One of the main focuses of the photography workshop I taught at BlissDom this year was how to capture well-known landmarks and scenes in a new light. When we were in D.C. last week, I’m not going to even pretend we tried to go off the beaten path. I’ve been to the capital a half a dozen times and haven’t done anything “touristy” since my first visit more than a decade ago, so by god, we were going to see the side of D.C. that 15 million travelers (literally) come for every year, which naturally meant we started at the National Mall. Plus, we’re looking at buying a house this summer so we’re all about the city breaks at a low cost—a role D.C. plays quite well given its long roster of free things to do (we used hotel credit and didn’t pay to go in a single attraction so I think we succeeded in that category).
Here’s a glimpse at how to diversify your travel shots, with the Washington Monument used as a guinea pig. (It was quite the willing participant.)
You can snap just the tip-top…or photograph it with a fisheye from below.
You can ask an insane person in a dress to jump in front of it (always smart).
You can pose a jaunty puppy on its lawn.
You can use a filter and shoot into the sun.
You can photograph it peeking out from over a high school choral group singing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
You can shoot it from above on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. (No one else may be able to see it, but you know it’s there.)
You can wander all the way over to the National World War II Memorial and glimpse it from afar.
And while you’re there, you can attempt a long exposure or two.
One thing you can’t do, however—at least at present—is photograph it in front of the famed Reflecting Pool (well, you can—technically—but it’s more of a concrete jungle). So if you’re going to D.C. with such expectations, I’m afraid you’ll be rather disappointed.
Good thing you have so many other options with which to work. Who knew such a phallic monument could be so photogenic?
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