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Field Trip: National Cathedral

February 12 @ 10:00 am 12:00 pm

When the sun is low in the winter, it’s a great time of year to visit the National Cathedral.  It’s a literal photographic gold mine.  On a sunny day the light creates a dynamic and colorful environment indoors that is unmatched.  The National Cathedral also features beautiful and unique Gothic revival architecture outdoors.  There are lots of details to discover here, and I’m happy to see they have reopened recently after closing for COVID.

Advanced tickets cost $15 for adults ($10 for seniors and military).  We’ll be going rain, snow, or shine.  We’re hoping for the best possible weather.


It’s been almost 11 years since the earthquake, but repairs continue to the outside of the cathedral.  You will likely see scaffolding on the South side of the cathedral and around the top of the center tower.  The grounds surrounding the cathedral, including the Bishop’s Garden, are freely accessible to explore; however, tickets are required if you want to go in.

Inside you will find the rose windows over the north, south, and west entrances.  The north side doesn’t get as much light this time of year, but the other sides more than make up for that.  The south arcade will be the brightest.  The light shining through the stained-glass windows lasts well into the early afternoon and moves from the opposite wall to the floor and then to the adjacent wall.  The unique light shining through the stained-glass window near the statue of George Washington (southwest corner of the nave, just to the right as you enter the nave) can’t be missed either.

As this is a working church, please be respectful to others who may be there on ‘business’.  Shy your camera away from parishioners to respect their privacy.  Normally, the cathedral offers a noontime service.  If there is a service and you are in the nave, you may be asked to stop taking pictures.  This is normal.  Try exploring the downstairs, towers, or going outside for the next 30-45 minutes.

Steven Glintz did his first portfolio on the National Cathedral.  He later self-published a much larger body of work, but the portfolio can be seen on our website: https://nvps.smugmug.com/NVPSGallery/PortfolioProject/2017-2018/Steveglintz/

Additional images from our club’s last visit in 2020 can also be seen on our website: https://nvps.smugmug.com/NVPSGallery/Field-Trips/2019-2020-Field-Trips/National-Cathedral-January-2020/


  • A 24-70mm should easily capture most indoor shots, however a 70-300mm can be useful to reach finer details higher up. You may also find use for a 12-24mm, but I’ve only used mine a couple times here.
  • Tripods are allowed, but caution is recommended. The church asks you not to place your tripod in doorways, stairways, or any other position that blocks the way.
  • Masks are required indoors.


Saturday, February 12, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. No rain date is scheduled.

Remember, advanced tickets are required if you want to go inside.  Get your Sightseeing Admission tickets online for the field trip date at this link: https://tix.cathedral.org/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=25071

You can see other ticketed events at the cathedral here: https://tix.cathedral.org/TheatreManager/1/login?event=0


We’ll meet at 10 a.m. outside the northwest corner of the cathedral near Wisconsin Ave. by the elevator to the underground parking. There is plenty of underground parking for $9; however, you may find free parking along Wisconsin Ave.

We hope you can join us!

Rena Schild and Steven Glintz
Field Trip Coordinators 2021-2022

*Photos by Steven Glintz

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