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National Building Museum: An Architectural Photography

at Washington Photo Safari - Judiciary Square

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Judiciary Square
401 F St NW
Btwn 4th and 5th Sjutreets NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20001
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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 7 and older
Average Class Size: 12
Teacher: E. David Luria

What you'll learn in this on location photography class:

National Building Museum: An Architectural Photography Workshop

One of Washington’s least known but most beautiful attractions is the National Building Museum, formerly known as the Pension Building. Built in the late 19th century as a workplace for the hundreds of clerks who wrote out pension checks for the Civil War veterans, the National Building Museum boasts a huge 12-story atrium supported by massive faux marble columns, creating a magnificent space often used for Presidential inaugurations.

Due to the pandemic, it has been closed since March of 2020 and is just now reopening for visitors.

With its lovely fountain, its magnificent faux-marble columns and the huge atrium, the National Building Museum provides excellent opportunities to learn architectural photography, experimenting with narrow and wide depth of field, slow and fast shutter priorities, and the effect of wide angle, normal, and telephoto lenses on depth of field.

This workshop in exterior and interior architectural photography, led by architectural photographer E. David Luria begins outside in Judiciary Square, where we photograph the impressive National Law Enforcement Memorial with the Museum as a backdrop. Then we photograph the impressive exterior of the Museum before going inside to photograph the architecturally unique interior from the upper floors, and finally visiting one of the exhibits.

Your safari fee includes admission to the Museum and all its exhibits, including a special one on architectural photography entitled: Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer which focuses on the work of the prominent architectural photographer and his iconic portraits of works by some of the world’s most influential designers and firms, as well as personal images and artifacts that shed light on the photographer’s work. Karchmer, one of the leading architectural photographers in the DC area, has bequeathed his professional archives to the museum’s permanent collection.

Basic equipment needed to do quality architectural photography:

  • Any camera will do, but for best results we recommend: any DSLR or mirrorless camera of at least 10MP
  • wide-angle lens (12-18mm or 10-20mm for digital DX cameras
  • 14-24 or 16-24 mm for full frame/FX cameras
  • circular polarizer filte
  • Telephoto lenses are also useful to capture architectural detail
  • Tripods are optional

Camera should have ability to manually adjust shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance settings.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Full refund if cancellation is received 7 or more days prior to the start of class.


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Washington Photo Safari

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401 F Street, NW, top of Judiciary Square (Red Line) Metro escalator, Building Museum exit. Limited free street parking available as parking fees are not enforced by DC during pandemic.

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Reviews of Classes at Washington Photo Safari (7)

School: Washington Photo Safari

Washington Photo Safari

Washington Photo Safari teaches the techniques of photography by taking visitors and local residents on half-day and full-day photo shoots around key sites of the nation’s capital and other cities, while an accompanying professional photographer offers participants extensive tips in camera use, image...

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