Washington Landmark + Penumbral Eclipse

If you took my course “Night Photography 111: Catching The Moon” then perhaps you’ve managed to calculate where and when to capture the eclipsed moon over one of our National Landmarks.  Which one?  Let me keep you in suspense for just a little bit longer.

Normally I’d love to share this information widely, but I fear that a large number of photographers might not only attract unwanted attention, it appears that when we published the information about the prime location for the eclipse over the Golden Gate Bridge over 200 people showed up!

Weekend Schedule

Saturday, December 10, 2011:  5:30 AM Meet at Eastern Market Metro Station (don’t be late). Address: 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC end shooting around 7:30 AM, end of the event around 9:00 AM. See below for maps and more details.

Saturday, December 10, 2011: 4:30 PM (Optional) Catch the moon rising behind the Old Post Office Tower and/or the Washington Monument.  See below for details.

Sunday, December 11, 2011: 4:45 PM (Optional) Catch sunset over the city with great views from the 315 foot tall Old Post Office Tower. See the EVENT details on the Night and Low Light Photography Meetup of Stafford, VA for details.  (NOTE: I’ll give preference to anyone who is attending the Eclipse event with me).

What to Bring (all events)

  • Camera, memory cards, extra memory cards, batteries, extra batteries
  • small flashlight
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Release cable / intervalometer (recommended)
  • Telephoto lens (200mm or better recommended)
  • LAYERED clothing including a hat, gloves, scarf, parka
  • Rain-proof covering for yourself and your camera. A shower cap usually is enough for the camera. And emergency poncho may work for yourself.
  • Change/cash for bus/cab/metro fares + beverage or breakfast

Eclipse Event on December 10th, 5:30 AM

Meeting location: Eastern Market Metro station: 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Washington, DC

NOTE: Trains will not be running until after 7 am. You must take a taxi, bus or other transportation to arrive on time. Maximum cab fare within the city is $19.  Could be much more from outside the city.

You’ll know it’s me ’cause I’ll have a red backpack and at least one tripod hanging like a sword on my side. If it’s dark enough I’ll also have a flashing green light hanging on me.

After meeting PROMPTLY at the Metro Station we will be walking one to four blocks south east (as far as 12th street). Exact location will depend on my scouting the day prior.

While walking to the final location, I’ll go over some important points on how to capture the moon and foreground. We begin shooting at about 6:15 AM and shoot until about 7:25 AM – after sunrise.  Then we’ll head to the Starbucks at 401 8th Street SE (1/2 block south from the Eastern Market Metro) – or possibly to Le Pain Quotidien which opens at 8:00 AM to discuss what we’ve done and enjoy a hot beverage and/or breakfast.  By 9:00 or so we’ll be finished and can either take metro from Eastern Market or whatever other arrangements you’ve made.  But don’t forget about the EVENING event!

SATURDAY PM: Moon Rise Behind the Washington Monument

If you attended the Night Photography 111 class you may have noticed that I provided the location for the evening shoot… the shore of the Potomac river on the Mount Vernon trail.

There are two possibilities here: at the waterfront in FRONT of a tree (not sure if there is room), or further away.


While using Google Street View, I noticed another building to the left of the Washington Monument… The Old Post Office Tower.  So it is possible to get the Post Office Tower with the moon behind it first:



Memorial Beacon [C_055580]

As it actually looked!

At 17:14 PM and stay put to catch the moon 4 diameters above the Washington Monument OR move south about 200 feet to catch the moon directly behind the Washington Monument at 17:33 PM.



The vantage point(s) are on Columbia Island along the George Washington Parkway. Easiest way to get the there is: Take Metro to the Arlington Cemetary Station (BLUE line). Exit the metro along Memorial drive east. Follow the pedestrian pathway turning south after crossing the bridge (before the Potomac Bridge).  There will be opportunities to photograph the Lincoln Memorial and other buildings while you’re on your way… so allow plenty of time.  The sun will be at your back so the buildings may look spectacular.

SUNDAY: Post Office Tower

If you hadn’t noticed, the following evening I’m planning to get some evening shots downtown from the Old Post Office Tower.  The group is limited to 12 attendees so join up soon if you’re interested.  It will be REALLY cool to get the moon rising behind it on the 10th and then photograph from it on the 11th.


QUESTIONS About the Eclipse Event

Q: I’ll be using a Canon 50D. I have the following lenses

Canon EF 300m f/4 L
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L
Both the 1.4 and 2X teleconvertors
Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3

Which one do you recommend?

A: Bring them all!  Ok, so that may be impractical in which case the 300mm + 1.4X would be my weapon of choice.  But I’d probably bring the 70-200mm also in case you want to shoot wider.

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