Beat the Crowds at Tourist Attractions

I recently read an excellent article on how to avoid crowds at popular tourist attractions.  I have a little experience in this area with all my visits to Walt Disney World and other places in the world.

Photographer's shadow is seen in early morning light in front of The Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Getting up early is not only good for photography but lets you beat the crowds at popular tourist destinations like The Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. during school Spring Break time.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV -1.0, 16mm focal length.

My best advice is to get up early in the morning for two reasons:

  1. Golden Hour light before and after sunrise
  2. Very few tourists will be up and around

Even though it is vacation time, the rules of good photography will help you to avoid big crowds.  The hour before and after sunrise is one of the best times to capture amazing light which many people seldom see.  It will make your photography stand out from the rest. This is what I did last year when I visited Washington, D. C.  It was in the middle of Spring Break trips for many middle schools in the United States.  Everywhere I went, there were dozens of school buses dropping off pre-teens at all the buildings, monuments and museums in DC.  One morning, I got up early and walked around The Capitol Building.

The morning was beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky.  The Sun bathed the white marble of The Capitol Building in golden light.  Only a few security guards, workers and a couple of other photographers were there.  It allowed me to get this almost people-free photo using a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX Wide Angle Zoom to get in the entire structure.

The United State Capitol Building in golden sunlight at 7AM in Washington, D.C.

The United State Capitol Building in golden sunlight at 7AM in Washington, D.C.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/100s, f/11, ISO 220, EV -0.3, 16mm focal length.

Click Here if you would like to Buy a Print of The US Capitol Building

The night before, this area was filled with tourists, school groups and locals enjoying the exceptional Spring weather of last year (ah, not this year!).

In contrast, at Walt Disney World, it is better to wait until late at night to get quiet, tourist free photos as the parks are not accessible, for the most part, early in the morning.

I will be back next Friday with another tip for photographing at tourist attractions.

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2 Responses to Beat the Crowds at Tourist Attractions

  1. Pingback: Embrace the Crowds at Tourist Attractions | Views Infinitum

  2. Pingback: How to Photograph at Busy Tourist Destinations | Views Infinitum

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