Watergate, Kennedy Center, and Washington Monument Glow at Night

Watergate and Kennedy Center Glow at Night

by Jason Vines

I took a long 10+ mile hike yesterday as the afternoon slipped into twilight. Night finally fell as I approached the Georgetown waterfront for the last leg of the hike that would take me back home. This afforded spectacular views as the lights of the city glowed in the dark.

This isn’t obvious during the day, but at night, the vantage of the Key Bridge offers a cornucopia of visual delights. In today’s featured photo, the Whitehurst Freeway, lit up by streetlights, stretches beneath and not-quite-perpendicular to the Key Bridge, with Watergate, Kennedy Center, and the Washington Monument looming in the background. The lights of Kennedy Center reflect in the Potomac River.

As I was shooting, I started wishing I had brought my tripod. But even handheld, the Sony A7RIII camera’s relatively good performance at high ISOs, in conjunction with strong vibration reduction, can yield a clear but grainy night photo. And that grain can be cleaned up a significant amount with Topaz DeNoise AI.

In this particular photo, the sky was still a blotchy mess, but I used Lightroom’s new sky selection mask to lower the exposure and drag the sliders for texture, clarity, and sharpness down to -100, and the slider for noise reduction up to 100. That smoothed the sky to an acceptable level when viewed large on my 27-inch iMac Pro monitor.

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