Travel Tales from The Hub

Quick Sunset Walk Through The National Mall

Ken Hubbard

By Ken Hubbard

© Ken Hubbard
Reflection Pool With Lincoln Memorial: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 92mm, ISO 1000, f/8 @1/15th sec.

Making The Most Of A Short Time To Capture Images
With only a few hours to capture as many images as possible during the golden and blue hours, I decided to travel as fast and light as possible. I made the decision to go out with 1 camera body, 1 lens (the Tamron 18-400mm Di II) and nothing else besides a black rapid strap around my neck. No camera bag, no tripod, nothing. Anyone who knows me would have been shocked! I knew I needed to cover a lot of ground in a short time, so I started with a familiar spot, The Washington Monument. The sun was still up in the sky but just starting to get low enough to give me some nice light. I decided to compose some image with the American flags that surround the Monument and the capital building that was far off in the background. Timing it so the 3 flags were extended outward by the breeze was key to the image.

© Ken Hubbard
American Flags with Capital Building: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 62mm, ISO 400, f/22 @1/250th sec.

As The Sun Sets, The Memorials and Monuments Come Alive
Sunsets aren’t only for landscapes, in Washington DC the setting sun brings the memorials and monuments to life. With the warm light hitting the structures and the vibrant colors in the sky, there are so many images to capture at each memorial. Don’t try to race around and capture them all, the mall is just too expansive, so pick the place you want to be and make the most of it. Look for different angles, shoot wide angle images of the entire structures then more telephoto and close ups of the details. I chose to hang out by the World War II Memorial for sunset, and then shoot back towards the Washington Monument because of the beautiful pastel colors in the sky and the warm light on the monument. I also had an almost full moon rising over the capital and decided to shoot a simple vertical image of just the Washington Monument, moon and the capital. For the second image I added the fountains of the WW II Memorial to add another dimension to the horizontal Image.

© Ken Hubbard
Washington Monument: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 65mm, ISO 100, f/18 @1/6th sec.

© Ken Hubbard
Washington Monument: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 24mm, ISO 100, f/22 @1/5th sec.

The Sun May Be Down, But It’s Not Time To Go To Dinner Just Yet
Just like any good landscape location, just because the sun has set on the mall doesn’t mean it is time to pack up and go to dinner. There is still plenty of good light to photograph with, and the memorials are no exception. After capturing a number of images I liked around the WW II Memorial I decided to head over to the Vietnam War Memorial, which for me is one of the most moving memorials on the mall. I still remember going to see it for the first time just after it opened, even though there were hundreds of people there, it was dead silent. Still today, it is the one memorial that people stay respectfully quiet at. When I arrived at the memorial after sunset, there were still a few people walking around, which is inevitable at the monuments. In this case it can add to the mood to the image. As I was lining up to capture an image angled so that I had the Washington Monument in the frame as well as its reflection on the wall, a younger man walked up to the wall to find a name. As he crouched down and moved his hand to the wall, that’s when I decided to snap a few frames. The silent remembrance is what is so moving to me.

© Ken Hubbard
Vietnam War Memorial: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD - 18mm, ISO 800, f/11 @1/8 sec

There’s always One more Image
After capturing images at the Vietnam Memorial, it was finally starting to get pretty dark… but there was still a little bit of color in the sky. I started to walk back towards the reflecting pool to see if there was enough light to capture some images without a tripod. Thankfully for cameras today, you can push ISO’s much further than the olden’ time film days. I made my way back to the World War II Memorial where the lights had now turned on to illuminate the memorial, giving it a completely different look. Pushing my ISO to 1000 I was able to use the available light to capture a few more images hand held of the memorial.

© Ken Hubbard
Washington Monument: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 70mm, ISO 1000, f/8 @1/10th sec

© Ken Hubbard
World War II Memorial: Tamron 18-400mm Di II VC HLD – 24mm, ISO 1000, f/8 @1/6th sec