Sunday, October 1, 2017

Same Location, Different Looking Shot

Besides sports action photography, I also enjoy taking shots in different cities; and the more historic, the better. That is why Washington D.C. is hands down my favorite city to visit. I know there are older cities, but what does it for me is the monuments. I never get tired of taking photographs on the National Mall. And the city itself has its own unique vibe. I love riding the Metro to go to the museums, and D.C. has just about any type of restaurant you can imagine.

One of the more interesting discoveries I made during my last couple of trips is how different the monuments and memorials can look depending on the time of day the photograph is taken. I am a big fan of shadowing. It can create a really nice perspective, so I do spend a little time noting how the sun is hitting a particular monument. I also like shooting in the early part of the morning. Taking photos in the 30 minutes before and after sunrise and sunset can add a completely different dimension to your photographs because of the colors that are visible during that time of the day. Here is what I mean. Below, you will see two photos of the Washington Monument. One was taken in Oct. 2015 during the later part of the morning. The second one was taken a year later from a spot that probably wasn't more than 40 - 50 yards away from the original one, but the time was about 20 minutes after official sunrise. I should also mention that these were two photos that I did not use any editing on in order to enhance them. You are seeing exactly what I saw.
Washington Monument - Late Morning
Oct. 2015
Washington Monument - Early Morning
Oct. 2016

As you can see, the weather was absolutely perfect on both of these days. I am taking both shots while standing northeast of the monument. The sun is just out of frame to my left. It is really amazing how much of a difference several hours can make with respect to the colors that you see in a photo. In the first one, the shadow on the nearest face is clearly defined against the blue sky. And you can see the distinct contrast between the monument face catching the sunlight and the one that is shaded. In the early morning shot, the shadowing is still evident, but the terrific colors that are best seen at sunrise are clearly the distinguishing features. This was one of my favorite shots from that particular trip.

The one thing I had not had a chance to do in D.C. is take photographs at night. So on my last trip I booked a guided tour in the evening that made a few stops for people to get out and take photos. In the shots of the Washington Monument above, you saw the difference that a few hours can make. Below, you will be able to see the how much different things can look at night. These two shots were taken at the wall of the MLK Memorial that extended north towards the Washington Monument. The first one was shot in the afternoon.The second one was taken the following year in the evening. I was standing almost in the exact same spot. For the night shot, I used aperture priority and let the camera select the shutter speed and ISO. I also used a tripod to eliminate any camera shake.
MLK Memorial North Wall - Oct. 2015
MLK Memorial North Wall - Oct. 2016
Before I comment on the shots, let me just say that if you haven't had a chance to take a D.C. Monuments tour at night, I highly recommend it. I can't even really describe it. To see them lit up and everyone walking around quietly creates an atmosphere of reverence that you don't feel quite as much during the day. Anyway, I really liked how these two shots turned out. From this spot, the Washington Monument is about a twenty minute walk. I was a little amazed that there weren't any people in the day time shot, but they were all behind me looking at the huge sculpture of Dr. King. Capturing the tourists in the evening shot adds to the effect I think. Obviously, some of them were blurred because they were walking and their motion combined with the slower shutter speed necessary to let in the required amount of light made for the slight distortion. But I actually like it.

So those are just a couple of my favorite shots of Washington D.C. There are dozens more on my Shutterfly page, so if you would like to take a look, feel free to leave your email in the comments section, and I will add you to my list. I just wanted to share some of the things I enjoy about taking photos at different times of the day to demonstrate how much of a difference several hours or more can make even when you are shooting from almost the exact same spot. What cities do you enjoy the most when taking photographs? I would be very interested in seeing some of your favorites along with your comments on what you like the most about them. Until next time . . .

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