world war ii memorial

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#TBT to that one amazingly orange sunset in Washington DC over the summer. It seriously came out of nowhere and I’m so glad I was at the right place at the right time to capture it.

I think it’s amazing that I was able to capture only one person in this image. Especially since this was created during sunset and there’s usually a ton of people all over the National Mall. The World War II memorial is probably one of the busiest out of them all. So with no one even in the background is a complete shock. With that sky, I’m surprised I couldn’t capture more people stopping to enjoy the clouds.

PS do people even do throwback Thursdays (TBT) anymore? LOL.

My camera settings for this image was F4.5 at 1/40th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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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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Now that I’m officially a sunset photographer, this was probably the best skies I’ve seen in a while. It’s a funny story because I was actually on my way to the gym when at the last minute I decided that I would go out to shoot. I don’t know what actually compelled me to do it, let’s just call it a photographer’s intuition. LOL.

On my way to the city, my friend, Birch texted me and told me she was on her way there too. We decided to meet at the WWII memorial and I’m so glad we did. I was able to capture this awesome reflection. One that I don’t think I’ve photographed like this before. In order to capture it, I got down really low behind the memorial. Mostly because I wanted to avoid people’s heads that were actually in the memorial, but mostly because I wanted to see if i could get something different. It’s so simple and it may be a little confusing but I really like the way that it turned out. Kinda alien spacecraft like but also interesting with the Washington Monument poking out and its reflection 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F4.5 at 1/60th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

 

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After taking the image from yesterday’s post, I felt so inspired to take more pictures of the World War II memorial. I think I just realized how much I missed the memorial. So the next day, Andrew and I ended up going out. He wanted to get out of the house so I suggested taking pictures (obviously). We headed to DC around sunset time and just chilled out by the World War II memorial.

I had no idea what I was going to capture here, so I ended up walking around for a little bit when I saw this girl sitting on the bench. Is it just me, or did you just assume that the Memorials would not have electrical outlets? I mean, what? I saw this girl charging her phone and was so confused by it. But I was all for it since she was sitting there so beautifully in her bright pink outfit. She must have sat in that spot for a good 20 minutes. I tried all different compositions to capture her and this one was my favorite.

It’s inspired by one of my favorite photographers, Matt McClain. He works for the Washington Post and just consistently posts such amazing work. I’ve seen him post images of people by the water but the way he frames them is so creative. So while I was sitting by the fountain, I thought I’d give it a try.

My camera settings for this image is F9 at 1/250th sec and ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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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.

Other cool places to see the Washington Monument: POV Bar at the W Hotel, Rooftop Bar at the POD hotel in Chinatown (I have a thing for rooftop bars), Netherlands Carillion in Arlington VA, or along the Tidal Basin.

 

washington monument, national mall, washington dc, george washington, obelisk, national park service, sunset, glow, red,

The Washington Monument glows orange on a winter sunset evening.

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Looks like an almighty sword glowing in the sky, doesn’t it? This is my favorite part of always watching your back. The sunset action was happening in front of me at the Lincoln Memorial but a quick glance over my shoulder to the World War II memorial and I saw this! The sun was setting just at the right angle to change the white monument into gold. You can even see a little bit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture getting a bit of the sun sparkle too 🙂 It makes me smile to see the reflection in the reflecting pool water catch some of the sun’s glow.

My camera settings for this image is f5.6 at 8 seconds ISO 200. I really wanted a long exposure to blur out the fast moving clouds but also bring out the glow colors even more. To do this, I used my neutral density Ice Filter. I think I should be sponsored by them because I’m always talking about these filters and how amazing they are. *shoutout to Ice* Shooting with neutral density filters can be a little difficult if you’ve never used it before. My biggest tip would be to set your camera on manual focus, focus on your subject, and then put on the filter. Make sure you have the composition you want because once you put the filter on, it will be very difficult to see what you’re looking at. It gets super dark. If you leave your camera on auto focus, it will just keep on trying to focus on something and won’t allow you to take the picture. So remember just to keep your camera on manual and it will be all good. The neutral density filter also helped on making the edges super dark and contrasty which also helped in making the Washington Monument really pop out.