Washington Photo Safari


washington monument, reflecting pool, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopA couple weeks ago when I was worried about how I was going to spend all my free time after Spanish ended and before we departed for post (before we received our travel orders and found out we’d be heading to El Salvador soon), I signed up for a photography workshop: Monuments and Memorials by Washington Photo Safari.lincoln memorial, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopActually I signed up for F-Stops and Shutter Speeds, but apparently no one else did and they had to cancel the class, so I was able to register for the Monuments and Memorials half-day class at no additional cost.Since I bought my Nikon D5100 earlier this summer, I’ve made some attempts at taking interesting pictures. I’ve tried to learn as I go, relying on my camera’s instruction manual, my Nikon D5100 For Dummies book (don’t judge me) and the internets. But that hasn’t really been working out for me.And I really want to be able to take great pictures to document our adventures abroad. So I thought some “formal” instruction might do me some good.washington monument, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopI really enjoyed Washington Photo Safari’s Monuments and Memorials photo workshop and think I learned a lot. It’s definitely for beginners (“how to hold your camera”) but I liked that it covered all the important technical aspects of photography — aperture, shutter speed, ISO settings, white balance, etc. — as well as some compositional elements, like how to frame a picture and position yourself for the best shot.Also, it was 80% photo workshop and 20% DC tour, which was fun for me since as an area native, I’ve taken for granted a lot of the sights Washington has to offer. Sure, I visited many of the museums and monuments on field trips growing up and have done my share of playing tour guide for out-of-town guests, but beyond going on runs around the National Mall, I haven’t done much sightseeing in the time I’ve lived here.For example, I had never been to the Albert Einstein statue outside the National Academy of Sciences until the photo safari. In fact, I’m not sure I even knew it was there, right at Constitution Avenue and 22nd Street.albert einstein statue, national academy of sciences, celestial map, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopWhat? I know. Oh, you knew about it? Whatev.Here are a couple others from the Korean War Veterans Memorial:

korean war memorial, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopkorean war memorial, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshopkorean war memorial, monuments and memorials, washington photo safari, dc photo workshop

Photogs out there: Any photography tips or tricks to share? Favorite equipment or accessories? I am planning to buy a tripod before we leave for post but I want something light enough/small enough to carry on hikes, but sturdy enough to support my camera. And recommendations?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

5 thoughts on “Washington Photo Safari

  1. I especially love the first photo! I’ve always wanted to do one of those classes but I never have so it’s cool to hear about it. I’m horrible at buying camera gear but filters, filters, filters, and a nifty-fifty lens. Also, last year I bought Photoshop Elements. It’s the $80 version of the $600 Photoshop software but, honestly, I’m not entirely sure what I’m missing by having the “cheap” version. You can get much more subtle edits out of Photoshop than you can out of Aviary or iphoto or anything else. I’m going nuts right now using Aviary on Flickr. As soon as we get our big computer back I think I’m going to finally purchase Lightroom which apparently is more useful for editing lots and lots of photos than Elements but Elements is still a great buy.


    1. Thank you! I think you are probably more advanced than the target audience for the workshop I took, but it was a neat experience. The instructor did recommend getting a circular polarizing filter to make the most out of the sunny Central American climate. I kind of feel like I need to get used to the camera and lenses that I have first before I start investing in other equipment. And I haven’t even thought about buying editing software yet!


  2. It definitely looks like you learned something! The photos are great! I tend to favor shots that have an unexpected element as the close up with a nice fade on the background. So my favorite is the shot of the Veterans Memorial with the flowers. Very nice. I second the 50 mm lens. I try to only use that lens, it’s that much better than the one my camera came with. I don’t use filters and I really need to get an editing tool. I’ve heard great things about lightroom but it’s kind of pricey!


    1. Thank you! It was definitely a worthwhile experience. I am looking forward to getting to post and taking pictures. Yeah, I haven’t concentrated on editing very much. I usually just use iPhoto or there are a couple web-based tools, iPiccy and PicMonkey, but I mostly just use auto-adjust functions or the collage function.


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