Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

This is the first time I went back to DC after I got my first DSLR, Nikon D3100, about two months ago. In order to wander around freely with my camera all day, I was being such an asshole that I didn’t tell anyone I was in town. One of my mission was to shoot (from) Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial at sunrise. Some dreamy ideal shots that I fantasized about were: warm and orange early sunlight shining on Lincoln’s face; the sun, Washington Monument and the Capitol dome; and pretty sunrise sky with orange and purple clouds and their reflection on the Vietnam War Memorial.

Of course, I failed.



Lincoln Memorial at 7:20 a.m. in late August.

My first attempt was on August 29. On the previous night, weather forecast said it would be foggy from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. I was only in town for two and a half days, so I thought I would get up early anyway. Maybe being foggy from 5 to 10 means that the fog may be pretty heavy and I might get a cool picture of the Monument in the fog, right? I certainly was not that lucky. I got up at 4:45 a.m. and took a bus to foggy bottom. As I walked closer and closer to the Lincoln Memorial, I realized my stupid timing.

March on Washington. The day before was the 50th anniversary of March on Washington. All the setting was still up and the Lincoln Memorial was not open.

Heavy fog did not come down to make any pretty scene. The sky was gray the whole time. At 7 in the morning in DC on a weekday, I honestly didn’t know anywhere I could go besides the zoo. So I lingered for a while at the lake near the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial and hung out with ducks that would not pose for me near the reflection of the Washington Monument in a puddle.

星期三晚上到DC,鬧鐘設在早上4:40,前一天半夜氣象報告說從早上五點到十點會有霧,在DC時間也不多,決定還是早起去看看,天氣不好就當作場勘,霧如果很重的話,說不定可以拍到雲霧繚繞的華盛頓紀念碑 。這天是8月29,早上起床坐公車到foggy bottom,走進林肯紀念堂眼看不對才想到,我真會挑時間,前一天是March on Washington五十週年,看台和椅子都還沒拆,林肯紀念堂被封起來……

當然我沒有運氣好到只去一次就遇到漂亮的霧,這天早上整個天空非常醜地又灰又暗,有日出跟沒日出沒兩樣,早上七點坐在林肯紀念堂前面的階梯吃granola bar,這個時間大概只有動物園是開的…最後在湖邊浪費生命拍鴨鴨,鴨鴨也不想要配合一點幫我站在有華盛頓紀念念碑倒影的水灘。

Saturday was my last day in town. I thought I would give it another shot. My friend Elisa was surprisingly motivated enough to get up early and go with me. That made my day. The sky was not beautiful and the sunrise was bland. All my good shots had her silhouette that made the scene interesting.

That morning the sunlight was not strong enough to light up front row pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and thus I didn’t get pictures of those pillars in good contrast or layer. Also, lesson learned: in late August, the sun is way toward the north.


Lincoln Memorial sunrise

I guess we will try this again later this year. Maybe in December when Christmas trees are up.


Washington Monument and Reflecting Pool

One thought on “Sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial

  1. Pingback: Ben and the Flags at the Old Post Office Pavilion | Near and Far

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