Washington National Cathedral - An Insider’s View - Washington Photo Safari - Washington DC Professional Amateur Photography Field Trips Workshops Classes Training Institution

Washington National Cathedral - An Insider’s View

Washington National Cathedral - An Insider’s View

This superb photograph  by architectural photographer Colin Winterbottom, official photographer of Washington National Cathedral, was taken from the  exact same location where we take you on this safari: the rooftop rain gutter on the eastern end of the Cathedral's 7th floor

You will be able to capture this scene and many other unique images of the Cathedral by joining this special safari conducted by Washington National Cathedral in cooperation with Washington Photo Safari.

One of the most beautiful churches in Washington DC, Washington National Cathedral took 83 years to build and was only finished in 1990, A superb example of our 12th century Gothic architecture built entirely of Indiana limestone, the Cathedral offers great opportunities for exterior and interior architectural photography.

Our safari begins with an orientation by architectural photographer, E. David Luria and by Cathedral docent and amateur photographer Andy Bittner who specializes in stained glass projected light photography. We are then led by Andy to locations inside the Cathedral not open to the public, and we teach you how (and how not) to photograph stained glass windows and church interiors without flash. We take you not only to the rooftop gutters but also to the Choir Loft right under the Rose Window for a spectacular birds-eye view of the Cathedral Nave, and to the Upper Triforium for a straight shot at some of the most beautiful stained glass windows you will find anywhere on earth.

We then move outdoors to catch exterior views of the Cathedral, with special emphasis on maintaining straight verticals.

At each point on our safari we will review techniques of composition, exposure and lighting. Any camera will do but for the best results, we suggest you bring a wide angle lens equivalent to about 10=20mm, a circular polarizing filter, a telephoto of at least 200mm, and enough  media and batteries for about 200 exposures, at ISO's varying from 200 to 32000.. For the interior shots, you ARE allowed to bring a sturdy tripod for this safari.

Don’t get discouraged if it is cloudy or rainy that day. Cloudy is good and provides evenly lit scenes and rain gives us nice reflections on the sidewalks.

Photo:  Colin Winterbottom


I just want to thank you so much for the safari yesterday. I learned a lot from you and your colleague, Andy Bittner.  It was extremely interesting to see inside the cathedral and hear about its history, it was a nice atmosphere and it was also fun! I have done other photography courses including being outdoors and photographing with a teacher and a group of students...but none of them did not even come close to the quality of the safari with you yesterday. So thank you so much.

Maude S.,  Stockholm, Sweden 

Safari Details:

Fee includes $10 donation to Friends of the National Cathedral.  Meet at Wisconsin Avenue entrance to the Cathedral.

Register early, this one always fills up quickly!

About the Instructor:

E. David Luria is founder and director of the Washington Photo Safari.  He is a commercial photographer specializing in architecture, editorial, event, food, art/still life and landmark photography.. He and his team of 11 instructors have trained over 36,000 amateur photographers since 1999. 

A member of the American Society of Media Photographers and the Society of Photographic Educators, he has had his images of the National Capital Area appear in over 100 national and local publications and in calendars of the US . Capitol Historical Society.

David is a graduate of Amherst College and studied photography in Paris with a protege of Henri Cartier Bresson.