08.05.18: Under the dome

A statue of Thomas Jefferson stands in the center of the chamber
of the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C. 


Technical information

Sept. 2, 2016,
12:10 p.m.

38°52'52.999" N 77°2'10.999" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 (10mm) 


1/500th second


Washington, D.C., is a city filled with monuments and memorials.

Many — like the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial — are located along the National Mall, always a destination for tourists. The U.S. Capitol Building is at the west end of the National Mall. Various Smithsonian museums line the north and south sides. And the memorials/monuments I listed are at the east end.

And all of those memorials/monuments are at or near the top of the list of most-visited sites in Washington, D.C. They are easy for tourists to find during their walks.

A trip to the Jefferson Memorial requires a bit more walking. To find it, tourists journey east along the mall, make a left at the Washington Monument and cross a couple of streets to reach a walkway with a view of the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin. To reach the site, tourists must continue walking across a bridge and along the edge of the Tidal Basin.

In my opinion, it’s worth the walk.

The memorial dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president and one of the founding fathers, was completed in 1943. The single chamber in the domed memorial stands 91 feet high and houses a 19-foot-tall, five ton bronze statue of Jefferson. The statue stands on a six-foot pedestal, bringing the total height to 25 feet. From a distance, the Jefferson statue doesn’t seem very tall inside the mammoth chamber. But the size of the statue becomes obvious to an approaching visitor.

I captured this photo during a September 2016 visit to the memorial. I had walked through the chamber, grabbing shots of the statue from various angles as well as photos of the columns. But I wanted a shot that would illustrate the size of the statue and the height of the chamber. I decided to kneel between two of the columns and angle the camera up, creating perspective distortion on the ceiling while keeping the statue straight. I noticed that the angle made the statue look very small in the scene so I waited until someone walked near the statue before taking the shot.

I liked what I saw.

The person in the scene provides a point of reference, making the height of the statue obvious.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.