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Continuing on my series of posts from major sites to photograph …

I arrived in Falls Church (just outside DC) last night.  Falls Church is where I could find a reasonable hotel room but be on the DC Metro for easy access.  Finding parking in DC is obviously an issue.

Lessons learned about photographing Washington D.C..

1.  The distance between the key attractions is actually much larger than you first expect.  This means that you need more time than you think if you are going to maximize light conditions.  You really can only do one monument properly at the magic hour.

2. Tripods.  A problem.  They are prohibited in any of the memorials or near the Capitol/White House. So for example, when you photograph the Vietnam Memorial, you may not a tripod in the walkway.  You may not use a tripod above the line of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.   Some websites say that you can get a permit from the National Parks Service to be able to use a tripod.  Even the official who stopped me at the Vietnam Memorial said I needed a permit. The NPS permit only permits commercial shots in the park area, but officially these shots cannot use tripods in the restricted areas anyway.  It would appear that not all the officials on the ground understand that.  A commercial permit costs $50 a day and takes several days to obtain. Go here for more info http://www.nps.gov/nama/planyourvisit/permits.htm.  Around the Capitol and other key buildings, the police will stop you.  You can get permits from the Capitol Police (Permits for the Capitol) 202-224-8891.

3. You may want to do research before you go on to see if repairs are being done on any of the memorials. For example, in 2012/13 the Washington Monument was being repaired after the earthquake a while back.

4. I suggest you give at least half day to recon the area before you begin.

Here is the photo I squeezed off on the tripod of the Vietnam Memorial before I got stopped.

Sunrise through the reflection of the Vietnam Mem.



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Piers van der Merwe

Born in Zimbabwe, educated in Cape Town (UCT), now living in Knoxville, USA. I travel a lot for work, to a wide variety of venues that affords me the opportunity for taking interesting and varied photos. Hobbies, other than photography, include cycling and reading.

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