Sunday Snapshot 13: Crowd Control

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Snapshots. On (most) Sundays, 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 my most memorable moments. Enjoy! 

Crowd Control

My goodness it is crowded in Washington DC in the summer. And hot. Real hot.

And when you're trying to get some cool shots of the monuments and the National Mall, the crowds can feel like a serious hindrance. 

I mean, look at all of them!

I lost count of all the matching T-shirt school groups we walked past, all huddled together in giant clusters of adolescent energy. (You can even see groups three in the picture above.)

After taking so many pictures with crowds in them, I was just about fed up. I was frustrated. I couldn't get a single photo without at least five people in them.

Eventually I succumbed to the fact that the crowds weren't going anywhere. But if I wanted to keep shooting, I was going to have to embrace the crowds. How could I make them work for me? How could I have a little fun with this?

I decided to let the crowds work with me rather than against me. They were welcome in my shots, as long as they were enhancing my photos' stories rather than distracting from them. That's where the steps photo (above, left) came from. I wanted to capture the crowds at the monuments in a unique way.  A picture of the Reflecting Pool with hundreds of people running around in the foreground (above, right) is an obvious shot. But letting the crowds become the subject of your shot isn't.

In the photo below I again embraced the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial, but in a different way. I wanted a shot of the Washington Monument framed by the Lincoln Memorial's stately pillars, but I couldn't frame the shot low enough to fit Washington without people blocking the best parts. So I shifted my perspective up. Since I was carrying around nothing but a 10-18mm wide angle lens (my 24-105mm was in the shop) I could capture nearly the full height of Lincoln's pillars, and the Washington Monument, with just enough of the crowds to anchor the photo and add some context.  

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this photo. To me, it's an interesting take on an obvious composition. 

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below!