About a year ago, my interest in those must-see locations around DC started to level off. I’d gotten most of the good shots that I was going to get of them. I needed a new challenge. So I started looking for lesser-known spots. In a city like Washington, DC, with so much history and so much fantastic architecture, there was bound to be such places. I looked through photo sharing sites, hoping that people would add a descriptive enough title or caption to their photos or would, even better, geotag them so that I could find some new inspiration. I was surprised to find some amazing photo locations hiding in plain sight. In some cases, I’d walked right by them without a second thought.
If you’re visiting Washington, DC for the first time, you’ll definitely want to see those must-see locations. If you’ve been there, done that on previous trips, if you live in the DC area, or if you’re a hipster photographer that wants to avoid the spots that have been “overdone,” below I provide a list of my favorite Hidden Gems in Washington, DC.
|St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral|
ChurchesI am not religious, but that doesn’t keep me from appreciating a beautiful building when I see one. Some of the most amazing architecture I’ve ever seen has been in churches, synagogues, and mosques. In Washington, DC, the go-to religious venue is Washington National Cathedral. It is an amazing place, but it’s also, currently, covered in scaffolding and construction netting as it is repaired following the August 2011 earthquake. It’s still worth seeing, but you might want to try out these three locations to get your architecture fix.
|The Franciscan Monastery|
The FreemasonsWhen I first moved to DC, someone saw my tourist-like enthusiasm and suggested I read the book The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. The novel is centered around Freemason legends in Washington, DC. The book talks about some of the places around town that have Freemason connections like the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. It also talks about lesser-known Freemason temples. I was intrigued and went to visit. Freemasons don’t consider themselves a religious order, but their buildings are reminiscent of the churches I talked about above.
|The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Temple|
Hiding in Plain SightThere are several small, yet impressive memorials in DC that for my first couple years I zipped right by without much thought. It wasn’t until I stopped and looked that I was drawn in.
|The District of Columbia WWI Memorial|
Out of Sight, Out of MindSeveral great photo locations around DC are far enough out of the way that you’re not going to stumble across them. You might not know they were there unless you came across a pamphlet or a sign.
|The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center|
|Great Falls Park|
Hopefully, this has enticed you to think outside of the box when visiting Washington, DC. There is so much to see and do that it can be overwhelming to fit it into a few days or even a week. If you’re looking for more advice than you see here, please check out my website about photography in DC, PhotoTourismDC. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on Brandonkopp.com.
- Brandon Kopp