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Landmarks and Monuments
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Landmarks and Monuments

The difficulties of photographing famous landmarks are that, well, they're famous. So famous, in fact, that almost any photo of them, even a clever one, is in danger of being cliché. The challenge, then, is to bring home a souvenir picture that is both identifiable (you want people to know where you were) and also a creative notch above a postcard.

Don't, however, discount the postcard view too quickly.

You can find alternatives to ordinary views by scouting around for unconventional vantage points. We all know what the Golden Gate Bridge looks like from the famous hillside overlook, but how about walking down by the bay and shooting up from underneath? Or framing it through the rear window of a cab in rush-hour traffic? Odd juxtapositions have potential, too—the more unexpected the better. Everyone is familiar with the pristine views of the Statue of Liberty, but how many photographers explore it from the New Jersey shore of the Hudson and include tugboats or decaying barges in the foreground?

There are no rules either that say your pictures have to show all of a landmark or provide an entirely literal interpretation. Sometimes isolated pieces of a subject are more visually arresting than the whole and just as identifiable. Try using a long lens (200mm) or zoom to close in on Lincoln's face at his Washington, D.C., monument, for instance.

Next: "Houses of Worship"