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Snapshotworthy city moments, captured!

When
6:58am
9.20.15

Where
National Mall

James Knapp is a patient man. The Virginia resident had heard about a phenomenon—a photographer’s dream—that happens a couple times a year around the equinox: In DC, the rising and setting sun are in alignment with the monuments. “I had been coming to this spot each morning hoping to get a shot of the rising sun bisected by the Capitol Dome,” says Knapp, who shot the image from a vantage point across the Potomac in Arlington, Va., with a Canon 7D Mark II. The attorney with a serious photo hobby says it’s a challenge to capture something new about the monuments. After all, they’ve been photographed millions of times by photojournalists, locals and tourists alike. “I try to look for something ephemeral to make the scene different from postcard shots,” he says. The Capitol’s scaffolding, complemented by the equinox, provided the context Knapp desired. “Some of my photographer friends have grumbled about the scaffolding and how it ruins the classic DC-skyline shot,” he says. “Five or 10 years from now, we’ll look back on the scaffolding as something special—a novelty that will make [these images] stand out from the dime-a-dozen Dome shots.” For this one moment on a chilly September morning, there was nothing ordinary about the District’s skyline.