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St. John’s: “Church of the Presidents” – at Holiday Time

Photograph St. John's Church - the Church of Presidents - Decorated for the Holidays!

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True to our years-long tradition of bringing clients to the BEST places in town, Washington Photo Safari has now been given an exclusive opportunity to photograph inside the historic St. John’s Church on Lafayette Square, right across from the White House, beautifully decorated at holiday time.

Known as the “Church of the Presidents” because every President since James Madison has attended services here, St. John’s was designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and constructed in 1816. Throughout its history, St. John’s has held services commemorating historic events, including pre-Inauguration worship services for Presidents of the United States.

The 25 beautiful stained-glass windows in the church were designed by the Lorin firm in Chartres, France. They depict stories of Jesus and St. John. The pews seen today were originally installed in 1843. One of the church’s most interesting features is the “Lincoln Pew”, in the very last pew before the exit door, where, during the Civil War, President Lincoln would slip quietly in and out for private contemplation and meditation.

At holiday time the Church is adorned with beautiful decorations to celebrate the season. Our safari, led by architectural photographer and Washington Photo Safari director E. David Luria, will provide lessons in architectural church and stained-glass window photography, with Mr. Luria giving each client tips on exposure, composition, white balance and ISO settings. After spending an hour in the church, we will photograph the exterior of the church and its adjoining parish House and other buildings. Tripods are allowed.

Any camera will do, but for best results we suggest cameras with adjustable shutter speeds and Manual Mode, plus wide angle (10-20mm or 16-24mm) lenses and telephoto lenses (70-200, or 70-300mm) for those stained-glass window close-ups. Late-model smartphones are perfectly acceptable for this safari.