Sunday Snapshot 10: Observations at the Air and Space Museum

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Snapshots. Each Sunday, I’ll post a favorite photo from my collection and share a little bit about it. You’ll go behind the scenes on some of our most memorable moments. Enjoy! 

Observations at the Air and Space Museum

This photo is from Vince’s and my early June trip to Washington DC. We flew in a few days early for my friend's wedding so we could see some extra sightseeing!

This was an interesting trip for me, photographically speaking. At the time my bread-and-butter lens, my 24-105mm - was in Canon’s capable hands being fixed. (I dropped it last September and damaged the auto-focus mechanics.) That meant I only had my 10-18mm and 200mm lenses to work with! So I could either take photos of vast spaces, or really up close.

Something about the security measures in DC made me reluctant to walk around with a 12-inch lens. I therefore opted to get really well acquainted with my 10-18mm wide angle lens.

If I had to choose a trip to be stuck in this situation, I definitely would have picked this very trip. Wide angle lenses are actually really great in museum and close-up settings. You can capture a ton within one frame, which is great in settings like tight museums. You can also play around with angles to create more interesting compositions within your photos, as in the case of this photo of the Wright brothers’ very first plane. Anyone can go online and see postcard-esque photos of a museum exhibit, but a wide angle lens gives you the power to bring new life and interest to the exhibits you experience in your travels.

I captured this shot at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum located along the National Mall. I’ve visited this museum twice now and really enjoy it. (But I love all things space, so I’m definitely a bit biased.)

The impressive-looking equipment featured in this photo are a set of F-1 rocket engines housed in the Apollo to the Moon exhibit. Walking through this exhibit, I first focused on taking mundane full-frontal shots of the rockets. Because of my wide angle lens, I could capture every inch of these massive rockets in one shot, but the composition wasn’t very exciting. 

As I walked around the rockets towards the rest of the exhibit, I looked back to see where the rest of my group was. Turning around put this shot very into perspective for me. I quickly positioned my camera on the edge of a railing for stability and clicked away. My goal was to capture the movement of museum guests as they walked past these massive Space Age relics. I had to wait a few moments for the right spacing and number of people to walk into my shot.

Overall I’m pleased with this shot and how it captures vacationers in their natural vacationing habitat, while still showing off an impressive piece of the museum’s collection. Museums make for great people watching; and, if you're really subtle with your camera you can capture some great shots of people interacting with the exhibits.