Lincoln Memorial - Mark Venner Photography

Lincoln Memorial

The Nation's Memorial to Abraham Lincoln is an amazing monument with so much photographic potential. One great vantage point is from across the Potomac River, at the Marine Corps Memorial on the hill in Arlington. Another is from the Memorial Bridge itself, or from the reflecting pool on the mall.
The All American Commute

This photograph of the Lincoln Memorial is from the opposite end of the Arlington Memorial Bridge, pre-sunrise, in the winter during rush hour. It is a 30 second exposure, and I used an ISO of 100. I used my Nikon 70-200mm lense, and was fully zoomed in on the Memorial.

One thing you notice when watching traffic at this time of the morning are the pods that form. I timed this photo to capture the maximum number of cars possible during a 30 second time period. One of my favorite parts of the photograph is the bouncing white light on the right hand sidewalk. I happened to catch a jogger with a chest light one as he ended his run over the bridge.

This is one of my favorite DC photographs, and was also selected by Smithsonian Magazine as a photography of the Day in July of 2012.
A House Divided

This photo was taken just after sunrise on clear winter day. There isn't too much trickery to this photo other than a tripod, a zoom lens, and the correct aperture to ensure the foreground and background are crisp.

The real trick with this photo is two fold: weather and construction. Waiting for the right time of year is key as there is only a short period during each year where the sun creates this scene. And getting a clear day during that time of year isn't always a guarantee. Oh yeah, and don't forget construction! It seems like there is always some type of construction on the monuments which can ruin any chance at a good photograph.

Well, luckily this morning the stars aligned. I waited until the sun created a shadow that was perfectly over Lincoln's head. To me this symbolizes the divided nature of the situation that Lincoln was able to navigate the country through. Again, another one of my favorites.
Patomac Mirror

This photograph was taken on a cold winter night from just along the Potomac by the bike trail. You'll notice an airplane light trail in the sky, the world peace center on the left, the memorial bridge on the right, and the Lincoln Memorial in the middle.

This photo was taken with a bit longer exposure, ~15 seconds, and also a smaller aperture of 11. It's not every-night that the river is so still and calm, but when it is the affect is amazing. You'll notice the slight star bursts from the lights, this is an result of the smaller (but not too small) aperture setting and the lens. It was taken at 18mm.

Again, nothing too earth shattering here from a technical perspective; just a steady tripod, a very warm jacket and an amazingly patient wife...and I recall I drug her along with our infant daughter for an evening stroll. Yes, it was a bit too cold for that. But the photo is way worth it, thank you dear!
4th of July Fireworks

The annual fireworks display in Washington DC on the 4th of July is an amazing event. This photograph was taken from the Belltower viewpoint in Arlington, just across the river from the National Mall.

This photo was taken with my Nikon D7000, and the kit 18-105mm lense. This was one of those times where I really should have brought my tripod, but didn't because it was too heavy and bulky; so the baby bag took it's place. This is a primary example of why I finally (years later) ended up ponying up the dough to purchase the Gitzo Traveller tripod. With that 1kg tripod I am never without it.

Also, if I would've had my tripod I would've been able to play around with some longer exposure photos to capture the motion of the explosions a bit more. Next time!

Lincoln Dawn

This photo was taken from a similar vantage point as the above firework shot, just at a completely different time of day and year. I actually got up a bit late and didn't make it to my spot on time, thus the lights on the Capitol and Washington Monument had just gone out (I literally watched them go out as I was walking from my car to the hill...ugh!). While I was initially quite dissapointed, I now actually really like the focus that only having the Lincoln Memorial lit up brings to the photo. I also really like the red break in the clouds that this morning provided.

I again used my Nikon D7000 to take this photo, with the kit 18-105 lens, but did have a tripod with me this time around. If I had it to do over again I would close down the aperture a little bit to provide more burst on the lights over the bridge; but that's all a matter or taste.
Golden Lincoln

This Photo was taken on the same morning as the above "House Divided" Lincoln photo. It was a particularly crisp day, with absolutely no low lying clouds or fog (which is actually a fairly rare occurrence in DC). What this provided was low-angle, early and direct light on the monument.