A Portrait Photographer in Washington, D.C.

Last week, I managed to travel down to Washington, D.C.  Aside from the cold weather, which made walking miserable, the trip was pretty nice.  I enjoy seeing new places, revisiting places I have already been, and immersing myself in the local culture for a period of time.

I managed to find my way to The Capitol, at night.  If you've never been to this building, or any of the buildings that house key elements of the U.S. Government, I highly suggest taking a trip.

Here's the thing:  It doesn't matter which political party you belong to, or which policies you agree with...or disagree with.  The simple fact is that being there and walking around that place tends to bring on a sense of pride.  I felt proud to be an American.  I wasn't necessarily in awe of the building(s).  Rather, it was just the idea that this is epicenter of it all.  This is where things get done. (or, depending on how you look at it...not done).  This is where history was made, and continues to be made.  

In either case, our government functions from this location.  This isn't to say that our Government is a place.  It is an idea, and a framework for the rule of law which our society functions within. But, one can't help but look around and feel a sense of reverence.

So, I walked around a bit. Schmoozed with a few police officers / security guards, and tried to enjoy things, despite shivering in my boots.  Yes, it was 18-20 degrees outside, and I am allergic to cold weather!

I had asked the officers if I was allowed to take photos.  I felt this was the respectful thing to do, and the safest.  Let's face it, we don't live in peaceful times, and asking permission was the best way to NOT be perceived as a threat.

After my brief conversation with the officers, I found my spot.  This is where I thought I'd have a great vantage point and capture my picture. I jockeyed around a little bit, and messed with my settings for a few minutes.  I had a clear vision of the image I wanted to make, but it took some timing, patience and a steady hand.

You see, I am a commercial headshot and portrait photographer.  Landscapes and Architecture are not my forte.  But, I had an idea for a picture, and I was going to make it a reality.  Also, I don't typically shoot at night, or in the dark.  So, getting my camera settings straight required some time.

Normally I shoot on a tripod.  It keeps my camera steady, and alleviates my arms from having to lug around the weight of my camera rig.

In this situation I was shooting at 1/50th of a second.  For you non-photo folks, this is a pretty slow shutter speed.  If my muscles had twitched, I might have ended up with a blurry image.

With a little patience, having to wait for pedestrian traffic to clear away from the building, and listening to my knees knock against each other, I managed to capture my image.

With one click of the shutter, I knew I had it.  That is a pretty exciting feeling.  Of course, I did manage to take 50-60 other images that evening, but none compared to what I felt about this particular image.

Sure, I could have walked the streets of D.C. and taken some portraits of folks out and about. I guess I was more interested in the message this picture sends.  

Maybe I'll get back there some day and manage to capture more of the area and more history!

Until then, Enjoy!

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