I was working near D.C. yesterday and happen to have my gear with me. I got off about mid afternoon and drove into the city with the intention of paying my respects to Nelson Mandela at the South African Embassy (a post on that later). After doing so, I thought I would maybe hit a neighborhood for a few shots and go home. The only problem was that the sun was going down and I would not have time to figure out which area I would shoot, much less driving there, parking, and the rest. After thinking about it, I decide to just go home. On the way, I happen to drive past the Washington National Cathedral. At the time (about 3:30 pm) I could see that the sun was setting on the front of the building giving it this beautiful golden glow. This is what photographers refer to as the “Golden Hour”. It’s the time in early morning or late afternoon when the sunlight is a bit softer and you get that yellow or red tone to an image and not the harsh bright light of the mid day sun.
Parking in this area is notoriously bad and I wasn’t willing to pay the ten bucks for parking in the cathedral garage, so I drove around the neighborhood looking for a spot. Time was ticking, and I was afraid that if I got a spot too far away, the sun would be gone by the time I got to the cathedral. Fortunately I snagged a good (albeit tight) space about a half a block from where I wanted to be. When I got to the church I just started clicking away. I should also mention that at this point I had my 50 my camera and in a perfect world I would have a wide angle zoom instead, but all this means is that I would have to work a bit harder to get the shots I wanted. I furiously worked my way around the building knowing that I was losing daylight, all the while stopping to take in the awe of this gothic masterpiece. All in all I had a lot of fun despite the pressure I put on myself to get my shots right.
On a side note, in 2011 we had an earthquake hear on the east coast that as many of you know damaged some major landmarks here in D.C. The Washington National Cathedral was one that suffered some of that damage. For those of you who would like to learn about that damage and maybe donate if possible, the link for this is HERE. I don’t usually ask for such things on this site, but it would be nice to see this beautiful old church restored to her former glory.
Canon 5D markII, EF 50 1.2 L, ISO 160, 1/640 @ f/8