Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota: Details (Part 2 of 4)


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George Washington

In the prior blog, I talked about my way of photographing as a tourist and showed four different images of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, all shot at night.

Here, I want to emphasize the importance of photographing your subject in a variety of ways. In these images, I focus on four different details of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. (It’s hard to get good details of the Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt on the self-guided walking Presidential Trail.)

Often in travel photography, especially landscapes, the temptation is to shot as wide as possible–to show as much as you can. While that is useful, you also want to focus on details as well. Once I have a sense of the overall perspective, I want to see some items in greater detail, like the heads of the individual presidents.

Abraham Lincoln

As stated in the first Mount Rushmore blog, there are three reasons the Memorial was not completed and I stated I would give the reason why in this 3 remaining blogs. The first answer is World War II. The War effort required more manpower and money so Congress was not able to continue to fund this project.

Quick note: I am now on Facebook if you would like to read more about my activities.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln



Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota (Part 1 of 4)


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Avenue of the Flags

I enjoy watching other photographers photograph. I like to see what I can learn from other photographers. How do they approach a subject? What camera and lens are they using? How do they steady their camera—arms tucked in, lean against a solid object, use a tripod? Do they move around a subject or stay in one position? I try to envision what they are capturing.

As mentioned in the previous blog (How Big Is It?), Elena and I took a photography trip to Wyoming and South Dakota, in particular to the iconic Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This gave me a great chance to see how most photography tourists used their cameras. I saw many tourists take one, perhaps two shots of this Memorial and then leave the area. They often didn’t move around, exploring other ways to photograph this granite mountain sculpture. It appeared that they were doing “documentary” photography—a quick snapshot to document the heads of the four presidents. Seldom did I see a photographer take their time setting up their shot or creating an interesting composition of their subject. Perhaps these photographers thought they had enough (after one photo) and felt a need to move on; or perhaps they expected to return another day to take more photos.

I hope they are pleased with the few images they created. But since this blog is about improving your (in this case, travel) photography, I’ll show you 14 different views and interpretations of this iconic Memorial in this and three more blogs. File this under “working the subject.”

We first saw Mt. Rushmore at night, attending their lighting ceremony. The mountain is not lit until the end of the ceremony. (For me, these night shots were hard to reproduce well, given the mountain’s lighting.)

Now according to the Park Ranger we heard talk, there are three reasons the Memorial was not completed? I didn’t know that the Memorial was not completed Do you know the answers? If not, the answers are in the next three blogs.

Quick note: I am now on Facebook if you would like to read more about my activities.