Thank you to my friend, Frithjov who told me about this location. He actually told me about it years ago and I have always kept it in the back of my mind to go and try to find some reflective puddles. But now that the fencing around the Washington Monument is down, I thought that Sunday was the perfect opportunity to go back and check it out. Also, I saw him while I was parking my car earlier in the morning which was probably another memory trigger to go back to the Sylvan Theater. LOL.
So after we were done capturing images at the Lincoln Memorial, Jarrett and I made our way over to the Washington Monument. It was such a beautiful morning with fast-moving clouds. I felt like I captured so many different images on our little walk but this one was probably my favorite. I love seeing the perfect circle the American flags created around the Washington Monument plus the tiny person even reflected a little in the puddle couldn’t be more ideal.
My camera settings for this image are F7.1 at 1/200th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
Since the new year has started, I’ve been trying to go out with my camera as much as I can. I’m not sure what kicked my butt into high gear like this, but I’m grateful to live in a place where I can never get tired of exploring and documenting. In the past two weeks, I may have visited the Lincoln Memorial at least 5 times. Each time is different and I am still not tired of it.
But over the weekend, we had surprisingly beautiful weather. For the middle of January, I will take temps in the high 60s any day! So I was even more excited to be out with my camera. On Sunday morning, as I was walking towards the Lincoln Memorial, I got a text from my friend, Jarrett asking if I was out shooting. He had already been there for a while so he had already scoped out the scene. The rain we got Saturday evening left a huge puddle inside the Lincoln Memorial. After catching up a bit, Jarrett took me inside and my mind was blown by how clear and reflective the puddle was. I took a few shots and then had to ask Jarrett to step in for a few.
My camera settings for this image are F4 at 1/4th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.
This image was taken on the same day as this one. When I first arrived at the reflecting pool about 45 minutes before sunrise, I saw that the World War II memorial was beautifully lit with the fountain flowing. So I got busy trying to capture the image I had imagined in my head. After 10 minutes of being there, the fountains turned off at the World War II memorial. It was unfortunate because the image I had imagined had to do with the fountains. So I shifted my focus on photographing the Atlantic side of the memorial. But then I didn’t even notice that the Pacific side was glowing with color! It was one of those mornings when I seemed to be a little off with everything but oh well. I was glad I went out either way.
So when I finally noticed the color, I ran with my tripod inside the memorial. You may see that I caught a little bit of the remaining color, but it was pretty much gone by the time I set my camera back up. Either way, I still think the reflection turned out so nice and crisp.
I should look up the fountain schedule thou. It was so weird that they turned it off at sunrise. I wonder when they turn it back on?
My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/16th sec and ISO 1000 with my Sony A7II and 35mm prime lens.
I’ve had this one particular image in my mind for the past week but it’s not this. I sort of, kind of captured it yesterday morning with this image, but it didn’t turn out exactly like how I wanted. So you may be seeing more of of the World War II Memorial in the near future until I get it right 🙂
But for now, I like the way this turned out.
It was a cold morning with no wind. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool water was so still, it looked like a mirror. I really love how reflective it was, especially in the trees. They look so tall and sort of spooky, but I think it works because they bring the attention down to the memorial and the bicyclist riding by.
My camera settings for this image are F5 at 1/200th sec and ISO 4000 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.
Now today I feel like it is the first official day of the new year. LOL, right?
I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier, but I had to get my camera repaired when I got back from Florida last month. My camera got too wet in Taiwan and started malfunctioning a bit but I didn’t want to be without it in Destin, FL. So when I got back, I sent it out for a little TLC to make sure everything would run smoothly.
I was away from my camera for a few weeks and by the end of December, I was really missing it. When I finally got it back in the mail, I couldn’t wait to start shooting again so I woke up for the sunrise the very next day. I think I was just so eager to get back out there, that I ended up getting the very first parking spot on Parkway Drive. It’s a great spot to park if you’re ever headed to the Lincoln Memorial or Reflecting Pool.
So as I was paying for my parking, I noticed the reflections of the memorial in my car. I think it turned out pretty cool but an unexpected surprise is a glow on the rumble strips on the street. I really like how that turned out.
My camera settings for this image are F5.6 at 2 seconds and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 35mm.
One of my favorite things to do before the New Year is to go back and look through all my images from the past year. It’s fun to reminisce on all the memories and it’s a great way to see how much I’ve grown as a person and photographer. It’s funny how looking back at some of these images can bring back so many memories. In general, I feel like I share a lot when I’m posting a new image every single weekday on this blog so there’s bound to be some images that I connect with more than others. So without any social media influence or outside judgment, here are my personal favorite images I created in 2019.
Something that I found interesting is that the images that are my favorite from this past year aren’t your stereotypical Washington DC monument images. Yes, they may have some of the monuments and landmarks included in the image, but I love how unique and creative these images are. So I’m pretty sure you should expect to see even more of these types of images in 2020!
P.S. You can click on each image to read the original blog post but I’ll try to add some additional light on these images now that I’ve sat on them for a while. So in no particular order except chronological, here are my favorite Washington DC images of 2019.
Ok, the first image on the list and I’ve already cheated. LOL. This image was actually taken in 2018, but I didn’t get a chance to post it until 2019. Regardless, I love this image. It’s just so simple but my favorite part is the Washington Monument reflection down the middle. It’s not super obvious, but this was taken just after the sun had risen a bit and it was hitting the Monument at the right spot to make it glow orange in the US Capitol Reflecting Pool. I just love how subtle reflection is. The water also kind of reminds me of a Mary Cassatt painting. Just an impression of water with tiny brush strokes.
Besides the cherry blossoms, I always look forward to the magnolias trees in the Washington DC area. My favorite of the bunch can be found behind the Smithsonian Castle in the Smithsonian Gardens on the National Mall. On this particular morning, I was with my friend, Birch while out shooting and I remember telling her about my upcoming road trip to Austin. She had been there before so she was giving me advice on what to do there. See, isn’t that crazy? I remember all those details from just this one single image? HAHA.
I’ve never captured an image like this, but I’m in love. I think this may be my favorite cherry blossom image I captured all season. It’s the one that always comes to mind whenever I think of this spring and I just think it’s so unique. It’s also the fact that when the cherry blossoms flowers start falling off the trees, they fall so delicately and so beautifully that it’s actually pretty hard to capture. Especially when you’re doing it organically as opposed to staging a photo. But this image is of cherry blossom petals falling times 100. LOL. I didn’t pose this image but I did have some assistance. National Park Service was actually cleaning up all the fallen petals from the ground near the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial by using a leaf blower. So as they were trying to gather all of the petals in a pile, I was ready with my camera to capture them as they were flying in the air.
On one of the last days of the cherry blossoms, we had rain. Rain or wind are usually the two deadliest elements for cherry blossoms so I knew this would probably be the end of them for the year. As I was walking around the Tidal Basin, I was noticing some petals that had already fallen onto the ground and in the water. So I captured this image almost by accident. I had left my camera settings the same as the previous image, but looking down onto the water was a little darker than it was photographing them in the trees. So by accident, this was sort of like a long exposure. Whatever the case, I love the way it turned out. The motion in this image is so interesting to me and I love how you can still make out the shape of the flower petals. SWOOSH.
I’m starting to notice a flower theme I’ve got going on here. HAHA. But this is an image that I did not expect to find. I woke up early one summer morning so I could catch the sunrise at the US Capitol. I love just walking around with my earphones in, listening to music and watching the sunrise however the sunrise itself didn’t end up being that spectacular. So I decided to just take advantage of the early morning hour and empty Capitol grounds with my camera and walked around. I’ve noticed these rose bushes bloom every year and I’ve always tried to come up with a creative composition with them before but never really found one that I really liked until this one. I love how they are engulfing the Capitol building and all that is left is the dome in the middle of the image. I feel like this looks like a greeting card for Washington DC. LOL.
This technically was not photographed in the city of Washington DC, but I added it to the list anyways. This was taken in Potomac, Maryland, a little less than an hour away from Washington DC but it’s one of my favorite places to be in the summer because of all the sunflower fields! It was captured during an Instagram meet up with IGDC. My friend, Birch and I decided to go in the middle of the sunflower field to see if we could find something interesting. With a step ladder, we took turns climbing to see if there was a unique point of view but while I was on the ground, I found this framing. I just love how the top flower petals look larger than life. Or larger than a Birch! HAHA.
For a unique view of the US Capitol, consider visiting Union Station. The top level of the parking garage is usually pretty quiet, especially if you’re there early in the morning. I don’t know why, but I’m usually just standing by the ledge you see in this image. When you look down you can get a cool shot of taxis and pedestrians walking to the train station, but this day I decided to take a step back. Not sure what compelled me to do it. I think I was just looking for a different view, but then I saw how all these light posts lined up and thought it looked very interesting. This parking garage is so quiet that I actually had to wait a bit for someone to walk by. But when he did, I was ready for him.
One of the best things to happen in 2019 was in September when the Washington Monument had finally reopened. After 3 long years, visitors can finally go to the top and see the city from a whole new point of view. I could have added a whole bunch of images you would see from the windows of the Monument, but I really liked how this one turned out. Just a moment of silence and contemplation as a couple as they look out on the view. If I remember correctly, they were facing north towards the White House at sunset.
Like I always say, “More Rooftops, More Better”. And the Smithsonian National Museum of American History listened. Soon after the Washington Monument reopening, the American History museum followed by opening its doors to the rooftop. Unfortunately, it not opened to the public, just for private events, but based on where it’s located on the National Mall, this rooftop will provide some amazing views of the city. I mean, could you imagine getting married with a view like this? This image is of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. I just love the rigid lines of the architecture with the curves on the sidewalk. It’s such a contrast that I think really works for this image. Plus that sunset glow makes it even better. So if you’re planning on hosting an event here, I’d love the opportunity to go back here again! *hint, hint*
And last but not least, this image I posted last week on the blog. LOL. I still find it hard to believe that I didn’t know I captured this but not really all at the same time. When I’m out photographing lightning, I’m usually shooting off my images so fast that I don’t really get the chance to review them in between shots. So there could be many more lightning images that I’ve missed. I’ll have to go through my archives more carefully. Not only do I love the way the lightning strike turned out, I think the clouds behind the Capitol look so powerful. It looks like a storm that I should have stayed indoors for but glad I didn’t.
So there it is! My favorite images from 2019. I can’t believe that actually ended up being 10 images. I didn’t plan for it to be that way but it’s pretty cool that it did. I had a lot of fun creating these images and this list. It makes me excited to get back out there and photograph even more in 2020. Let me know what you think of this list and if you have any favorites. I’d love to see them.
And if you live in the Washington DC area or find yourself traveling to the capital city, check out my book, Snap DC, Your Guide to Taking Extraordinary Photos of the National Mall and Beyond… It was created for any level of photographer from mobile to DSLR, who wants to cut down the research time and spend their time out doing what they love- shooting.