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Our 10 Favorite Places to Photograph in DC in the Winter

February 15, 2024 by Marie Joabar

Winter is still a great time to get out and photograph, we just have to give more thought about where to go.  

Below you’ll find Marie Joabar’s and Geoff Livingston’s favorite places to shoot in DC in the winter. Add a few of your own ideas to the mix and there’ll be no excuse for not getting out there with your camera.

If shooting outdoors we’ll just need to train our eye to find beauty in sparse scenes. In wide landscapes, look for shapes, patterns and structure. Getting closer, we can find tighter intimate shots too. If indoors is more your style, we’ve got some great spots for that too.

Marie’s Faves

1. The National Arboretum 

In the winter, sunrise is so late you can catch it coming thru the columns when the park is open. In Feb, capture the amazing golden light just after sunrise and before sunset.

2. Our Local Ice Skating Rinks

Use a slow shutter to purposely blur your skaters but get some stop action shots too. These also offer great opportunities for candid shot of people watching the skaters. Check out the rink in the center of the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and the Georgetown rink at Washington Harbor.

3. Constitution Gardens

For wildlife lovers, in January and February the pond offers the opportunity to photograph ducks and various other waterfowl. Also a good spot to find some pretty winter landscape scenes.

4. Great Falls on Maryland Side

Both sides are great to shoot in the winter but I like the Maryland side as it offers the Old Tavern, the towpath and C & O Canal as well. Find beautiful views of the Potomac from the overlooks and some smaller falls on the way to and from the overlooks. You might also find some intimate scenes along the canal and if you lwalk along the towpath.

5. Washington National Cathedral

In winter find the low angle sunlight coming thru the stained-glass windows and dancing along the floor. It looks like a kaleidoscope! Head to the upper level and find really fun light and shadows as well as repeating arches and columns.

Geoff's Faves

6. Union Station

The iconic pillars and arches outside can make stunning black and white shots. The main hall with people rushing by. Look up and find statues framed in alcoves. On the inner section of the station, creatively frame the staircases, bridges and ceiling. 

7. National Building Museum

So much great light in this building. Architecturally it’s fun to pick apart, find amazing arches and repeating pillars throughout, as well as fun angles, lines and patterns. Don’t miss the iconic shot of the main hall taken from the second level.   

8. National Gallery of Art East Bldg

Creatively capture the light tunnel by artist Leo Villareal on the lower level, the iconic criss cross staircase, the ceiling and wall art throughout the museum, and don't miss the diamon spiral staicase tucked in a corner. 

9. The Philips Collection

Have fun shooting the beautiful spiral staircase, the traditional wooden stairwell, and of course all the beautiful hallways and art make for great framing for street photographers. With the framed art work, try to isolate pieces of it instead of the whole painting.

10.  Alexandria Waterfront   

Sunrise and sunset along the river with the Wilson Bridge make stunning compositions. Wander the harbor area, the quaint shops and historic streets. From Jones Point Park at the base of the Wilson Bridge to the Wilkes street tunnel, there is no shortage of photo ops. (OK so it's slightly outside of DC but who’s checking)

Don’t let the cold keep you from your photography! Hoping you might enjoy some of our favorites or find some of your own.