Category Archives: Washington D.C.

Washington DC

I’ve written about photography on business trips before (for instance here). If you’re willing to put up with the hassle of carrying your photo equipment (or you can travel “photo light”), and if you have an opportunity to leave early or stay late, then you may be able to enjoy some of the photo ops at your destination.

The pre-dawn Potomac River, Georgetown,  and Washington DC from the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Rosslyn, Virgina

The pre-dawn Potomac River, Georgetown, and Washington DC from the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Rosslyn, Virgina: Getting up at 5:30am and leaving my warm, cozy room to walk down to the river with my tripod and camera in the cold and dark wasn’t easy. Timing the 4 – 8 second exposures between vibrations from passing cars was also a bit difficult. But I like the result.

I had a business trip to Washington DC this week and needed to be there first thing on Monday.  Instead of flying in Sunday night, I made arrangements to get out on the first flight Sunday morning (whew, that was an early alarm!).  This gave me few hours in DC to act like a tourist.  The weather was cloudy with some rain, but that actually turned out to be an advantage for some of the things I photographed and I did manage to make some images that I like in two or three different places while I was there.  Washington is a target rich environment for photo ops – where to start?

At the first place, birds sang as I walked paths through the area.  Looking up and searching for them, I could see trees beginning to bud out with leaves and flowers, signaling the start of Spring and triggering many thoughts about nature.  As I continued, my eyes were drawn back to earth where the sight of graves triggered thoughts about sacrifice by many brave people.  I also thought about predictions of the decline of the USA, and it occurred to me that these don’t take into account the power of our belief system.  Our economy is large, and we are creative — but our true strength is that so many believe in our rights and freedoms and are willing to defend them with their lives.

Tomb of the unknowns, Arlington National Cemetary

Tomb of the unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery: I’d never been to Arlington before last Sunday. As a US Navy Veteran and a patriot, I have to admit it made a huge impression on me.

Arlington National Cemetery is located on a hill across the Potomac from Washington DC.  It’s the former home of Robert E. Lee and was taken over by the Union when the Lee family failed to pay taxes.  Arlington house (his former manor) is surrounded by grave sites of union soldiers so that if he ever tried to return, he’d have to cross that line of soldiers to enter his home.  [4/16 update:  Here is a good article about Arlington house:  http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/04/arlington-house-home-robert-e-lee7966]There’s a good view of downtown DC and the country’s power base from up there.  I hope that Congress glances up at Arlington occasionally before it makes decisions that may result in more grave sites.  Arlington is only a few minutes from downtown Washington, and close to Reagan airport.  There’s plenty of info on their web site for visitors.

After Arlington, I drove into downtown DC. Since it was Sunday and raining, there weren’t many people around and I was able to park about two blocks from the Lincoln Memorial and walk over for a few photos. Unfortunately, there is a lot of construction going on right now – the reflecting pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument was drained, and this limited the compositions available.

The Lincoln Memorial and me

The Lincoln Memorial and me: Last Sunday in Washington DC was cloudy with a bit of rain, so there weren’t too many people out and about in the city. I circled around to the south west side and set up my tripod for this shot. I think it’s pretty rare that you get a chance to capture an image of the Lincoln Memorial without people in the photo.

The view of the Lincoln Memorial above is a multi-shot panorama / HDR using 27 individual photos.  The full resolution result is about 45 Mega-pixels in size.  The power of the software we have available today always amazes me.

Take advantage of your travel opportunities.  Turn them into photo ops.  You might like the result.

If you click on the photos above you can see larger versions on Flickr.  You can also see these photos and a few others from this trip in this set on Flickr.

Thanks for stopping by, now go make some photos!

© 2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, 2008, I would like to thank each veteran who has answered our call to defend our country.

I had a few hours off one afternoon during a recent business trip up to Rockville, Maryland so I grabbed my Canon G9 and took the subway into downtown Washington DC. It was just a quick stroll — my main photo hint for this is to take a lot more time and a lot more pictures.

The World War II memorial is new since I was there last (many years ago). This is a photo of the Florida section.


The Vietnam Memorial always affects me deeply each time I see it. The gifts and tokens placed at the wall by loved ones of our fallen veterans, even after so many years is profoundly moving.

A section of the Vietnam Memorial - Washington, D.C.

Now, I apologize in advance for getting a little political on a blog that is devoted to photography. Here are some statistics taken from the Veterans Administration, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Rand as quoted in an article appearing today on the San Francisco Chronicle Web site :

  • The suicide rate of veterans is at least three times the national suicide rate. In 2005, the suicide rate for veterans 18 to 24 years old was three to four times higher than non-veterans.
  • About 154,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night. One-fourth of the homeless population is veterans.
  • There are more homeless Vietnam veterans than the number of soldiers who were killed during that war.
  • It takes at least 5.5 years, on average, to resolve a benefit claim with the Veteran’s Administration.
  • More than 600,000 unresolved claims are backlogged with the Veteran’s Administration.
  • Approximately 18.5 percent of service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.
  • 19.5 percent of these veterans report experiencing traumatic brain injury.
  • Roughly half of those who need treatment seek it, but only slightly more than half of those who receive treatment receive at least minimally adequate care, according to an April 2008 Rand Report.

As a citizen and a voter, I am ashamed of these numbers. Taking care of those that protect our country is a fundamental obligation of government. Each and every one of us should demand that our elected officials honor commitments we have made to veterans who have honored us with their service. Until we do so, Memorial Day seems a shallow honor at best.

My photos from this trip are posted here .

©2008, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Dulles Air and Space Museum

If you ever travel through Dulles International, it is well worth scheduling yourself in early or out late so you can take a short side trip. The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center annex of the National Air and Space Museum is located a few minutes south of the airport. You can take a shuttle to and from the airport, or follow Highway 28 (the first exit as you leave the airport) south until you see the sign. It only takes 10 – 15 minutes to get there from the airport. Entrance to the museum is free, but parking is $12, so take a few friends (all in one car).

Wright Brothers Pano

The Smithsonian needed additional space to display items that they don’t have room for at the downtown Washington, D.C. location. This is very good news for traveling photographers. For a small investment of time (2 – 3 hours) you can see a lot of aviation and space history. They have Wright Brother flyers (click on the photo above for a larger version), an SR-71, a Concorde, the Space Shuttle Enterprise, The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer and much more. Some of these items are beautiful, and all are historic.

Equipment: I took my Canon G9, which did very well. You’ll mostly want a wide angle lens for the interior shots – these things are big and you can get close to most of them. The light is pretty dim, so use a fast lens and plan on at least bracing your camera for longer exposures as I did. Flash won’t be too effective due to the distance involved.

The rest of my photos for this post are here.

On a side note, after you get to your hotel, keep looking for photographs. I made this one out of my hotel window.

Sunset

©2008, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.