be able to at least capture this beautiful sunset.
I love how the colors in the sky are in line with the trees and it just looks like a band of color stretched across the entire image. I will be honest and say that I got rid of some of the people on the left-hand side. Just one small group of people because they were wearing really bright clothes and it was distracting to see them in the dark trees. I wanted to make sure that the focus was entirely on the Lincoln Memorial and the amazing sunset.
Hopefully, the storm warnings we have this week will actually come to be.
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My camera settings for this image is F16 at 1/4th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
I even remember capturing it. It was the day I was going to go to the Hamilton show at the Kennedy Center and I was pumped. I was so excited about the show just because I had heard so many great things about it. Let me tell you it met all my expectations. I even remember being the only person out capturing this sunrise (besides a few random joggers) so I was able to blast the show’s soundtrack from my iPhone. I forgot my headphones that day so you gotta do what you gotta do.
The sky literally exploded in front of my eyes and I was having so much fun capturing it. In order to get the most out of the reflection, I got down really close to the water. I love how you can see the little bubbles on top. I think it adds an interesting texture to the image.
My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/60th sec and ISO 320 with my Canon 5D Mark II and 17-40mm wide-angle lens.
Andrew had made plans to meet up with one of our friends for dinner and asked if I wanted to join them. I distinctly remember saying, “only if we can go shoot sunset first and then meet up with Sean.” He agreed and we ended up bringing our cousin, Vincent, and the cuddle pup, Frankie along. Since they were going to meet up in the Ocean Beach area, we ended up waiting for sunset around the pier.
All of a sudden the sky exploded! I don’t think any of us were expecting all this color and it was amazing. I remember trying to get more water in the foreground by getting close to the sand but since I wasn’t expecting this awesome sunset, I, unfortunately, did not bring my tripod. Some of those shots turned out well but it was this one that really caught my attention. Sometimes the best shots are when you take a step back.
Seriously, everyone on the beach and pier just stopped. It was like someone hit the pause button cuz everyone was just staring at the sky. This guy on the pier was no exception. I do remember there being a lot more people on the pier, but I tried to zoom in and crop the image so there was just that single silhouette.
My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.
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.
We’ve been having a lot of stormy weather lately in the Washington DC area. It seems like almost every day I’ve been getting warnings on my phone about rain or thunderstorms. I’m not complaining though because it feels great to break up some of the hot, humid summer days. But with all these rainy days, I’m always thinking about the water levels at the Tidal Basin and how bad the flood walls need to be repaired.
Even though I took this image last summer, it reminds me of what it’s probably been like at the Tidal Basin right now. It’s pretty ridiculous to see how much the Tidal Basin gets flooded, even on a day that doesn’t rain that much. To be honest, this particular day was the worst I’ve ever seen it. The sidewalks are flooded and it has become un-walkable. At some point, I had to walk up the slight hill, up to the sidewalk in order to get around trees and the flooding in order to walk along the Tidal Basin. It’s crazy!
On our way back from the beach and walking towards our room, I was completely distracted by the newly renovated swimming pool at Club Med. It is now above ground so it feels like an infinity pool and when no one is in it, the reflections are absolutely gorgeous. This image makes me want to jump in, but we actually didn’t spend any time at the pool. Andrew’s way more of a beach person but when I travel with my girlfriends, I feel like we’re at the pool 90% of the time. I’m ok with either. As long as there’s some sort of body of water, I’m all good.
If you find yourself traveling to Grace Bay, I highly recommend spending your time chasing the sunset because of where you are located on the island. It sets right in front of you making it difficult to take a bad image. The sun rises on the other side and with all my experience there, your time is probably better spent in bed then waking up super early.
My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/60th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.