If you want some one on one time with Lincoln, the best time to go is early in the morning.
The National Park Service keeps statistics on the number of visitors to our national parks. The latest statistics are for 2012 and are available on the National Park Service website.
If you view the Ranking Report, you can see that the Lincoln Memorial ranked number 6, with slightly over 6 million visitors in 2012. While that number is amazing in and of itself, it’s even more amazing when you consider that the Lincoln Memorial is just that – a single memorial that people visited. The other five parks that beat out the Lincoln Memorial are either parkways that run for miles (Blue Ridge Parkway: 469 miles, George Washington Memorial Parkway: 25 miles), national recreation areas that cover acres of land (Golden Gate National Recreation Area: 80,002 acres, Lake Mead National Recreation Area: 1,495,806 acres), or national parks (Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 522,419 acres). In comparison, the Lincoln Memorial sitting on a “tiny” 107.43 acres of land comes in 7th for visitors in 2012. Easily the most popular attraction in Washington DC!
Because of this, there’s not many times of the day when you can be at the Lincoln Memorial by yourself. You either need to go very late at night or very early in the morning. This photograph was taken very early in the morning. If you get to the memorial well before sunrise the only people out are the occasional jogger. A lot of them that jog past the memorial will actually jog up the steps and walk inside.
The morning I got to the memorial for this photograph I was the only person there. I went in and setup my tripod on the left side just inside the memorial back in a corner. I was probably there taking pictures for about 15 to 20 minutes before a security guard came out of the far back door and walked outside. He didn’t say anything to me about having the tripod inside the memorial, we just exchanged good mornings.
Equipment used for this photo:
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS Lens
Slik 700DX Tripod
Bogen 3030 3-way pan/tilt head