I’ve never actually been to Washington, DC until now. For some reason we never had a school trip to go see our nation’s capital. Nor was there a family vacation in that neck of the woods. Actually, the closest I ever got to Washington, DC was the trip after college to Lynchburg, Virginia to evaluate the future employer. Even then, Lynchburg isn’t actually that close.
I took the weekend to go exploring. I wanted to see as much as I could of the National Mall. Once work wrapped up on Friday, I was free to go wander around. I brought a few lenses as I wasn’t sure what type of photography would suit the evening. I was glad I had my tripod as it was completely dark and fully spectacular.
At first glance, the National Mall didn’t seem that big. In retrospect, it’s huge. I thought I was going to be able to walk all over the area, but really I was only able to see the Washington Monument, the World War II Monument (later), and the Lincoln Memorial. That was a three hour tour.
Living in California separates you from Washington in a number of degrees. Obviously, distance plays a factor. Washington is about 3000 miles away. Secondly, California duplicates a lot of national law with their own spin. CARB, the California Air Resources Board is much more invasive than the EPA. Cal OSHA is likewise more aggressive than the national agency. Since state law is more restrictive in a lot of respects the political battleground here really works on the state level. Also, since California always goes Democratic, we’re really not relevant in national elections.
The Washington Monument
Of any of the monuments, the Washington Monument surprises me the most. The flags around the base of the monument are really cool, but the rest of the building just seemed really bizarre. I mean, it’s probably the most suggestive of any of the buildings in the entire mall. What was the architect thinking?
The Washington Monument brightly shines in the night as the centerpiece of the National Mall. Four large beams on each corner of the monument give it the brilliance that can be seen from many places in the city.
Camera Tip: Focal length matters! Here is the Reflecting Pond at 16 and 35 mm.
The Lincoln Memorial
Growing up in the South, the Civil War was the hot topic in American history. I found his memorial truly humbling. I know every president has significant strain upon their back, but Lincoln seems to be one in his own. During his term his country fractured and he was taxed with bringing it back together.
I just felt a resonance being in the memorial so late at night. I know it was at least after midnight – if not later. What really surprised me is how many people were all over the monument. It was impossible to get a wide-angle shot without somebody stepping into the frame.
By the time I got the Capitol in view I was exhausted. This is where the size of the National Mall hit me hard. It was well after midnight and I had an early Saturday morning ahead of me. Just a photograph would have to do from a distance as I had all of tomorrow to soak in more of the city.
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