Sunrise in Washington on Wednesday. (Kevin Ambrose)

The sun aligns with the Mall twice a year, always occurring near the spring and fall equinox. Wednesday morning was the perfect time to photograph the sun touching the top of the Capitol when viewed looking down the Mall from the Netherlands Carillon.

Luckily, the weather cooperated and provided a perfectly clear view of the sun’s alignment. To photograph a well-defined sun, the sky must be clear and free of clouds and fog. Clear skies are not a given this time of year in Washington.

For example, heavy cloud cover spoiled the view of Tuesday’s sunrise. I have included a photo of that sunrise at the bottom of this post. The photos from Tuesday and Wednesday were taken at the same location: the Netherlands Carillon.

Below, I have also included a time-lapse video of Wednesday’s sunrise. The video compresses 20 minutes into 20 seconds and shows how the sun tracks up across the sky at an angle, from left to right, when viewed facing east.

Thursday’s sunrise should also be interesting, provided we have a clear sky. The sun will rise and track behind the Capitol. Hopefully, the weather will be just as stellar as Wednesday.


Dawn in Washington was colorful Wednesday. (Kevin Ambrose)

The sun rises behind the Washington Monument before moving over the Capitol on Wednesday. (Kevin Ambrose)

A time-lapse video of sunrise Wednesday. The video compresses 20 minutes into 20 seconds. (Kevin Ambrose)


The sunrise was cloudy with light rain Tuesday. This photo was taken from the same location as the photos above. (Kevin Ambrose)