Thursday, October 15, 2009

DC Snapshot...

Last Monday I took my last Jet Blue flight of this trip from Portland, Maine to the town where I grew up, Richmond, VA. I got to spend the next day decompressing a bit and hanging out with the parents in their home in Mechanicsville, and did a little planning for the upcoming two weeks remaining in my Jet Blue adventure. First up was a few days in Virginia. Next, a weekend in Washington, DC to spend time with some more close friends of mine, and a day of shooting in the capitol city. The remaining time would be with my parents and family back in Virginia to finish off my trip.

I'm going to diverge a little bit from my habit of posting according to the sequence of events and concentrate on Washington on this post. I'd like to save some post-worthy material I experienced in the days before DC and share it in my next posting on my beloved VA.

Washington DC is a unique place. Like any major metro area, there are certainly things you can find that you may not like. However, it has a plethora of cultural outlets, an almost limitless number of fascinating things to see and do, (both inside and out), and an incredible wealth of history. There is a distinct feeling of awe you can get if you start to think about the impact that the people, the policy and decision makers in this city, have had and continue to have on this country and the world at large.

My reason for coming to DC was not to dwell on politics or the cultural relevance and impact of the city. It was much simpler... I wanted to spend some time with some good friends, their 8 month old son, and hopefully get a few shots in the process. I definitely enjoyed the time with friends, and I think you'll enjoy some of the shots I captured:).

In large part, I left my camera in the bag for the first few days in DC. The time was well spent, though, as myself and my two college roommates from years ago played golf in the suburbs of Maryland just outside the city, paddled some kayaks up the Potomac river from Fletcher's Boathouse near Georgetown, watched the Redskins get trounced (sorry Neil & RT), and enjoyed good food, wine, and time with a precious little 8 month-old addition to my friends' family named Kai.

The last day in DC I spent shooting on and near the The Mall, an approximately 5 mile in circumference rectangular stretch of grass and monuments surrounded by museums and foliage, and the buildings where our nation is governed.

There were a few things that were working against me as I shot that day - a national solar energy competition that was being hosted on the Mall interfered with many of the views I'd anticipated; a huge tent for a coming event was set up directly in front of the White House, blocking an otherwise fantastic (and really the only) shot of the President's residence; and lastly an overcast day, almost all day, wasn't the best setting for striking landscape shots. That being said, I think I made the best of it. I worked my way up the Mall toward the Capitol building and for the first time explored the National Botanic Garden.

Not a huge footprint, the Gardens were packed full of all kinds of plant life, ranging from flowers to ferns, to herbs and trees, from all over the world and all kinds of climates. I was actually surprised at the diversity represented in this relatively small building and plot of land next to the Capitol building. I highly recommend it as a stop on a tour of DC. you can spend either 20 minutes or half a day in the Botanic Gardens and feel good about your time there.

After the gardens, a stop for some photos of the Capitol building left me standing on the southeast end of the famous Pennsylvania Avenue connecting the Capitol to the White House. I walked the historic street, stopping for a street-vendor hot dog and taking shots of many of the government buildings and monuments that line it on either side.

Turning left at the White House, I headed toward the Washington Monument, and a chance to replace an old photo of the monument I've been hanging on to which I took with a film point and shoot film camera almost 10 years ago. The sky wasn't cooperating with me, but I gave it my best shot (no pun intended ;)).

Leaving the Monument, I headed back up the Mall and to my Metro ride back to the cozy neighborhood of Friendship Heights. I spent a final night with my friends, and set the alarm for 6AM and my next stop..... which I'll share with you next time :).

Until then,


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