I admire photographers who undertake a mission to take at least one image every day for a specified period of time, often an entire year. I don’t think I could pull that off, but they have a point. One needs to keep practicing their craft so it’s a good idea to get out fairly often even if you don’t have a specific subject in mind. So one afternoon last week I went out for a “practice session.” The following images were all taken within about 90 minutes.
US Botanical Garden and US Capitol Building
I just happened to catch a glimpse of this view as I was walking toward the Disabled Veterans Memorial. I stopped and tried a few variations even though though the plants were in shadow.
Late Afternoon, Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
The late afternoon sun was doing a nice job illuminating the west end of the Rayburn House Office Building and the lack of wind made it possible to capture a nice reflection in the Memorial’s pool. I’m not thrilled with this angle, however, and another session might be a good idea.
Heading back toward the Capitol Building, I was confronted with this composition and set down the tripod, hoping that I could get a picture before I was discovered by the ever vigilant Tripod Police. There is nothing that motivates one to photograph quickly and efficiently like the knowledge that people with weapons are looking for you.
U.S. Capitol Building and the “Artillery” Sculpture
This image of the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial shows a portion of one of the large sculptures flanking the Grant stature about 100 feet to the left. This has always been a highly dramatic sculpture but now, with the bizarre appearance of the Capitol Building, their pose of wild panic might be viewed with a different interpretation than originally intended by the sculptor.
Evening, Ulysses S. Grant Statue and U.S. Capitol Building
This was the last image of the evening. I decided not to press my luck any longer with the the Tripod Police. Plus, I had added a number of images to my inventory documenting this stage of the Capitol Dome Restoration Project.
Beautiful photos, love the last shot. It gives the Capitol building a look of a night gem.
And yes I quite agree with you, keep shooting regardless of medium, it hones your sight to spot moments unplanned and rare.
Thanks very much for your comments. It’s good to hear from you. Yes, the new lighting with the scaffolding does create a unique effect. I am wondering if they plan to wrap the plastic (now on part of the back side) around the entire scaffolding arrangement. If so, this will dramatically change how it looks in a very short time.
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Hi Robin, I love your comment about the tripod police, they are everywhere. I understand not using a tripod in confind areas such as buildings, but in a park seems unnecessary. I am one of those people that decided to take my camera out for a walk everyday and I have seen a big improvement in my work. But I think there has to be a lesson plan, or learning goals for the time to be most effective.
I do not go anywhere without my camera and try to go out shooting several times a week. I’ve been a bit uninspired lately with the onset of stick season (the time between the end of fall foliage and when snow blankets the world). Do you always shoot with a tripod?
Interesting point on your always carrying a camera. I don’t do that as a general rule, partly in fear that I won’t get to my destination, distracted by the appearance of something that I should photograph. Does that ever happen to you? To answer your question, I don’t always use a tripod. The usual factor driving the decision is shutter speed. When the scene is well illuminated with plenty of light, the shot can be done without a tripod. But most of the time, I am shooting at twilight and with an aperture of f/16 to maximize depth of field. In those situations, a tripod or some other way to stabilize the camera is essential. “Stick Season.” Now that’s a cool expression, I’m adding it to my vocabulary. Down here in the DC area, a nice blanket of snow is a rare occurrence so stick season lasts a really long time. Thanks for your comments and question. Always nice to hear from you.
I don’t take a photo every single day, but I continue to work on increasing my shooting frequency to that level. However, I *do* post a new image every day; I find that creating something early in the mornings before I head off to work is very satisfying to me, helps to keep my interest level high, and gets my juices going.
Robin, I meant to ask — do the Tripod Police bother you *because* it’s a tripod? Or is it due to the size of the tripod? I ask because I was wondering if they are equally zealous in pursuing photogs that use table tripods or mini-tripods.
I *always* carry a tiny table tripod with me (and cannot recall ever having been challenged while using it), but I’m beginning to use my regular tripod now that I’m getting back into shooting film, so I expect to be on their radar soon.
Hi, Mitch: The specific reasons vary from officer to officer, so a hard and fast rule is difficult to define. I have a fairly standard size tripod, but it’s not one of those heavy duty monsters that can support long glass lenses that weigh 6 pounds or more. But big enough to indicate the user is a serious photographer. I would guess that using a smaller table top model would bring fewer inquires as would on of those Joby Gorilla pods. Virtually all of my encounters have been polite exchanges so it’s not unpleasant when they do come up. My view is that a calculated risk is often warranted if you see something you really want to photograph. A sincere apology and immediate compliance keeps things civilized. Interior shots aside (permission needed almost everywhere), the two main areas where enforcement is fairly consistent are the grounds of the US Capitol Building and around the White House. Starting in December, the Capitol should be OK. I’ll be checking into that in a couple weeks and will post what I find out. Good luck!
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Good to know — thank you for the detailed response!
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I have never thought of them as the Tripod Police haha. Great post about photographing quite often, perhaps the biggest mistake I had made when starting out and only recently have I realised that the more I photograph the more I have learnt about what I am doing wrong (or right). I quite like the scaffolding in the photographs, especially in the penultimate shot – there is something about the lights and blue hour that give it an ever so slight scifi feel.
Thanks for the comments. I agree, shooting frequently helps one to recognize problems and work on solving them which leads to better results (and a happier photographer).
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