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Christmas at National Harbor

Practice slow shutter speed night photography as you capture the brilliant colors of Christmas at National Harbor!

Quick Details


The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor opened on April 1, 2008 in Oxon Hill, Maryland, and during the Holidays, the entire resort transforms into a holiday wonderland with more than 2 million lights, more than 10,000 ornaments, and miles of garland.

There is a brand new 60-foot RGB tree which comes to life nightly in the heart of the Waterfront District. The breathtaking light show dances alongside a holiday medley performed by the United States Air Force Band. On Saturdays, the show begins at 5:30pm and is accompanied by fireworks.

In addition to practicing our long shutter speed photography skills to capture the RGB tree, the spinning 175-foot Capital Wheel and fireworks, we will photograph The Awakening sculpture on the beach.

The Awakening is a 72-foot statue by J. Seward Johnson, Jr. that consists of five separate pieces of metal and depicts a giant man embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. The sculpture was originally installed by the artist at Hains Point in Washington, D.C. in 1980 as part of Washington, DC’s 11th annual Sculpture Conference. Hains Point was designated by Congress as the site for a National Peace Garden in 1987, but after many years of no progress on the creation of the garden, The Sculpture Foundation sold the sculpture.

Milton Peterson purchased the sculpture for over $700,000 in 2007 for installation at National Harbor. In February 2008, crews removed The Awakening from Hains Point and moved it to National Harbor, installing it on a specially built beach along the Potomac River.

We will also walk over to the Gaylord Resort to photograph the Holiday decorations in the Atrium of the hotel.

Bring a tripod, a remote release and a wide angle prime or zoom lens.

In addition to driving and parking (for a fee) at National Harbor, there is bus access to National Harbor from the Southern Avenue Metro station on the Green Line, and there is also the Water taxi from Alexandria.