WW II Memorial at night
Last week, I decided to make my first visit to the MLK Memorial, which opened last year on the tidal basin, south of the National Mall. I figured I’d take some photos at sunset but the steady stream of tour bus traffic was a major turnoff. The night wasn’t a total waste, as I stopped by the National World War II Memorial on the walk back. I didn’t have a lot of time but used my Gorillapod to take some long exposure shots.
The WWII Memorial sits in between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument and is in the section of the National Mall that includes the Vietnam Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. During the day, I think the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial are the more popular draws. You really can’t match the visual impact of the Vietnam War Memorial — it just has a solemn, overwhelming presence. The Korean War Memorial, with its statues of soldiers on patrol, puts visitors “there.” The World War II Memorial, on the other hand, is a little more all over the place with its symbolic pillars and other various monuments.
At night, however, it’s a different story. The World War II Memorial literally transforms as the lights illuminate the fountain and cast interesting shadows on the pillars.
The pool has two big fountains on each end with a ring of water spouts all the way around. Looking west, you can frame the Lincoln Memorial and to the east, the Washington Monument.
While I’d recommend a tripod for a night shoot, there are enough walls and benches to sit a camera on that you could actually make do without one.
However, if you’re looking to shoot the fountain while it’s lit up, you’ll have to do it after sunset, rather than before sunrise as the lights shut off at some point during the night.