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The Washington Monument is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. People from all around the world flock to the National Mall for the chance to see it in person. But who can blame them? It’s even more inspiring in person than it is in photographs. The centerpiece of the Washington DC skyline and the quintessential backdrop for cherry blossoms in the springtime and fireworks when it comes time to celebrate our independence. So if you are planning on visiting the Nation’s Capitol, here’s your guide to everything you need to know about visiting the Washington Monument:

washington monument, washington dc, sunset, evening, summer, american flags, nw, national park, national mall,

The Washington Monument at sunset

How to get there:

The Washington Monument is conveniently located in the heart of the National Mall.  There are several ways to get there but the official address is:

2 15th St NW
Washington, DC 20024

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After 3 years of repair work, the Washington Monument finally reopened. I was so excited to get back up there, I had only been once before – the last time it reopened. LOL.

So I heard a rumor that it was actually staying open until 9 pm the first week that it was opened. I had to jump on this opportunity as fast as I could because it will be difficult to get sunset views like that ever again. There’s a possibility that it could happen again in November when the sunset is closer to 5 pm (the regular closing time), but to be able to take my time and take images as I please, I wanted to get up there asap.

From now until October 15th, you will have to go in the morning to line up and get tickets at the Monument for the same day. After the 15th, it can be done online. But waking up early in the morning never stood in my way. I arrived around 6:45 am and I was about 20th in line. Luckily, you can request what time you want to go up and so I got it for 6:30 pm.

It was a cloudless day but the sun was still glowing all over the city. Obviously, I spent most of my time in the window facing east. I love this view of the WWII memorial with my long lens. It’s so interesting to see all the people and what they are doing… from above 🙂

My camera settings for this image are F10 at 1/40th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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I feel in love with Oregon. I loved every minute we were there. I felt so at peace and calm during our whole road trip across the state, I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s considering visiting the Pacific Northwest.

The real reason we went was to celebrate my birthday and to visit a place we had never been to. Portland was a city that both Andrew and I had heard was a fun place to be but never been. But we also knew it was the place to be if you like good food and weird things. Both did not disappoint!

Since this was our first time visiting Oregon, we didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve been back for less than a month, I already know of somethings that I would do differently. With that said, we will be back again. Both Andrew and I left with the feeling of wanting to see and do more. But I think that’s the sign of an amazing trip. Prior to the trip, I did tons of research on the Oregon coast on Pinterest and asked some friends who I knew had visited before. Through my research, I quickly realized that Oregon is a very dog-friendly state. Minus Crater Lake that doesn’t allow dogs in most areas of the park, Frankie was allowed everywhere else we wanted to go. So we booked 3 plane tickets off we went!

Here is a recap of everything we did and the things I would do differently next time:

Day 1: Fly into Portland

We arrived early in the afternoon, grabbed our rental car and went straight to pick up the essentials: Blue Star Donuts. I know I don’t normally give food recommendations but if you like fancy donuts, then Blue Star is where you want to be. I’ll have another donut recommendation later on our trip that ended up being our favorite.

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I forgot to mention on the blog that my girlfriends and I were going to go to Austin, Texas. As you may know, I went for the first time earlier this year to help my friend, Sue move. She’s all moved in and invited my friends and me to come visit her for a fun girls’ weekend in the south. I had a blast!

But since it was a girls’ weekend, I decided to just keep it simple and only bring my camera. That’s it. Meaning, I didn’t bring my drone, tripod, GoPro or anything like that. I just had my camera and two lenses and to be honest, walking through the airport with such little equipment/baggage felt so nice. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled so light.

The first two nights we spent at the Wyndham in downtown Austin and one of the best parts of the room was the outdoor patio. This image was from our first sunset. We were hanging out by the pool when I saw the clouds and color start to come in. So I quickly ran to the elevator to go back to our room and tried to capture it all from an above level perspective. I love this view and thought the buildings were all so different and interesting.

I had a blast in Austin and looking forward to sharing more images from our trip.

My camera settings for this image are F22 at 0.6 sec and ISO 125 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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So after taking a few pictures of the coast, I thought it would be a perfect time to fly the drone for a bit. I prefer flying in the early morning because there are fewer people out who may be bothered by the drone. So I got the drone up in the air and began to fly around the water.

It’s always an interesting perspective from up above. You never really know what you’re going to see until you’re up there. I was able to capture some cool images but I ended up really liking these “self-portraits”. I had no idea how clean looking the sand was until I saw it from above. I thought the lines that cars created in the sand were cool but my favorite of them are these long shadows Andrew, Frankie and I created.

So from left to right is Frankie, Andrew, my black camera bag, and then me 🙂 LOL I had no idea my camera bag would create such a long shadow and so when I looked at these images on my computer, I was a little confused as to what that 4th shadow was. When I zoomed in and figured out it was my camera bag, it made me like this image even more. My camera was definitely like the 4th person on this trip. LOL.

My camera settings for this image are F2.2 at 1/800th sec ISO 400 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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We flew in and out of Portland and hit the ground running. Our first stop upon arrival was donuts, but as soon as we picked up the essentials, we made our way to Cannon Beach. LOL. Just an hour and a half from Portland but by the time we arrived at our hotel, I was exhausted. We spent a little time walking around the beach but it was mostly spent decompressing in our hotel.

So Andrew and I woke up early the next morning (while Frankie continued to sleep in the hotel) and made our way to Ecola State Park. While researching the Oregon trip, this seemed like the place to be to get a great overall view of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and it really was. I loved how peaceful it was in the morning and for a little while, we were the only ones there.

If I remember correctly, the tree on the left-hand side was a stand-alone tree and probably one of the biggest ones at the viewpoint. I captured this image while we were walking back to the car. I loved the way the branch was framing Haystack Rock. I’ll be sharing more images from this view soon because it was just so impressive. I just thought this one was an interesting one and slightly different from what you typically see at Ecola State Park.

My camera settings for this image are F10 at 1/320th sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.