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Photographing the Lincoln Memorial

August 16, 2011

Before I moved to Washington, DC, the place I most wanted to photograph was the Lincoln Memorial.  I’d visited it once, without my camera, and was blown away by the architecture and the view of the Reflecting Pool and the Washington Monument.  Within a  couple weeks of my move, I found myself on the steps of the Memorial at dawn anxiously moving from one spot to another to try and frame the perfect picture.  I’ve been back a number of times since then and have gotten better pictures each time.  Hopefully, I can save you the learning curve with this video and the information below.

MORE BELOW THE VIDEO

EXIF INFO FOR MANY OF THE PICTURES IN THIS VIDEO CAN BE FOUND AT BRANDONKOPP.COM 

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Material I couldn’t fit into the video

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How To Get There

Once you’ve decided that the Lincoln Memorial is worth your time to photograph, you’ll have to figure out how to get there.  Like any big city, Washington, DC has a number of transportation options and how you choose to get there will depend a lot on where you’re starting.  I always take the Metro (or Subway) system and walk the rest of the way.  Though the Lincoln Memorial is not near any of the stations (the closest stations are Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom about a mile away), I often find interesting things when walking from Point A to Point B.

What’s Nearby

There are Plenty of Nearby Attractions to Make the Long Walk to the Memorial Worth It

The Lincoln Memorial is located at the west end of the National Mall.  While it’s a bit of a hike to get there, it’s well worth the trip.  In addition to the Lincoln Memorial, there are other presidential memorials, several war memorials, and the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, all within a couple minutes walk.

Sunrise/Sunset

You Can Coordinate Your Trip with the Cycles of the Sun for Better Pictures

As an added bonus for going in September, the sun rises due east of the Memorial. This allows beautifully colored sunlight to illuminate the Lincoln Statue which is often veiled in shadow.

Additional Resources

DC Like a Local – This site has a lot of great information on the sites around DC. I think of my website as a companion to this one.  This website could be considered “Take Pictures in DC Like a Local.”

Official Lincoln Memorial Page– The National Park Service’s website offers maps, hours of operation, and other valuable information.

Photographing Washington, DC – This book guided me through my first couple months in DC.  It was one of many inspirations for this video series.

Lincoln Memorial on Wikipedia – In case you want some historical background on the Memorial.

AB Pan Photography – Just so you don’t have to take my word for it.  Here is the site of another DC photographer who frequently posts pictures of the Lincoln Memorial.  There’s a lot you can learn here too.

Summary

What:        Lincoln Memorial

Where:      West End of the National Mall

When:       September – October, Sunrise or After Sunset

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Lens:        Telephoto lens with a wide zoom range (e.g., 18-135mm)

Tripod:      Bring one for outside pictures, it’s not allowed inside

Flash:       Don’t bring it


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