Photography Workshop: The National Mall


Saturday’s field assignment for the Weekend Photography Workshop, sequel to an afternoon in Dupont Circle, had us shooting on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. As luck would have it (night owl here) one of the best times to take photographs in daylight is just before and after dawn. That meant rising before 5 a.m.—yawn!—and heading into town to find the solitary figure above silhouetted in early morning light by the Reflecting Pool.


The dawn also yielded long shadows for this vista of the pool and the Washington Monument from within the Lincoln Memorial…


… and it brought out the texture and subtly varied colors of stones in the memorial’s columns.


Abraham Lincoln’s sunken, watchful eyes on huge banners hung before the Lincoln Memorial reminded me of George Orwell’s 1984.


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial’s polished surfaces, etched with the names of Americans who lost their lives in the war, made for poignant reflections, including the one above …

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… and this one.


Remnants of Memorial Day the week before, red flowers by the thousands bedecked the war memorials.


A steady stream of runners jogged past on tree-lined walkways by the Reflecting Pool.


I liked architectural details in the sprawling greenhouse roof of the United States Botanical Gardens.


Panning my camera kept this cyclist in focus before the World War II Memorial and blurred the background to suggest motion. Check the patriotic hat!


This photographer wasn’t with our workshop, but I love his intensity!


Throughout the morning, Nat Geo photographer Mark Thiessen camped near the midpoint of the Mall to coach participants and answer our questions. After finishing the shoot, we returned to headquarters to cull our best images from the morning, and later for a tour of the photo studio. But I’ll save that for another post!

Photographs by Ford Cochran