Note: this photo was published in a Jan 19, 2012 blog titled "Benefactor Matches Congress to Repair Washington Monument." It was also published in a Feb 14, 2012 blog titled "Facebook Statuses Reveal Top 10 Cities for Getting Engaged."
How do you go about photographing something that's already been photographed a gazillion times, like statues or monuments or the Eiffel Tower? Well, I thought one possibility would be to catch some interesting shades of late-afternoon light -- so I showed up at the Lincoln Memorial, in downtown Washington, an hour before sunset. I'm so oblivious that I thought the statue of Lincoln would be facing west, and would thus catch the golden glow of the sun. But it faces east, which makes perfectly good sense when you realize that it's set up so that Lincoln is gazing along the length of the Reflecting Pool, toward the Washington Monument.
And since the sun was already behind the backside of the Lincoln Memorial building, the inner room where Lincoln was sitting was already in deep shadow. Frustrated, I decided to create a few 5-shot HDR composites of the reflecting pool and the Washington Monument. And then I photographed the steps leading up to the Lincoln Memorial, with the happy coincidence of a jet airplane flying overhead to show the contrast between old and new. I also photographed a young teenage girl, who appeared to be pouting on a nearby park bench, as if to say she really didn't want to be there at all ... and that was about as much as I could do.
I came back two days later at the beginning of the day, half an hour before sunrise. It was a good opportunity to get some dawn photos of the reflecting pool and the memorials, and it was also interesting to see the early-morning joggers and tourists. Indeed, I had two interesting little encounters while I was wandering around; I've provided the details in the comments for the relevant photos. I was hoping I might get some good photos of early-morning sunlight streaming into the Lincoln Memorial, but it quickly became evident that it would be another hour or two before the sun was high enough; and since the sky looked a little hazy near the horizon, I wasn't sure there would be any strong rays of sunlight anyway.
So I decided that I'd had enough -- and by 6:30 AM, I was all done, and it was time to return to my hotel for breakfast before heading off to my "day job." I'm still hoping to get some good sunlight shots of the various buildings, but that will have to wait for some other day...