12 Significant Photos: #4 – Dawn at the Capitol

21 10 2009

The day after Christmas in Washington, DC was both cold and quiet. I took my wife to work early in the morning so that we could get on the road out of town after her shift. Her shift started before sunrise, so I was able to get to the Capitol before it was light.

There were not many people around. Just a men’s group out for a morning walk. I decided that I would take some shots of the Capitol from front (west front, sun behind) and center.

The reflecting pool in front was partially frozen, creating a unique reflection that ranged from mirrored to blurred. The sun rose behind the Capitol Building and lit up the sky and the reflection. The resulting shot is one of my favorites that might be out of place as #4 in my list.

The U.S. Capitol, located in Washington, DC, at sunrise in December 2008.

The U.S. Capitol, located in Washington, DC, at sunrise in December 2008.





Morning Light at the Capitol

31 01 2009
The US Capitol Dome at Sunrise

The US Capitol Dome at Sunrise

Photographers usually suggest that one should shoot at the beginning or end of daylight because the light is “best” at those times. I’ve seen many sunsets in the DC area, but have never found the right scene with the Capitol Building at sunset. Part of this might be because the East Front (the side you would shoot if you wanted the sunset behind the building) of the building has been under renovation for the time I have lived in this area. But the bigger issue is I was never able to drag myself out of bed with the time to get to the Capitol for sunrise.

Statue of Uslysses S. Grant at the Capitol

Statue of Uslysses S. Grant at the Capitol

My biggest fear of getting up to photograph sunrise is a big cloud that hides the sun and dulls the colors. But on the day after Christmas (2008), the stars aligned. I was planning to take my wife to work that day and she had to be into the city before sunrise. I took her in and was able to easily get downtown and park close (and for free) to the Capitol. There were a few scattered clouds, but only enough to add character to the sky, not hide the light. The sunrise was spectacular.

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC

The reflecting pool added to a great sunrise. It was partially frozen which provided for a unique foreground. The ice reflected the color and the water provided a perfect mirror. Everything came together for some nice photographs.

Utilizing some common photography tips allowed me to enjoy a cool crisp morning with the camera AND capture some good photographs. Among the tips I was sure to utilize were:

  • shoot at sunrise or sunset
  • use a tripod; this allowed me to capture a longer exposure and get good light
  • find a scene in a scene (to follow my advice from a previous post!)

Please feel free to visit my Washington, DC gallery.