Night Photography Around The National Mall

One of the best things Washington DC Metro area residents could do is go out at night and shoot around the National Mall area. I have probably done it more than ten times in seven years but it gets better and more exciting every time. It will be difficult to go out and shoot during the winter season but it gets better starting April-May and until October. Since it is the capital of the free world, you can never count on the day traffic even on normal working days and, it will be almost impossible to park anywhere or get there on time if it is a special events day like Cherry Blossoms festival or Memorial Day weekend etc. If the weather is nice, you will see many local residents and tourists visiting around the national mall area and spend beautiful evening with their friends and family. The national mall, monuments and the museums are probably one of the most popular destinations for the tourists and the photographers from all around the world. I have met many professional and amateur photographers who come to DC to capture historic landmarks and also learned a lot from them during those random meet-ups. If you are planning to shoot there at night, you might want to carry a tripod with you. To avoid any blurriness in low light condition and specially if you are trying to shoot with more than couple of seconds of exposure, tripod is a must have tool. It is also a good idea to carry shutter release cable or wireless shutter release device to avoid any camera shake while using camera on tripod. It will be no problem using tripod around the National Mall but you will have to be careful using it inside Memorial buildings. I was trying to use it inside Lincoln memorial to get a closer shot of Lincoln but guarding officer didn't allow me to use it. I saw people using the monopod but the tripod was not allowed for some reason.

Along with these photographs, I have included the brief location, name of the memorial and the camera settings for the individual shot. If you have any questions or comments about these images, please mention them in the comment section and I will try my best to answer them.

This shot is taken from the World War II memorial looking towards the Washington monument. I think it was undergoing some inspection or damage repair caused by the earthquake in 2011. You can see the scaffolding on the side of the monument. The monument came little overexposed than I would prefer but since there was nothing of interest in detail, I left as it is.

Washington Monument at Night

Washington Monument at Night

Focal Length - 32mm     Aperture - f/8     Exposure - 10 sec     ISO - 400

This one is the World War II memorial which is dedicated to those Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during the World War II. It was past midnight and the fountains were already turned off. You will see the fountains with the lights in my other shot below.

World War II Memorial at Night

World War II Memorial at Night

Focal Length - 16mm     Aperture - f/22     Exposure - 30 sec     ISO - 1600

The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial is the latest addition to the historic landmarks around the National mall. I think I was there at around 2 am in the morning and I noticed a group of international college students and their professor were visiting the memorial while their guide was explaining them about the monument and the Dr. King's role in the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King Memorial

Martin Luther King Memorial

Focal Length - 35mm     Aperture - f/16     Exposure - 8 sec     ISO - 400

This is the picture of the World War II memorial while the fountain lights were still on. In this shot, I tried symmetry composition.

Word War II Memorial Fountain

Word War II Memorial Fountain

Focal Length - 24mm     Aperture - f/16     Exposure - 10 sec     ISO - 200

This shot is taken from the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial looking towards the Washington monument. You can also see the World War II memorial in between and the Capital Hill behind the Washington monument.

Washinton Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Washinton Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Focal Length - 75mm     Aperture - f/14     Exposure - 8 sec     ISO - 200

I hope you like these photographs and also hope that it will encourage you to get out from your comfort zone and do some experiments with your camera.