I think one of the most fun creative challenges of being a photographer in Washington D.C. is trying to find a fresh angle or an unusual point of view when shooting the iconic landmarks that dot the city. The photo above I shot at the Netherlands Carillon was approached in that spirit. (Please see second photo and additional test below)
The U.S. Marine Corp War Memorial is probably better known to most as The Iwo Jima memorial, a giant sculpture based on Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning image taken during World War II.
The park has one of the best views of downtown Washington. I was taking photos there early one summer morning and noticed the framing the Carillon provided of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. I rested my camera on the back base of the structure and shot several bracketed exposures as part of an HDR image.
The fact that the sun was shining almost right into my camera made things a little more interesting but I moved my camera slightly so the sun would be a little more flared than right in my face.
I thought the results were compelling. I have not been back yet, but I think this shot might work even better in the afternoon when the sun light is directed toward the city, not towards the Carillon, though I think the sun flare is an interesting effect.
What I really like about this view is its graphic appeal. The HDR effect really brings out the rugged texture of the inside of the Carillon. A feature that might not even be noticeable if this shot was taken from the front of the structure. The lines between the floor tiles also add to the overall design.
Some helpful photo tips to follow when looking for fresh angles and unusual points of view….
When looking for fresh angles or new perspectives when taking a photograph it is really important to do the following:
1. Take some time to absorb the subject you are photographing. Too often we rush to a scene and just start firing away before our brain can process what we are looking at. I think it is helpful to be “at one” in a visual sense with the thing or person you are photographing.
2. Especially in the case of photographing architecture, it is critical to do a 360 when ever possible, i.e. walking around the object you are shooting. If I had not walked around the entire Carillon, I would have probably just ended up with the pretty photo shown at left and gone my merry way.
3. Take chances. Sometimes a longshot will turn into a great shot and sometimes it will be a disaster. You have nothing to lose by trying.
I think the HDR shot at the different angle is ok, could it be better, yes, for sure and finally
4. A good idea should be a work in progress. I plan on going back to this location on different days and different times of the day to try the same perspective but with different lighting. Whether a photo idea works or does not work the first time out, you can usually make the image better by shooting it again. I have had some photos that were good ideas but the first or second time out, did not work. If you know you have a good idea for a photo, don’t give up.
Thanks so much for dropping by my blog today. Rob
PS- Just Added an update to a very very early blog post that ran in this space before I went daily. The post was about what a mountain view looks like before and after wind turbines were installed. The update regards some new information released this week concerning the detrimental effects some turbines have had on eagles. You can find the post here Tilting at Windmills
- Arlington Flowers (iseebeautyallaround.com)
- Montana veterans tour D.C. memorials as part of Big Sky Honor Flight (ravallirepublic.com)