Rain in Washington DC — How to Photograph National Monuments Like A Pro
This post should have been called “Freezing Rain in Washington, DC“. You see, it was cold in the District (about 29 degrees). A great friend and excellent photographer (Anthony Franklin from Anthony Franklin Photography) was visiting from Chicago, and he wanted to experience Washington, DC. Being from Chicago, 29 degrees is like a dancing in a sauna to the guy.
The good news is that it was cold enough to keep most people away from ruining my field of view around the monuments I was trying to photograph. Although I too am a tourist, when doing travel photography, I like to “pretend” that the whole area has been evacuated so that I can get one-on-one time with my inanimate objects. To achieve exclusivity, here’s Tip #1:
- Tip 1: Venture out at a time in which most rational humans are either sleep or hiding from the elements.
Now that you have carte blanche to photograph your subject, don’t waste the opportunity by standing 500 feet from your target and just going click, click, click, click, click…
Remember, you’re supposed to be a photographer so:
- Tip 2: Remember the fundamentals of photography
- Take heed to the rule of thirds.
- Don’t be a slave to Auto White Balance. In the daytime, use the Sunny Day White Balance. Indoors with standard light bulbs, use Incandescent. Note: When shooting at night, a Fluorescent White Balance works well.
- Tripods are nice, but if you don’t have one, at least make an effort to hold your camera steady.
- Tuck your elbows tight to your sides.
- When depressing the shutter, use the “fat of your finger” vs. the tip of the finger. Minimizes camera shake associate with “trigger pull”.
- Before depressing the shutter, take a deep breath in, take a breath out, and before breathing back in, press the shutter.
- Tip 3: See the world differently than other mortals.
I’ve spent decades seeing the world as a 5’10” person. Let me see from the vantage point of a squirrel [that’s code for “bend your knees”] or maybe someone much taller [that’s code for “shoot from a hill”]. Zoom-in to show details to breath life into even the most overly-photographed monuments.
Tip 4: See Eye to Eye with Statues
Tip 5: Be Creative
Without going crazy, break some of the rules. Experiment with colors and creative cropping. Be responsible, however, and shy away from over-the-top Photoshop plugins. In my opinion, I want to respect the work of the sculptures and architects that have created these great works of art for us all to enjoy.