Avoiding Trouble on Capitol Hill
My original idea was to make a picture of the Capitol as the golden light of sunset bathed the building in warm light. A few clouds quickly doused this plan and left me scrambling for a new option. I decided to head around the back to explore the grounds and possibly find a different kind of composition. I set up my tripod, the camera, flash, and pocket wizards. Took one shot, and the bright light directed security directly to me. "Sir, how are you doing tonight? I know there are no signs but you're not allowed to use a tripod on these grounds". No problem I said politely, after all, he was just doing his job. He said I could continue to shoot as long as I was behind the sidewalk, at least that's what I heard. Disappointed, I kept walking and the sun had already set. Seemed like one of those nights where I would go home with a few shots, but nothing memorable. That was all about to change.
In circling the building, I came upon this beautiful magnolia tree in full bloom and if composed just right, it would frame the Capitol nicely. I went behind the sidewalk to be a good citizen and follow the rules, set my gear up, fired the flash, captured this shot, looked to the left, and you guessed it...a new security guard, only this one was angry. My first instinct was to wave hello, be friendly and explain that I already spoke to security and got the lay of the land. Seems I must have misunderstood, as I was still on the Capitol grounds, and the tripod was not allowed.
I apologized and mentioned that I honestly thought I was OK "way over here". I knew I had this shot in the card, and started to formulate a plan in case he asked me to delete the card. What would I do? Luckily it never came to that. He asked where I was from, and it turns out he dated a girl from my hometown. I apologized again for the inconvenience and thanked him for his understanding. I bid him adieu, grabbed a cab, and reviewed the shot on my LCD. Turned out to be a memorable night afterall.