It had been a few years since my last visit to Washington, D. C. I was pleased my parents wanted to go there on a sightseeing tour when they visited recently. I knew I'd find it challenging to attempt to make interesting images of the many iconic landmarks.
The Washington Monument is visible from most places around the National Mall. I found it particularly challenging, trying to figure out ways to make images of it that are interesting, but also avoid having it included in every image. It offers a great benefit, as well. A trip to near the top of the obelisk provided great views of the city, with miles of visibility on the very clear day.
During previous visits, I hadn't walked around the Tidal Basin to visit memorials honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. The MLK memorial represents passages from his "I Have a Dream" speech. The FDR memorial is a sprawling space and honors the events that occurred during the Roosevelt administration.
The war memorials always cause me to take pause with their reminder of the sacrifices made by so many. The grand scale of the National World War II Memorial is fitting for the scale of the conflict. The ghost-like statues of soldiers in the Korean Veterans War Memorial starkly make the reminder of sacrifice. And, from the time of my first visit, I have always found the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to be extremely moving.
This visit reinforced something I've long known. While the monuments and memorials are a spectacular aspect of Washington, D. C., they would have no purpose without the people visiting them. Trying to make images that captured the spirit of the National Mall caused me to notice a shift I've made in my photography, as I was drawn to scenes with people in them. I appreciated the time there, and look forward to returning.