dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2811 times:
The answer is obviously both. You'll have better photo ops at the Udvar Hazy Center (bring your ultrawide in addition to your standard walkaround) but the National Mall museum has lots of very cool and interesting things related to the history of aviation. It's less airliners.net friendly but every aviation enthusiast should visit it.
You can do the Udvar Hazy center in a day in order to see everything. The National Mall museum is more of a half day thing (or maybe less depending on how quickly you go through it); you'll likely be able to mix it in while visiting other areas like the national archives or the museum of natural history. It'll take a few days to really visit and digest all of the areas in downtown, so you can plan accordingly if you have the time.
It is very dark in the SUHC with lots of mixed lighting. Flash is OK but the last time we went mini-tripods were NOT allowed (even gorillapods). An idea for some makeshift stabilization might be a beanbag or some other soft implement, like a backpack. Fortunately, there are catwalks circling the main hall and you can get nearly every exhibit from the higher elevation as well as the ground.
moose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2138 posts, RR: 11 Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 2810 times:
They both have an incredible collection of aircraft and other exhibits. Photo-wise, you may have a better time at Udvar-Hazy, as there is a bit more room to work with, but if you can manage both, you should.
ccarter757 From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 28 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2741 times:
I'll echo what was previously said. If you have the time, I would visit both. I was just in DC this last summer and had the opportunity to do both, and did not regret it as they are both great. It really just depends on what you want to see more of. It also depends on whether you will have a car or not, as the Udvar Center would most likely require a car, unless you take The Washington Flyer bus service to Dulles, and get the shuttle to the Udvar Hazy center.
Udvar- Space Shuttle, Concorde, Sr-71 (Big stuff etc)
National Mall- Packed full of a variety of displays and exhibits, and an interactive kids center.
dlednicer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 525 posts, RR: 6 Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2673 times:
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Quoting moose135 (Reply 2): From what I remember (and looking at the EXIF on my photos) I was able to use a tripod in both places.
Tripods are NOT allowed. Guards will descend on you if you try to use one - this happened to me. A friend of mine was able to use a Gorillapod, but I am not sure what the rules are regarding them. There isn't much light in either location, there are swarms of people and there are limited number of clear sightlines to the aircraft, so photography is difficult at best. My best results came from holding my camera up against walls while I shot.
petertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3270 posts, RR: 12 Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2619 times:
I don't remember if I used a tripod on the downtown Smithsonian, but I am 100% sure I used a tripoed on the Udvar Hazy center and noone seemed to mind. I was passed by staff several times. So it seems to be up to the individual guard who happens to be on duty whether a tripod can be used or not.
dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2614 times:
Quoting petertenthije (Reply 5): I don't remember if I used a tripod on the downtown Smithsonian, but I am 100% sure I used a tripoed on the Udvar Hazy center and noone seemed to mind. I was passed by staff several times. So it seems to be up to the individual guard who happens to be on duty whether a tripod can be used or not.
Tripods are 100% against the rules according to the website. They search you on the way in. It is, as they say, at your risk.
ketko2 From Slovakia, joined Sep 2006, 103 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2547 times:
been to both, and as most of the replies say, they are both great! However, if you have to choose just one, I would definitely go with the Udvar Hazy Center. Its exhibition of complete airframes is much larger and you could also capture some nice approach shots from the parking lot.
Also, do not forget to visit the National History museum, which is wonderful as well, although not aviation. In any case, I am sure you will enjoy DC. Was there a year ago and it became one of my favorite cities.
In photopilot's post? That's a B-29, the Enola Gay
Yes, that's the Enola Gay (B-29) shot from the catwalk that crosses just in front of the aircraft and just slightly above it. It was shot with a VERY wide lens, and you should be aware that at one point, some idiots threw red paint over the nose of the Enola in protest of what that aircraft did. Since then, they have extended the height of the glass wall alongside the catwalk so you'll likely have to shoot through the glass. Hint..... take a soft cloth with you to wipe the glass clean. Or, if you're very tall like I am, I was able to take a "prayer" shot by holding the camera high overhead and shooting over the glass wall.