Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Washington, DC Sights

DC happened a little unexpectedly this last week, and yet, here we are. First let me say that the record-breaking heat combined with the 85% humidity has been stifling. My creative juices have been boiled in my head until they refuse to flow at all, and the only things flowing are the rivulets down my back. Still, I managed some pretty spectacular shots on an evening outing. 
The first thing I saw, of course, was the Metro, where I had to decide what a short trip meant in order to purchase a pass. I also managed to break countless "rules" like eating on the Metro. It wasn't until much later that I figured out why the young man next to me raised his eyebrows when I pulled out my Trio bar for a bite. The "horizontal elevators" were rather long. The shot below is about half-way down.
Nobody talks. They just sit and play with their iPhones, or stare off in the distance, so it wasn't hard to take this shot. Nobody noticed...
The National Archives was first on my list. I located a Civil War soldier in C's ancestry.
We took the Metro under the Potomac to Arlington, but all we saw was a breeding pool for mosquitoes, and learned not to visit without Deet. Apparently they escort you out at 7:00 PM, which is when we arrived. I tried to convince C to stand in front of this monument since he is both steadfast and loyal, but he refused. I decided that all of that humidity and heat sure doesn't seem to add to cheer and merriment.   
The following evening we did get to see the Obama children sweep past in the secret service motorcade while I poked my camera through the fence to catch the above shot of the White House. Darn distracting White House. C was able to visit with a group that had cleared him ahead of time. My unexpected visit didn't allow for the required 30 day advance background check. 
On to the National Monuments, the light was fading in the sky, so my job as a photographer became a bit more difficult. The lighting in the above pond turned out rather nice though, and we did see - dum-ta-da-da!!! Fireflies!!! 
This shot of the Lincoln Memorial was one of my favorites. I finally was able to take one that didn't just have duck-bottom in it since it seemed to be the ideal feeding time. Of course, the one below turned out rather nice with the twilight back-lighting.
Do you know what it takes to get still images with a 5 MP digital hand-held with no tripod? The night shots were next to miraculous, but what you don't see here are the twenty other shots of each monument that turned out blurry. This far-distant Washington Memorial was one of the most difficult, taken at the Lincoln Memorial while lying on the marble floor in my white capris, trying to relax enough to keep it steady while the shutter stayed open for several seconds. I showed it to a woman who had tried the same shot for several minutes and finally gave up. I knew it was decent when she said, "D***! You're good!" I must also give recognition to C who sat on a very hot spotlight to help me get this shot. I always did think he was pretty hot stuff!!!
The Lincoln Memorial really is a work of art. White marble is extremely difficult to work with, since it is so soft. I am always so in awe when a sculptor executes a work like this with such precision.
The Vietnam memorial was powerful and touching, considering so many were identifying old friends and family members, even at the late hour we were there. They searched with the light of tiny flashlights, took rubbings of the names, and took photos with their hands resting over the names of loved ones.
The above shot shows the marbling in the Washington Memorial. Apparently the lower part was built prior to the Civil War, and finished after. It's apparent where the break is in the building. 

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