Dramatic Clouds at the U.S. Capitol

Yesterday, I went scouting at the U.S. Capitol for some shots I plan to take this spring.

I was looking for some blooming flowers and after a while of searching, found none. One of the fundamentals of successful photography (in my opinion and that I teach during my workshops), is to come with a plan, but be flexible.

Since I didn’t find the flowers I was looking for, I shifted to plan B. Upon arrival on the scene, I could see some pretty intense cloud formations brewing above me. The forecast was for a cold front and showers for later in the evening, so I knew there was a possibility of some texture in the clouds. I decided to shift gears and try to get some dramatic looks of the U.S. Capitol with these clouds looming above.

I observed clouds collecting and moving feircely just to the left of the U.S. Capitol. As the building is rather symmetrical, I I decided on a center composition and got into place. The clouds were racing across the sky, and I decided to use a longer shutter speed to accentuate their motion while retaining their texture (too long of shutter speed and the clouds would look milky smooth, without texture):

Dark storm clouds race over the U.S. Capitol just after sunset.

Dark storm clouds race over the U.S. Capitol just after sunset.

Almost like clockwork, after sunset the city lights of Washington, D.C. turn any low clouds into a stark pink color before orange later in the evening. I waited for after the sun had set for this color to take hold, and take hold it did. I also observed the moon peeking through the clouds: still be visible to the Eastern horizon as it continued its ascent. I waited for a gap in clouds to emphasize the moon against the deep blue sky, and used a wide angle to show the scene over the U.S. Capitol building:

The moon rises through pink clouds, illuminated by the setting sun and city lights of Washington, D.C.

The moon rises through pink clouds, illuminated by the setting sun and city lights of Washington, D.C.

Remember that all of my prints are 25% off until April 15th, 2013 🙂

While I didn’t achieve my objective in scouting the U.S. Capitol grounds for blooming flowers, I did come away with some images I enjoyed, and even more, some ideas for next time’s outing.

TILL NEXT TIME!

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