Going to Washington DC this year was quite an experience. Here’s what I learned.

1. The Acela is more expensive and only saves about 30 minutes. But it’s worth it, the Acela is roomier and more comfortable. We took the Acela on the way there, but on the way home we took the regional. Not really a good idea with kids; that additional space counts.

2. Charge your camera battery before the trip. My camera battery ran dry and I ended up taking photos on the Botanical Garden Museum with my iPhone.

3. Don’t worry about high ISO when in a museum. See the above picture? I like how it and others came out. That’s part of the The Apotheosis of Washington fresco I shot using my Nikon D60 with a AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1:3.5-5.6 G ED lens and these setting:

  • 1/25 second exposure
  • F/5.3
  • 75mm focal length
  • 1600 ISO (auto selected by the camera, I started at 200)
  • Auto ISO turned on with a maximum sensitivity to 1600
  • Active D-Lighting turned on
  • Noise Reduction turned on

Normally I frown at taking pictures with such a high ISO and less than 1/30 shutter speed.  I took 600+ photos on the trip and shared on Flickr over 170. The one’s that were set to ISO >1000 came out really good too. You can see the results at this link here.

Here’s some of my favorite high ISO shots.

4. Plan out where you want to eat. We planned the hotel, the places we wanted to go to, and the travel arrangements. We did not plan out to well where to eat.  The first night we ate at the hotel’s restaurant which had steak, some steak, and more steak.  Not a lot of variety although the steak was good though and Lily had a bowl of clam chowder. The next day we ate at the Union Station.  If you have ever been to Roosevelt Field’s food level or even Pier 17’s food court then you’ve had the same experience. Not a bad thing but the same.

5. I still want a better camera. Even though the Nikon D60 performed well, I am still jealous of low noise at 3200 ISO.  The 18-200mm lens is on loan from Stefan but it’s way too useful to not include in my kit. It’s a good walkabout lens.

In September I hope to order my new kit. In the meanwhile I’ll keep abusing my Nikon D60.