Capital cities like Washington DC are a total playground for photographers like me. In most cases, the buildings in a county’s capital are the most ornate, well preserved and well funded. I guess it makes sense in the way that a capital city is in some ways supposed to be representative of the entire nation. This is rarely the case though and Washington DC is no exception.
Today in the US, as in most western countries the capital city is in many ways looked upon internally as a centre for corrupt politicians and lobbyists who do little to improve the welfare of the citizens of the nation — and rightfully so.
“Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.”
“Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason.”
On the other hand… The positive sides to capital cities is the vey cool architecture, monuments, statues, and other eye candy that I just love to photograph. I’ll leave the politics to the politicians and concentrate on taking photos of all the fun stuff that I come across in Places like Washington DC.
I’m a much bigger fan of shooting in cites after dark than during the day. As a rule it is quieter and less crowded, there is no need to worry about changing lighting conditions, and the colour temperature of the types of artificial lights make each location look unique. I was in DC, just before Christmas when I took these images and it was cold and windy; perfect conditions for making people stay home and out of my photos. It also meant getting a shot of the Capitol with the multi coloured Christmas tree! :D
It had snowed quite heavily that morning and I ended up visiting the Air & Space museums to shoot everything from the Spirit of St. Louis, to the space shuttle Enterprise. To me it’s the best part of Washington DC — being able to hop from museum to museum all day long. Some of the very best museums in the world are situated in DC and I would love to get back there just to spend a few days exploring all the amazing art, science, and history exhibits. There is even a Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news!
Most of the museums are free, which is my favourite price for just about anything.
All the Smithsonian museums are free, as is the zoo in Washington DC, how cool is that?
- African American History and
- African Art Museum
- Air and Space Museum
- Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center
- American Art Museum
- American History Museum
- American Indian Museum
- American Indian Museum Heye Center
- Anacostia Community Museum
- Arts and Industries Building
- Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
- Freer Gallery of Art
- Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
- National Zoo
- Natural History Museum
- Portrait Gallery
- Postal Museum
- Renwick Gallery
- Sackler Gallery
- Smithsonian Institution Building, The Castle
“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
I most certainly did not have enough time while I was in town, to photograph everything I wanted to. The snow slowed me down, but yet it also added a rather magical element to many of the photos I was able to get. While I’m not a fan of snow in the city, I do think it looks great in more natural settings. The exception to this rule for me is when I’m able to photograph a location as soon as it stops snowing. Within a few hours, that magical white blanket will quickly turn into greyish sludge and that never looks good in pictures, or in real life for that matter.
My hotel was located within walking distance to the National Cathedral and since I have had some luck with photographing cathedrals at night in the past, I now make damn sure that I photograph them wherever and whenever I get the chance… Hey, you never know!
When I visited the cathedral the next day and be welcomed with open arms by Andy Bittner who is a volunteer Docent there. He leads personal tours and was a fountain of knowledge about the history of this beautiful building. I’ll have a full blog post about the Washington National Cathedral in the future; the interior is absolutely stunning! If you’re planning a visit, do yourself a favour and ask for Andy to give you the tour when you’re there. Even better, book him ahead of time for group tours, you’ll be happy you did, trust me.
The photo of the Washington Monument was the last one that I took that night. I kind of regret not staying out later to get some more cool night photos, but I had a big day ahead of me the next day. I keep rather crazy hours while I’m on the road, often sleeping 5 hours and working pretty much the rest of the time. This means that I usually get back with a mountain of images to work on and have to work rather crazy hours here too just to keep up with the editing. With upcoming trips to Italy and Iceland, that mountain of images will get even bigger. Even when trips get cancelled or postponed, it seems that within days I get another opportunity to visit an alternative place. That mountain is gonna be huge in no time, since the trips keep piling up.
New things are around the corner…
To add even more work to my already insane schedule, I’ll be adding a few new sections to the blog later this year. Since I’m having a blast with my iPhone camera these days, I’ll be reviewing some cool iPhoneography gear and apps.
When I am on the road I tend to walk up to 25km in a day — day after day. So I’m in search of the perfect pair of travel shoes, boots, and sandals. I’ll be testing all kinds of footwear this year and sharing my thoughts about them with you in the months ahead. I’d love to hear what brands you like too. I’ll be in a lot of different climates, terrain, and environments on my upcoming trips and that will be the perfect testing grounds for all sorts of footwear. I’ll have full reviews of many different types of footwear after each of my upcoming trips.
Look for this and more as I continue in my quest to take over the world… One photo at a time.