OnLocation- Washington, D.C. (2012)
Last summer Mike and I had the privilege of taking our first dedicated photography trip. In the past, we would either make a day trip to a local spot (ie: NYC) or we would take photos on vacation (ie: Bermuda). However, this was the first time we were making a trip with the sole intention of taking pictures. Being a small start-up, I wanted to maintain budget consciousness and did not want to go very far or spend a lot of money. So, we started looking for places beyond the day-trip radius from our home. After much talking, we chose Washington, DC. As the capital city of the United States, Washington, District of Columbia (DC for short) is a dynamic metropolis and civic center with many outdoor and indoor attractions. Anyone who has visited the city will tell you the variety of monuments, museums, and public spaces. For photographers, Washington, DC provides many opportunities of landscape, street, portrait, and even sports photos.
The Schedule We were only intending to stay overnight to save money. So, we left our house at 0500 EST on Friday, July 27 and arrived in the city at around 0930. We spent much of the daylight shooting the exterior monuments and only rested when needed. Mike and I checked into our hotel after 1500 and took a brief dinner break. After our dinner break, the sun was going down, and afforded us many more landscape shots outside at the various monuments. The following day, Saturday, July 28, we woke up early, checked out and continued where we left off. During the course of the day, we visited two museums. Since we were going to make the trip home that day, we quit around 1600 EST and arrived home around 2000 EST. Thankfully, we had all day on Sunday to rest and review our shots.
The Gear Mike and I primarily shoot Canon EOS Rebel T2i’s. Our lens kits include the EF-s 18-55mm, EF-s 55-250mm, Rokinon EF 8mm fisheye, EF 50mm f1.8, EF 24mm f2.8, and EF 70-200mm f2.8L. Aside from our digital cameras, Mike and I both carried a film camera. I purchased a second-hand Canon EOS Rebel XS and Mike was using a family borrowed Olympus point and shoot. Because of the nature of landscape and architecture photography, a wide angle lens is preferred to shoot wide subjects or buildings from a short distance away (sidewalk). The EF 24mm lens I have is cropped with an effective field of view of around 38mm. So, I contacted and rented some gear. The gear we rented was as follows: Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR, EF 16-35 f2.8L II, EF 24-105 f4L, and extra 5D battery pack. I didn’t shoot or write a review of the gear and really wish I had. Both lens and the 5D2 were phenomenal. In fact, I think I walked around with the 5D2 and EF 16-35 most of the time. We each used a backpack to haul most of the gear around town and I used my Pelican 1500 and 1600 cases to safely transport the gear in the car. I have the adjustable padding kits for both cases and was able to quickly configure the cases for the additional rental and film gear which I don’t normally carry.
The Locations For only being in the city for 1.5 days, Mike and I covered a lot of ground, which you will see in the photos. While we did not cover the entire city and surrounding tourist attractions, I think we covered all we planned to with the exception of Arlington National Cemetery. Extensive planning went into our itinerary. We first sat down and considered what sites and even “shots” we wanted. to shoot. After that we mated the sites and shots to the map and planned a route that would not only take us to the locations, but also considered the time of day that we wanted to be at the locations. The locations in Washington, DC that we visited were:
  • U.S. Capital Building
  • U.S. Botanical Garden
  • U.S. Native American Museum
  • National Mall
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • The White House
  • U.S. Air and Space Museum
  • Newseum

The Experience Though our photography trip to Washington, D.C. was short, Mike and I learned a lot. As our first dedicated photography trip, we learned how to plan and map out our itinerary to maximize production time, including not only where, but when. On the other hand, we also learned that you can’t plan every shot. Many of the greatest photographs in history were spontaneous and organic. We learned gear is far less important than good composition, perfect exposure, and framing a meaningful subject.
OnLocation- Washington, D.C. (2012)
As we close out our first photography trip, we look forward to many more in the future. Right now we don’t have specific plans, but we hope to enjoy a lot of the same experiences that made our trip to Washington, D.C. so memorable. If you have any questions about our trip to Washington, D.C. or would like to learn more, please send us a message | HERE | .

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