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Posts Tagged ‘Washington Monument’

I have lived in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C. for over 25 years. Like most people who live in the region, I rarely travel into the city except when I have guests. We tend to look a bit negatively at tourists, who impede our paths and generally get in the way as we rush about trying to get important things—primarily work—accomplished. It is a bit of a stereotype, but it does seem to be that most people in this area are very focused and driven.

As I continued to struggle to readapt to “normal” life after my glorious three weeks in Paris, I started to wonder how things would look differently if I approached Washington D.C. with the same sense of awe and enthusiasm that I felt for Paris. What if I stopped taking for granted all of the treasures our nation’s capital has to offer and looked at them with fresh eyes?

Saturday, I grabbed the camera gear and the raincoat that I used in Paris and rode into the city on the Metro system. I had a relaxing time visiting several of the Smithsonian museums, which all have no admission fee, so you don’t have to exhaust yourself trying to get your money’s worth. I may cover my museum experience in another posting.

What struck me the most during the day, however, was the view that greeted me when I walked out of the National Gallery of Art at closing time. It was starting to get dark and lights had come on, gently illuminating some of the buildings. As I looked to the left, I could see the U.S. Capitol Building, home of Congress, and to the right in the distance was the Washington Monument, with a part of the Lincoln Memorial visible behind it. Wow!

Now I realize that most people don’t have Washington D.C. in their backyard, but I encourage you to look afresh at the area in which you live. Imagine that you have traveled thousands of miles to see its unique beauties. For me, that change in attitude helped me to look beyond the familiar and better appreciate the beauty that was always there. I had always used that approach in my wildlife photography and only now realize how it can be broadened into so many other areas of my life.

U.S. Capitol

Washington Monument

U.S. Capitol

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was walking across the Key Bridge from Georgetown on Wednesday night, I glanced down at the Potomac River and saw that the Kennedy Center was aglow with rainbow colors. I believe that the colors were part of the celebration of the Kennedy Center Honors, an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture. Honorees receive a medallion that hangs from a rainbow colored ribbon.

Most of the landmarks shown here will be familiar only to locals, but some of you may recognize the Washington Monument in the middle left in the photo. In case you are curious, I took this shot with a Canon A620 camera, an old 7.1 megapixel point-and-shoot camera that I carry with me sometimes because it fits easily into my pocket. I leaned against the railing of the bridge to take this shot in what turned out to be a one second exposure.

Although I know what the subject matter of the image is, I enjoy it equally as a kind of abstract, man-made landscape, a beautiful combination of lines and shapes and colors, with some of them reflected in the dark waters of the river.

Kennedy Center Honors

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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In the orange glow of the sky, the trees cast their reflections on the black granite surface of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.

It was a moment to reflect on the names of more than 58,000 men and women whose names are inscribed on the wall. I am old enough to remember the conflicted mood of the country at the time of that war.  In the late 1970’s I enlisted in the U.S. Army and served on active duty for twenty years. With that experience, I can’t help but be humbled by the memorial to the sacrifice of so many Americans for the common good.

Monuments_blog

From certain angles, I could see reflections of the Washington Monument in the wall. It proved to be very difficult, however, to capture that reflection in a photograph. I used my tripod and a long exposure, but never quite captured the feeling of the moment. I am posting one of those efforts as a kind of aspirational shot, one that I hope to shoot better in the future.

WashMonuWords

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Fog, low-hanging clouds, and reflected light gave the skies of Washington D.C. an orange-colored glow last night, which made for dramatic shots of the Washington Monument.

I don’t really understand the scientific basis for the phenomenon (perhaps air pollution contributed to it), but tried to capture it with my camera. I took these shots at about nine o’clock in the evening using my tripod and a long exposure, even thought they look like they might have been shot at sunset.

A friend convinced me to go with him to Washington D.C. with the goal of getting some photographs of the Washington Monument shrouded in heavy fog, which turned out not to be the case. Instead, we got something totally unexpected that turned out to be even better than that for which we had hoped.

Monument & TreesWashMonumentOrangeSky

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I have returned from Brussels and thought I’d share a photo that I took earlier this month of a kayaker paddling on the Potomac River. In the background you can see the beauty of the obelisk of the Washington Monument and the dome of the Jefferson Memorial. If you look closely at the Washington Monument, you can see the color change part way up the monument that was the result of a 23 year hiatus in construction and difficulty getting matching marble when construction resumed.

Unfortunately, you can also see the rusty railroad bridge that serves as the only rail link between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. It serves a necessary function, but it does little to enhance the beauty of the scenery.

kayak_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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They came from the skies, invaders from the north in a tight military formation, seeking for openings to breach the defenses of their southern neighbor’s capital city.

Invaders

They sent out reconnaissance forces, in the air and on the waters of the Potomac River, collecting information and looking for a spot for a larger landing force.

Reconnaissance

The landing zone secure, a larger force arrived and thus began the naval blockade of Washington D.C. A declaration of war has not yet been made by either side.

Landing Force

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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