Colorful Sunrise Over Washington, DC

The Marine Corps War Memorial (also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial) and the Netherlands Carillon are among the best places in the Washington, DC area to photograph sunrises. Though we don’t always love getting up before 6:00 am to capture images of beautiful predawn colors, the opportunity to get pictures of the sky lighting up behind some of the most iconic buildings in the world is hard to pass up!


Located across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA, the park containing these two monuments sit atop the bluffs that overlook the city and offer an clear and unobstructed view of Washington. Thanks to regulations limiting the height of buildings within the nation’s capital, the distinctive outlines of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the United States Capitol are clearly visible along the Washington skyline. Their distinctive silhouettes give sunrise photos a distinctly “DC” feel.


Though we are loyal Nikon photographers (and have been since we first picked up a camera), this particular image was captured with a Fuji X-T2 that we rented for a week from BorrowLenses.com. We had heard good things about the camera and wanted to test-drive it before potentially adding it to our collection of gear. When we took it on this shoot, we were quite happy that the 23mm lens that came with the camera allowed us to get a very wide angle shot and to capture the entire sunrise and the skyline in the image. But what we particularly love about this picture is that even at that wider angle, the trio of famous landmarks are still clearly visible in the center of the bottom of the frame. It certainly helped that the sun happened to be coming up almost directly behind the monuments! This fortuitous alignment both draws the eye to the famous edifices and makes their silhouettes crisper by backlighting them.

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