Captivating Capitol: The Story Behind This Classic DC Image

©Ryan Wyckoff

Shutterbug reader Ryan Wyckoff recently moved to the Washington, D.C. area for work and relished the idea of “the endless opportunities the area provides for photography.” He did his research and looked tirelessly through photo galleries of local photographers to get inspiration.

And although he’d been all over D.C. photographing many of the monuments and buildings, the one building that eluded him was the U.S. Capitol, which had been under construction for over a year and covered in “unsightly” scaffolding. But all that changed this spring.

“The scaffolding came down and the Capitol Building had shed its ugly cocoon and was restored back to its glory,” Wyckoff says, “so I was finally able to make the trek downtown to capture my long-awaited photo.”

After arriving at his destination, he scouted out the best angle to take a sunset shot and found a good location in front of the Capitol. “I was able to compose the main part of the building and the reflection on the marble outside,” Wyckoff explains. “Once set up, all I had to do was wait for the sun to set. When it did, the effort was not wasted.”

This incredible shot was taken with a Nikon D600 on a SLIK tripod with a Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 wide-angle lens at 19mm, ISO 100, f/13, and 1/5 second. It should be noted that the photo was edited in Lightroom and finished in Photoshop.

To view more of Wyckoff’s work, visit

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