Full Moon D.C. Monument Walk
Growing up and living in the D.C. area, I don't always think about spending my time at the major tourist spots like the monuments along the National Mall. Aside from occasional museum visits, I try to avoid tourists as much as possible as I go about my daily life. But every once in a while, it's nice to be a tourist for a day in your own city and appreciate what’s right in your backyard.
The national monuments are nice in the daytime, but they're especially beautiful at sunset and at night. I took an evening walk past the monuments during a full moon and, tourists or not, you can get some great views of the monuments and the sunset from their steps. For complete peace and quiet, you may have to visit late at night, but only do this with a group of people to stay safe. I did this once on a whim with a group of friends at around 1 am and it is still one of my favorite memories.
To make sure you get the best photos possible, here's a tip for cutting crowds of people out of your photos: Kneel down and take the photo at an upward angle. This will usually cut out the crowds. This is what I did to get the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial photo above, when there was actually a few dozen people surrounding the base of the monument and everyone was struggling to take their own crowd-free pictures.
This technique doesn't work as perfectly at monuments with steps, like the Jefferson or Lincoln Memorials, but it still cuts out some of the crowd and makes the monuments appear even more majestic. That being said, people don’t automatically have to ruin a photo if they are captured in an artistic way—see the young boy running up the stairs of the Jefferson Memorial.