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.
I was in a photo editing mood so I went back to earlier this year and found some images from San Diego, California that I’ve never looked at. Somehow I ended up editing all sunset images. I suppose sunsets are a bit better on the west coast than sunrises. LOL
How cool would it be to be on one of those at sunset? I bet the view must be amazing. Perfect for a little GoPro video.
I love how simple this image turned out. I think my favorite part is that you can see a little peek of the sun as it’s going down behind the clouds but I purposely left a little bit of the ground showing in the image just to give it some context. Also, that may or may not be a ship in the background.
From the top of Altaire’s rooftop in Crystal City, Virginia is one of the best views of the Washington DC memorials I had ever seen. It’s rare to get such an elevated, unobstructed view. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it took my breath away.
This image was taken as the sunset was starting to burn. I totally wasn’t expecting it because I didn’t think the clouds looked like the right “sunset clouds” but it was definitely a welcomed surprise! So I quickly tried to set up my shot while looking at the United States Air Force Memorial. It wasn’t quite working out since I had focused mainly on the memorial and the beautiful red sky wasn’t showing in the image. So I took a few steps back so I could at least get a little bit of the color. I loved the way this turned out. I love how the red in the sky matches the red in the back brake lights of the cars. I think if I had to do it all over again, I would make the exposure just a little bit longer so the cars in the foreground were a little bit more blurred but I think that’s just me being nitpicky. Other than that, I think this turned out to be very cool.
Gotta love those summer sunsets 🙂
My camera settings for this image is F13 at 0.3 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 100-400mm
We arrived at the rooftop about 30 minutes before sunset. It turned out to be an amazing sunset which I’ll share more images from later, but what I was really looking forward to was the night time views. I knew that once the city lit up a bit, the car trails were going to be so fun to capture. In particular, the ones leading straight to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. The road looks like it’s driving right into it.
I had never seen a view like this before. I only wish the other side of 395 going towards the city wasn’t blocked off so there can be red lights going on on the other side. Oh well.
But I purposely made my shutter time a little bit shorter. I envisioned little streaks of light rather than the long drag. Sometimes I think those lines can be distracting from the total image. I personally think these shorter lines are more interesting because you can see exactly how many cars are actually in the image without a lot of chaos. Just personal preference I guess.
My camera settings for this image is F5.6 and 0.8 seconds with my Sony A7II and 100-400mm ultra zoom lens. Thanks again to my friend, Larry who let me borrow his lens for this shot. The compression is unreal at 400mm! This was shot at 376mm.
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.
This image was taken at sunset in Point Loma. It’s a great place to go to capture the San Diego skyline but what I liked most about this image is that single sailboat just floating by. I tried my best to capture it so it wasn’t hidden behind any palm trees or anything. I wanted it to be seen with so many other sailboats just parked in the harbor. Plus the sunset was just right to add a little bit of pink in the water.
Major shoutouts to Frankie Foto. I’ve never met Frankie in real life but anytime I have any questions about what and where to capture images in San Diego, Frankie’s blog has been an amazing resource. If you ever plan on visiting Southern California, I would definitely recommend reading his blog first.
I’ve also created a blog post about my favorite photo spots in San Diego in case you were interested in checking that out too 🙂 I plan on updating this post every time I visit as I get to know the area better and better.
My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/400th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.