December 3, 2020
  • 10:48 PM Advocating for RAW vs JPEG
  • 8:38 PM Patriots at the White House.
  • 8:30 AM Understanding Photography Composition, Part I
  • 9:04 PM The Exposure Triangle
  • 10:59 PM Photographic Exposure: Learn the Fundamentals, part I
  • 2:22 AM Miami Beach South Pointe.
White House Patriots, Washington DC, 2019 © Isabel Sierra

Photographing Historic Buildings with tourists.

The White House is undoubtedly the most famous building in the world. Every day hundreds or thousands of visitors come to see the House and Office of the President of the United States . From the Executive Mansion and the Office of the President come decisions that will affect us all. Always a tourist destination place, this Trump White House is also extremely controversial as I was able to check on this recently, on the past July 3 when I visited the monument in a very hot and bright morning near noon.

I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof. – John Adams, first president to take residence in the building, November, 1800.

What I did once there

There was not a big crowd in front of the building but a trickle of visitors that arrived constantly. Among the latter, I approached to enjoy the monument. Also,  I witness the tremendous performance of two groups of comedians. On the one hand, the lady in my photo and her partner, -dressed as if he was going to fight the war of Independence- and about five meters to the right, there was another character that seemed to be a contestant against the war of Vietnam.

Each group had a microphone and a horn and yelled slogans through the speakers for and against the Trump administration. I think someone else in charge created an intelligent way to have both groups separated and without fights by using professionals, all setbacks avoided this way.

Jacqueline Kennedy: Everything in the White House must have a reason for being there. It would be sacrilege merely to “redecorate” it — a word I hate. It must be restored — and that has nothing to do with decoration. That is a question of scholarship.Interview with NBC News Correspondent Sander Vanocur (1 October 1960)

White House Patriots, Washington DC, 2019 © Isabel Sierra. A group of performers and tourists chanting America the Beautiful.
White House Patriots, Washington DC, 2019 © Isabel Sierra

Many of the tourists, above all the foreigners,  came to the fence to shoot the obligatory photo in front of the White House. In addition, the Nationals stayed a moment around after the famous picture was taken to participate in the performance, near to the microphone that they liked the most.

How I worked 

Very vocal Americans were in favor of the Trump Presidency. Consequently, I decided to use my camera to do some street photography. Hence, the photo that I share today includes the characters that seem to be part of the everyday environment of the place. I set the aperture mode at f/8 with the ISO at 200 and left the camera to settle the speed. Later on, I close the aperture some more during the shooting to get all the elements in focus appropriately. The exposure of this specific frame is  1/250 sec at f/9.5, ISO 200.

After Capturing Post-Processing summary.

As I said before the photograph was taken in very bright noon on a sunny day. Therefore, the capturing part was just the beginning. (see technical data) Then I used Photoshop to bring my vision of what I perceived in real time by using different layers: curves, levels, hue, and saturation, that modify the original; meaning nor the sky neither the people are presented in the profound contrast and bright intensity the scene had.  I played with the settings until I put the lady in red under the spot since she is the vedette of my composition. Above all, I kept the RAW file intact and made several backups during the process.
Bottom line, when photographing historic buildings it is also important to include people related to your subject if they are available. It makes the old structure to look more alive.

Image technical data:

Leica M (Typ 262), Focal Lens Summarit-M 1: 2.5/35, Exposure 1/250 sec at f/9.5, ISO 200

The White House location in the world: 

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

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