Those of us who live in the DC area are truly blessed to have right in our own backyard one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world: Washington National Cathedral. Begun in 1907 with a cornerstone laid by President Theodore Roosevelt and finished in 1990 with a final stone laid by President George H.W. Bush, its 150,000 tons of Indiana limestone make this the sixth largest cathedral in the world and an excellent example of 11th-century Gothic architecture.
Although it suffered $25 million of damage during the 2011 earthquake, the interior repairs have been finished and the cathedral is still a great place to hone your skills in architectural and church photography. And one of the best times to do it is in the early morning light. This is a great time to do interior shots of the Cathedral, especially in the winter months. When the sun is low in the southern and eastern sky, its beams pour through the south-facing stained glass windows of the Nave, projecting a riot of colors from these windows onto the gray stone columns, walls, and floors of the cathedral. The windows of this cathedral are commonly known as “the Jewels of Light.”
This unretouched colorful photo of the southeastern Nave was done with a smartphone. Imagine what you can get with a REAL camera!
After the interior shot of the windows and long shots down the Main Nave, we will also go into the Lower Crypt to photograph the beautiful altars and statuary in that area, followed by a visit to the Observation Gallery on the towering upper level, with its majestic views of the city and of the traditional Gothic flying buttresses that support the cathedral's walls. Then we will go to the adjoining Bishops Garden from which we can get great shots of the cathedral structure in the morning light, best captured with a polarizing filter.
If there is any time left, we can go into the Cathedral cafe, located right next to the Bishops Garden, for a cup of coffee and a croissant!
Click HERE to see a sample of what you will see on this safari!
Washington Photo Safari director and architectural photographer, E. David Luria will guide you as you take your pictures and will provide an explanation of the abstract scenes depicted in the stained glass windows. He will assist you in working your camera on Manual Mode for optimal exposure and also help you improve your color filtration by working with the Kelvin color temperature scale, if your camera is equipped with it.
If the weather is cloudy this Sunday, we will postpone to the following Sunday. Your fee includes a donation to the Cathedral’s earthquake repair funds.
Bring your camera, wide angle and telephoto lenses for this early morning photographic adventure at Washington National Cathedral! Any camera will do, even smartphones. No tripods are needed for this safari.
Meet on front steps of the cathedral at 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW.
Parking is available in the cathedral garage and on adjoining streets. Limit of 5 photographers per safari.
E. David Luria is founder and director of the Washington Photo safari, now celebrating its 15th year teaching photography in the DC area. Trained in Paris by a protégé of Henri Cartier Bresson, Mr. Luria is a member of the American Society of Media Photographers and has had his images of DC appear in over 100 publications, guidebooks and postcards and on 30 magazine covers.
Photo by E. David Luria