Washington, DC (Part II)

When we last saw our adventurers, Mike & Dave, they were being tossed back into harsh daylight with their tripods and the rattled nerves, courtesy of the Washington, DC city police… let’s see what lies in store for them now!

This Mall Ain’t Like High School

After our little tussle with the DC police, we headed south and made our way over to the U.S. Capitol. Now, before I go on, I have to tell you one thing I learned about Washington: everything is big. And, I don’t mean like Big Mac big, I mean the architects had no clue about portioning in the capital city. Even the Department of Commerce is about the size of four or five normal city blocks in any other metropolitan town.

Seeing my first “real” Washington sight was amazing and, on top of that, to know that the rotunda we were looking upon sat on top of the place, where all laws, privileges, and freedoms that we all enjoy daily, were created… that was the best. Fair warning: I’m a pretty sentimental guy when it comes to history and America; I think it comes from my dad, but we’ll get to that later.

We didn’t want to risk shooting with our tripods at the Capitol so we headed down to the Mall. The first thing that struck me about this part of DC was that it looks exactly like it did in all the old 1800’s photographs you see; the area is littered with old buildings and a strip of gravel roads (yes, gravel!) leading up to the steps of the Capitol building. It took a little getting used to calling this area “The Mall,” but I quickly adapted.

There was lots to see around here as the Smithsonian, or a portion of it, was surrounding us. Dave and I explored The Castle, the original Smithsonian building, which now stands as the museum’s visitor’s center, and found ourselves exploring some of the most beautiful gardens and landscaping I’ve ever seen. It’s good to see my taxes going toward something useful!

Has It Always Been Two Colors?

As the sun sank lower in the sky, we headed toward the monuments. First on our agenda was the always-looming Washington Monument. Again, you never realize how large these things truly are until you stand next to them and the monuments were no different. Even though the monument was still closed for repairs, the scaffolding had been removed so we were able to shoot some great shots without that obstruction. And yes, if you were wondering, the Washington Monument really is two colors… white and not so white (long story short, money ran out partway through the .

We continued our trek through the World War II Memorial, which is relatively new and quickly became one of both Dave and my favorite memorials to shoot, and then on to the Lincoln Memorial. Being a resident of the Land of Lincoln and growing up in the Springfield, Illinois area, I was spellbound. Well, disappointed first as the reflecting pool had been drained and was being worked on, but then spellbound by the sheer size again and the beauty of looking out from the entrance to the monument and seeing DC in all her glory.

We knew we would be back later so we headed over toward the Tidal Basin to catch the brand new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. While there was a lot of controversy over the construction of this memorial, I think it turned out well and was beautifully done. Sunset was quickly approaching so Dave and I split up (translation: I got lost) and sought out our own locations to shoot the sunset, monuments, and of course, the cherry blossom trees, which were in bloom around the basin, all while dodging throngs of tourists from all over the globe.

The Boys Are Back In Town

While looking all over for Dave making my way toward the Jefferson Memorial on the far side of the Basin, one of the coolest things happened: the President came home! Say, what? That’s right… Marine One came in for a landing on the South Lawn and flew over the Tidal Basin. From what I had heard, Marine One always flew in with two identical helicopters as “decoys” when transporting the President, and didn’t you know it, there were three choppers there. I took a chance and snapped a few photos of the middle chopper and I lucked out… the middle chopper actually landed at the White House so I guess I can say I’ve photographed the President… umm… kind of.

I continued my search for Dave trek over to the Jefferson Memorial, another one of my favorites especially after capturing the image you see here, then continued on around the far side of the basin, completing my loop shortly after sunset. I finally found Dave shooting blue hour material around MLK and I snapped a few images of the Jefferson from across the Tidal Basin myself. With night having fallen, we turned our attention back the way we came: Lincoln Monument, Vietnam/Korean/WW II Memorials, and Washington Monument.

To Be Continued …

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