If it weren’t for the modern SUV one might look at this and think they were looking at a photo taken many, many decades or centuries ago. Arlington National Cemetery has always had an air of mystery and solemnity about it from the time it was created. Kevin Wolf does an excellent job of capturing the scene on a foggy winter morning. The layers of history are distinct and yet blend together so well due to the monochromatic nature of the photo. Without color to distract the eye we can look around and pick out different details hidden by the fog.
Arlington House was built in 1803 by George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of George Washington. During the Civil War the property was taken by the Union army and used as a place to bury their dead to ensure that General Robert E. Lee, Custis’ son-in-law and leader of the Confederate army, would never return to live there. After the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated in 1921 the number of visitors and vehicular traffic heading to the cemetery increased. In an attempt to ease the traffic jams the Arlington Memorial Bridge was built in 1932. On the hill below Arlington House the eternal flame at President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite is visible at night. These are just the things shown in this photo, there’s so much more going on in the acres of land just beyond this scene.
We get used to seeing these sites and others around the city as we go about our daily lives and it’s easy to overlook them. They start to blend into the background. It really is amazing how much history surrounds us. Washington DC is such a layered city, in more ways than one, and sometimes it’s nice to take a moment to appreciate just how lucky we are to live here.
DC (Maryland and Virginia) may not be able to handle snow events, well, at all but that doesn’t mean the city’s not a gorgeous backdrop when the white stuff falls. Victoria Pickering braved the obviously terrible weather conditions yesterday and captured this wonderful shot at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. You can almost hear the quiet; the sound of the snow falling and the crunch of it under your feet. Many of our fellow Americans make fun of our ability, or lack thereof, to handle inclement weather, perhaps rightly so, but I can think of no other major city in the country that looks as lovely as Washington, DC in the snow.
Take a look through our Flickr group for more snow photos and be sure to post some of your own.
Film lovers unite! In the age of digital you don’t often see people out shooting with film cameras. There are only so many shots per roll, the ISO is set, you get either color or black and white, and it has to be developed — no chimping here. It also can be expensive. But there’s something to be said for using film. It can push your creativity and it can challenge you to take more care when crafting an image. Instead of snapping 20 shots of the same thing in the hopes that you get one usable image, you might take only one or two. The color and tonal range of film is something that digital has yet to master. Sure when you scan film for display on a website or online portfolio it loses some of that detail but it can’t be beat when printed in a darkroom and hung on a wall. Jonathan Fields clearly knows how to use film and captured the light coming into the metro entrance so wonderfully. The black is so saturated and the shades of gray run so smoothly together. Add the lovely grain like the cherry on top, sit back and enjoy. Well done, Jonathan.
So, this photo. Parents need to take a lesson from this photo by Jennifer (and the other similar shots in her stream). Do you see what this baby has that yours does not? That’s right, a mustache. He’s got the baby chub, the adorable striped socks, and the very dapper tuxedo onesie but, let’s be honest, that mustache really takes it to a whole other level. Jennifer did an excellent job of capturing it as well through this wonderful high contrast black and white image with its yin and yang composition.
I know he only grew it in honor of Movember but I think we can all agree that the world would be a much better place if this little cutie kept it year round. Congratulations on your adorable baby Jennifer and maybe try and convince him to keep the ‘stache just a little longer?
I spend a lot of time on Flickr wandering aimlessly around looking here and there, seeing what new and interesting work people have come up with. A few weeks ago, while looking through photos with Washington, DC tags I came across some shots by Ernest Baroni. The photos were very distinctive in their appearance. In fact I thought they were film. But they’re not, they were actually taken with the Leica M Monochrom digital camera. You can see in this wonderful shot what I mean. The lights and darks, the grays in between, and the grain. Let’s not forget the grain. It doesn’t hurt that he managed to capture such a great moment. Awkward on land, sea lions are amazingly agile underwater. They can glide without effort, averaging 11 mph with a top speed of 25 mph, and are able to hold their breath for 8 to 20 minutes, looking almost like dogs with flippers. They certainly sound like them.
I’m not a gear head, and I don’t own any Leicas, but the Monochrom makes some great pictures especially when in the hands of someone with a good eye like Ernest. Well done sir.
“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” or something like that. I am a fan of photographing reflections. I especially like that kind that give you a hint about what’s not included in the photo as in this wonderful shot by Raymond Bryson. At first glance you notice the striking white lines of the crosswalk and when you follow those back you notice the mirror (two actually, with one turned at a 90 degree angle) and the corner of something. It isn’t until you take a closer look at what’s reflecting in the mirror that you start to make out a headlight and front grille. Of course it’s at this point that you start wondering what kind of vehicle it could be. A delivery van of some kind? Maybe an ice cream or food truck. Luckily Raymond is nice enough to tell us it’s a USPS mail truck but it’s still fun to imagine the possibilities.
‘US Capitol Dome’
courtesy of ‘ep_jhu’
Photography is such a versatile art form. Not only is there a wealth of subjects and topics to shoot, but the way the image is exposed, manipulated, or processed can give an otherwise plain image an amazing life. And then there is the color to play around with: do you choose realistic color or extra saturated? Or even black and white? The options for expression are endless.
Take ep_jhu’s shot of the Capitol Building. On a pure composition level, this shot has been taken a million times. But by changing the coloring to black and white, and maximizing the contrast, this is suddenly a shot worth taking the time to see. It is now eye catchingly stark and looks more like a computer generated rendering than a photograph.
To end this post on an interactive note: Anyone know what direction ep_jhu was standing, in relation to the Capitol, to get this shot?
DC Streets: Beneath the Surface by pnzr242
While it may not have the historical significance and impeccable timing of Cartier-Bresson’s “Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare“, this image captures a beautiful moment in time. I love it when a photo causes your eye to dance around the frame, first from the obvious action of the puddle, next to the exiting body, then to the broken reflection of the tree, with an unfortunate ending at the ugly bike tire. The use of black and white here adds to the gloomy, rainy day mood and forces the viewer’s eyes to concentrate on composition and subject matter, two ingredients that can sometimes be clouded by color. This photo also serves as a reminder that not everything is happening directly in front of you. Look up, look behind you, look down — you never know what you might be missing while you’re on a date with your camera.
Off Duty by DPinDC
If I were to win a warehouse full of money and suddenly lose the pressure of planning for retirement, there are some peculiar jobs in this world that I would love to try my hand at. How about a toll booth operator on the Dulles Toll Road, a gas station attendant, or a high school janitor? Or maybe one of those guys who rides on the back of a trash truck, listens to his headphones and jumps from curb to curb at five in the morning? A movie projectionist has always been a dream job of mine, especially at a theater like E Street where I could watch amazing flicks all day long. Or how about a crane operator, swinging tons of steel around in my own little game of SimCity?
If you look carefully at the jobs that I mentioned, you’ll notice a common theme: to be by myself with just a small dash of human interaction. There are those who thrive on being around others and shrivel when they are alone, and those who are built for a life of solitude. While you’re enjoying your power lunches and chattering nonstop into your bluetooth earpiece, I’ll be eating at my desk and making sure your corporate machine keeps humming like a German car. We can chalk our differences up to genetic evolution, or perhaps correlate them directly to how many hours we spent playing video games as kids. Regardless, it’s no wonder that I love photography, another lonely profession.
It took me a while to realize what I love about today’s photo. While I was first drawn to its cinematic quality and the capture of an every day city scene, it soon dawned on me that this is the work of a lonely photographer, shooting a lonely cab driver who is reading a newspaper full of photographs taken by other lonely photographers. I see that I’m not alone in this world of loneliness.
This is not Oklahoma by katyray
All day long, tourists wear down the stone of our monuments a few microns at a time with each step, each touch, huffing and puffing as they climb the stairs. As a parent or school teacher you have to keep an eye on your flock to make sure they don’t take candy from strangers or fall into the bushes. As a kid you wonder how you can get your hands on some candy or just how long you can hide in the bushes before you are found. After a while spent mulling around, possibly reading the first sentence or two of the engraved president’s speech, postcards are purchased and this site gets checked off the list by capturing a bad camera phone trophy. Come on kids, let’s head to the Hard Rock Cafe for a burger or a nice pig sandwich.
The night guard flips the sign from “open” to “closed”, radios to his buddies that quadrant four is secure, and soon Operation Foxtrot Charlie Delta (five card draw) commences in the bowels of the monument. Honest Abe breathes a sigh of relief that he’s made it through another day. He notices that he’s starting to get dirty, no thanks to the pigeons perched on his shoulders and the smog that saturates the air. What was once a deafening scene of chaos is now peaceful, serene, and calm. It’s his favorite time of the day.
Suddenly, far away in the darkness of night, Katy Ray’s camera makes a clicking noise that pierces the air, capturing this beautifully simple, grainy image on her Kodak T-MAX 3200 film. The guards pause in silence, staring at each other, listening for more clicks. Honest Abe lifts an eyebrow and scans the grounds for any signs of horseplay. But after a few minutes, the card game resumes and the photographer slinks away into the pitch black as the scene comes to an end, only to be repeated again tomorrow. And the day after that.
‘B&W Train Tunnel’
courtesy of ‘MikaAltskan’
What a year it has been for Metro, and the first month isn’t over yet. Service on the rails has been particularly messy this January, and just when it looked like Metro had decided to take the fight to the people, its general manager calls it quits. Despite last year’s tragedies and this year’s very rocky start, there’s still a magic about the system. Architect Harry Weese‘s vision for the Metrorail stations is iconic, modern, and yet still brutalist in nature.
For me, the best part of the system is the interface between the public parts of the station — the platforms, mezzanines, and escalators — and the inaccessible areas, especially the tunnels and the rail bed. Teenage photographer MikaAltskan managed to snap this shot looking into the tunnel from one of the stations. It shows off the curves of the concrete and rails, and the lights punctuating the distance before veering into an unknown, yet familiar place.
The next time you are waiting for the train that seems to never want to arrive, take a look around you and notice the cathedral-like look of the station where you happen to be waiting.
‘ ‘ courtesy of ‘erin m’
Snow. The first time in the season is always a little magical. It’s rarely too much, not often disruptive, and it’s as pretty as can be. That first snowfall is romantic, idyllic. The city sort of goes quiet under a blanket of hush.
Many people don’t like winter, with its cold and darkness. But winter has always been my favorite time of year. It’s the perfect time of year. The stifling mess that is summer is but a memory. The fall, with it’s picture perfect days, is just behind us. Ahead is the birth of a new season. But, right now, for the next few months, it is winter’s turn.
It’s a time for reflection, of course. It is also a time to rest, to see family and friends. To eat in gluttonous abandonment, to laze around the house and enjoy yourself. Like no other season, this is the season of parties and fun.