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Washington DC: A Photographer’s Paradise

Cradling the child in her arms, her left elbow thrust forward, the woman stands resolute, determined to protect the baby as she watches her home collapse in an earthquake.

This scene takes place 24 hours a day in Washington DC, one block from the White House, on the grounds of the headquarters of the American Red Cross. It is depicted in the “Motherland” statue by the Armenian sculptor Sacoyan, who crafted this dramatic statue as a gesture of thanks to the American people for the help they gave to Armenia through the American Red Cross during the severe earthquake in 1988.

And it is but one of hundreds of unique, often little-known,  photo opportunities that exist here in the nation’s capital, which I call “ a photographer’s paradise.”

Washington, DC offers more than famous landmarks and monuments.    Like Paris, it is also a “City of Light” caused by the building height restrictions that allow light to flood the streets and parks and neighborhoods of the city.  Often called “Paris on the Potomac,” Washington DC offers many monuments similar to those seen in Paris: Washington’s gothic-style National Cathedral is reminiscent of Notre Dame Cathedral; Arlington Memorial Bridge on the Potomac is patterned after “Pont Neuf” on the Seine in Paris; and the U.S. Capitol Building got many of its design cues from the Pantheon Dome in Paris.

The favorite tourist locations in Washington DC offer obvious picture possibilities: the Presidential memorials, the famous view down the Reflecting Pool, the awesome grandeur of the Lincoln statue, the pair of hands taking a rubbing off the Vietnam Wall, the grandeur of the U.S. Capitol building, the fear etched on the faces of the soldiers at the Korean War Memorial, the Army nurse at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial trying to keep a wounded soldier alive until a Medevac chopper arrives, or the magnificent view of DC’s monuments from the Iwo Jima Memorial and Netherlands Carillon in Arlington.

But there is so much more to photograph at places often undiscovered by tourists: the tulip gardens at the Franciscan Monastery in northeast DC; the whimsical “Thinker on a Rock” statue at the National Sculpture Garden; the giant blue rooster on the roof of the refurbished East Building of the National Gallery of Art; the incredible stained glass windows of Washington National Cathedral; the men in the Depression-era breadline at the FDR Memorial;  the reflection pond at the  National Museum of the American Indian in the golden glow of sunrise; the inlaid bas-relief depictions of famous  battles at the Navy Memorial; the poignant vanguard of African-American  soldiers protecting their families at the African-American Civil War Memorial in Shaw; and the little-known Titanic Memorial on the DC waterfront,  a tribute “to the men of the Titanic, who gave their lives so that the women and children might be saved.”

Best of all, of course, is that once-a-year, 14-day long phenomenon of nature we just had in DC known as cherry blossom season.  These blossoms that ring the Tidal Basin and Ohio Drive are just phenomenal in their pink and white beauty. The cherry blossom season stretches from the last weekend in March to the middle of April.

Ok, now you know!

E. David Luria


Washington Photo Safari


Join David or one of our team of professional photographers on a photo safari!  It’s the best way to get hands-on instruction on photography.  Plus, we know all the best places to take you in DC!

See a full list of our safaris here!  Or take a private photo safari with one of our instructors.


Got questions?  Email us at!

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