Photographing the Lincoln Memorial

Visiting the Lincoln Memorial was a memorable experience as it's such an important historical spot.  It was built and commissioned in 1922.  Dr. Martin Luther King gave his powerful "I have a dream" speech here in 1963.  From an architectural point of view, the building is quite special as well.  The spacious interior chamber measures sixty feet from the floor to ceiling.  More specs are available here.

Photographically speaking, this place brings up a few questions like: 1) How do I photograph a monument that is packed with people without getting them in the frame?  2) How do I make a unique photo when millions of people have photographed this before?  Details on how I approched it are below.

Waiting for a break in the crowds was not possible.  This place is teeming with people from all over the world.  Lincoln is situated higher though, about 10-15 feet above the floor.  The simple solution was to raise the angle of my camera so the tourists are out of the picture.  Of course any time you have your camera angled up, you will get perspective distortion (slanted lines, columns, etc).  I was OK with this, and actually got up close to the columns to incorporate them into the composition.  This allowed me to show the awesome ceiling panels, made of Alabama marble saturated with melted beeswax for translucency.  I opted to manually focus on Lincoln. This forced me to be more creative, and look beyond the nine autofocus points of the camera.  

When I was finished, my wife took an iPhone snap of me in front of honest Abe.  


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