The Lincoln Memorial statue can be difficult to photograph. The chamber of the memorial is fairly dark compared to the statue which is brightly illuminated. The statue is carved from Georgia white marble. The white marble reflects so much light that the details are either washed out or if you try to capture the bright details the surrounding chamber is completely black. Luckily there is a way to photograph the statue to capture all its detail.
The statue looks large in photographs, but you really don’t get a full sense of its size till you are there standing in front of it. Lincoln is carved so that if he were actually standing he’d be 28 feet tall. Seated the statue is still an impressive 19 feet tall. The entire statue weighs 175 tons, or 350,000 pounds.
I’ve been wanting to photograph the Lincoln statue so that you could see all the detail in the marble that you do with your eyes when you are standing in front of it. With the bright spotlights overhead lighting the statue you end up with either blown out highlights or areas that are too much in shadow. But by taking multiple exposures and combining them together you can capture the entire dynamic range of the scene so it looks more like it does when you are there in person.