Word and Image

Washington DC

Random

Washington is full of museums and official buildings of significance. There’s no way to know what’s what or all the names of places while wandering in a single day. Photo ops abound. There is plenty to see and to admire. The museums are free. Well, tax dollars paid for most of it. Why are they all in Washington? Or, is it like the Catholic church? All roads lead to Rome?


Timing

We arrived at 8:30am to see the blossoms. By noon the crowds were considerably more. In the early morning you are not alone but there is enough space to make it appear as though you have the trees to yourself. Later that task is much more challenging. I’m not an early morning person. I’m more a random come as you are and find what you see type. But here I was in the same place twice. We circled back to get to our parked car. Consider it time delay photo ops.


Traffic

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Washington DC has always been a traffic nightmare. It’s a planned city. But then the planners did not plan for traffic, as in auto traffic jams. There’s precious little parking. There are lots of one-way streets. This sign is in an intersection and the entrance to a major highway. Turning onto the highway, a car must compete with the flow of pedestrians in the crosswalk. It is the perfect traffic jam. Saturday evening and I was jammed up two blocks back waiting through three traffic lights. Cars who felt privileged were cutting in all along. It was mayhem. Nice going. It’s nice to see good government in motion. NOT!!! Snafu, how true…


People

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I don’t get too many people ops in Delaware. We don’t see too many people to note. But in Washington DC, photo ops are all around. Keep alert. Shoot early and often. There’s lots to see. I’m still a color guy at heart. I see color not black and white. It works for me. Yes, one needs to be vigilant. What? Umbrellas? Umm…why? I haven’t a clue. …just strangers being strange.

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No rhyme or reason here. I like this image straight out of the camera. Flaws, sure?! Often I will take multiples to be sure I have captured the moment. Too often exposure or focus is an issue. This time there was one and only. Post production manipulation is always an option but I don’t choose to do much.


Orange

Protest! It’s your right. Folks love to converge upon Washington DC to make a political or social point. Dress in orange. Coordinate! I’m not sure what the orange shirts were protesting. There ample banners in the background. One and all? They were hardly noticed and scarcely drew a crowd or any attention. No doubt their photographer was documenting for ample social media coverage and use. Too many causes, so little time.


Red dress project

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“To commemorate Women’s History Month, the National Museum of the American Indian presents The REDress Project, an outdoor art installation by artist Jaime Black (Metis). Showing in the United States for the first time, the installation of empty red dresses centers on the issue of missing or murdered indigenous women. Black hopes to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Native women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence.”

It’s not isolated nor limited to indigenous women. It’s worthy of note. It deserves more than a tsk tsk. What will you do? This museum, of all the Washington museums we passed, was the only one with a security check at the door. There’s not much controversy in dino bones. But here…


Homeless

Don’t look. But there are signs all about. The homeless are invisible. Right here in the park, and right beside the parked cars, you can see the signs. Ignore them. People walk past. There is no protest. Live and let live. Invisible? The DC license plate admonishes “Taxation without Representation.” So, who’s problem is it? Federal, state, or local? No state? Pass the bread and praise the lord.


Jet trails

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It fascinates me in Delaware. We are in the middle of intersecting jet trails that cross my sky. Everyone is on the way over Delaware to somewhere else. Out of NYC, Baltimore, Philly, DC. From overseas. The jet trails cross hither and yon. But DC? It seems they are also at an intersection as well. I don’t feel so left out watching the rest of the world pass by.


Frat house

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There’s a plastic beer cup in the corner. The tableaux is on a fashionable street in Georgetown. Peering into the grassless backyard there is a grill and more empties lying on the ground. It’s nice to see an equal opportunity drinking establishment. For a while there every other post was cats. I was cooped up too long this winter. I’m getting out again. That’s good for you all too.


Crowded

You want crowded? I do not. No longer! I live in Delaware. It’s a sparse around here except for summer at the beach. Look up. Look down. Saturday. Cherry blossom time. Good weather. It’s great to be out and about in the nation’s capital. Yup, you’re gonna see crowds. It was my norm in New York City. I like it peaceful  now.


Washington Monument

Commercial or picturesque? You can have whatever you like. I have seen the cherry blossoms twice now. Once was enough? One wonders? We did not hike all among the trees. But the crowds are large and never diminish. Year to year, the same photographers or different ones. Many many iPhones, more than any other device. But, there are cameras of all sizes and shapes. I carried two, plus our iPhone. Iphone was for uploading instantly. One camera did wide angle and the other did telephoto duty. I still think that the real glass in a camera is way better than that tiny iPhone lens. But I could be wrong. Commercial? Food trucks take advantage and indeed make lots of money catering to the crowds that come. I saw lines of people at each and every truck. Nice business if you can get a spot.

Conspiracy? The top of the monument on this bright sunny morning looked like a hood. Symbolism? There is no hate in this country….


Cherry Blossoms

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Choose. There’s too much. One cannot really pick upon a single flower. A single tree? Or a tree with a national monument? Sensory overload? I have a tried and true image. Deep blue sky and a branch of buds. It never gets tired. Not great, just good. Not special. But unmistakable.


Spinning

We have looms and we have spinning wheels. Too numerous to count. Ha! I’m guilty of being acquisitive. I doesn’t help that Colleen is too. But this post is about picking images. And today I spun Lightroom and recall this memory.

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The time is September 2014 in Saudi Arabia. What would you know about living in a totalitarian government in which freedom could be snatched at any moment? How about being reminded that freedom is a gift every day? How about if you have taken simple freedom for granted each and every day of your life? Unrestricted travel? Not here!

My old boss is in a dungeon placed there without stated charges by the prince. A man can be wealthy and then imprisoned the next day. Does it sound like a scene from medieval times? I had to leave my cat behind… another long story. I was blessed to escape. I got out without too much red tape and with too much drama for anyone’s liking. But I’m out! The parting gift was the worst cough/cold of my life given to me by a pair of random fellow travelers on the airplane. Thanks a lot. The relief (of my escape) was palpable then and even today. Living in Saudi was an experience not to be missed. I miss the scuba dives in the Red Sea. I miss some people I met. I do not miss being living in a totalitarian regime.(Happy New Year, Gen)

Are there parallels in American history today? The once and future king… The vast majority of the population live in freedom they take for granted. Never was this so true. I wish you could have walked in my shoes.


SSDD Gun Trauma

SSDD. They called it ‘gun trauma.’ They demonstrated. Lisa went to the march in Washington DC. Déjà vu all over again. Has anything changed since 2000? I see the Washington monument in the background. Yup! The venue was the Washington mall. At least the lowly Republicans did not push the march onto a side street. Did they hide behind NRA money and affiliation then? It seems history repeats. I marched this year. My view hasn’t changed. The laws haven’t changed. The issue remains. Gun violence continues. What’s happening? Eighteen years, a generation, has passed. I had forgotten that rally in 2000. I suppose politicians depend upon that. The NRA does. Rant. Rally. March. Sadly, I have been around long enough to forget yesterday’s news today. Same Shit Different Day.


I don’t tweet

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I’m a democrat. Even if I weren’t I would be now. What’s this asshole doing? I am ashamed that he is president. I am ashamed that he has a forum. I am aghast that he has an avid following. The rest of the world shakes a collective finger (middle) at his antics. Enough is enough. Vote! Vote to impeach his sorry ass. I’m not very conflicted. You were an ass before you were elected. You are still. It might be better to remain quiet and let history disgrace you. Infamous? You bet. No more neutrality. You know where I stand. And, no, you don’t get to break the law!


National Museum of African American History and Culture

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Yes, it’s free. But that is not the only reason we attended. It opened about two years ago. It was pretty moving. I learned more than I wanted to know. For instance, the ship model cutaway shows slaves stacked like cargo. Exactly. And it was assumed that there could be as much as 33% loss of cargo during the voyage. Really! I never knew the inhumanity. And it was not confined to a single country. Multiple nations took part and profited. The suffering was enormous. I can admit that this was not something taught in any school I attended. History is written by the winners. The losers don’t get much mention. I’m truly saddened and appalled.

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Reflection – reflecting pool/waterfall. It was on the list of places to see in the museum.

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This cutaway model shows how human cargo was stacked/arranged for the long voyage from Africa to the colonies. I was shocked. Somehow, i never realized the utter lack of regard for human life. I am ashamed at my ignorance of human suffering. I am sad.


Cherry Blossom III

More images. What the… it was on my bucket list. Go for it. I was there at the peak time. It’s like a full moon. It is because they say it is. There’s a window of opportunity. Days. We missed in late March. The blossoms weren’t open. Climate change. The bloom occurred weeks later. There is no climate change. Or as the lion in the Wizard of Oz said, “I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks.”


Cherry Blossom II

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Too many images, not enough space. But, hey, this was my bucket list. I had sort of assumed that a quintessential image would jump out. Instead, I’ve seen blossoms – lots. And I saw more. There was a slight disappointment. I was uninspired. Oh well, I’ve been there and done that. No need to repeat. I tried all the tricks of composition and angle. I got images. It was a clear cool day. There were plenty of tourists and plenty of serious photographers. I’m not sure I saw anything new that hasn’t been seen/done before.


Cherry Blossoms

 

Bucket list. It’s been on my list to see the cherry blossoms. It was never very far away. I’ve just never been… till now. What’s so special? I’ve seen plenty of blossoms. There are said to be about 2000 trees. The DC folks have a whole festival about it. They warn tourists not to pick the blossoms because it will kill next year’s blossoms. I mean it’s all well and good. I didn’t come away with a quintessential shot. I got the requisite images. I got the monuments in the background. I’m vaguely missing the point here?


Flags

It’s cherry blossom time. The Washington Monument makes the perfect foil. You cannot miss this icon and everyone knows where you are. Flags blowing in a stiff breeze make for a striking graphic. Once again, vertical vs horizontal (composition)? Shoot both. Ha! But then you gotta choose. Luckily I can show you both.

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Meanwhile it’s also cherry blossom time. The Washington monument is a giveaway of the location. And of course I want everyone to know I was there for this showing.

 


They try

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It’s inevitable that you run across construction. So, you take what you get. The tulips tell you that it’s springtime in DC. Meanwhile we were here to see the cherry blossoms. I’m just one among many (photographers) trying for a quintessential shot. This wasn’t it. But, I like the graphic anyway.

It also leaves me with a philosophical/existential question. Am I shooting to post? Or am I posting what I shoot? I thought I’d post what I shot? That was the beginning. But it’s way easier to remain in the present than the past. Hmmmm….


White House

Considering the state of our government it’s better if we don’t see all. You can walk around the building but there is only one view that allows a relatively unobstructed view from afar. Everywhere else you get a partial view. The fake president was off to Florida to play golf while the nation marched for gun control. He didn’t have the balls to stay in DC and face the crowd. It was his prerogative to ignore a million or so people who gathered within hailing distance of the White House. Secret Service police were assigned mandatory overtime to protect the building. The one officer I spoke with had been on duty 17 straight hours and would stand post till the event was finished – about a 24 hour shift. I’m disconcerted to see the security guards on the roof. I learned this from one of the recent White House movies.

Meanwhile our fearless leader kept quiet and didn’t tweet about the “March for Our Lives” at all. The NRA had him in their pocket I guess. His kid has Secret Service protection in school. Maybe ours deserve as much too?


Look-out

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You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Just when you think it can’t get worse, you realize that a serious mistake was made. Things never felt right since the election and inauguration. Things feel right; well, a bit better.

It’s not over by a long shot. People still believe in 45. But they were always a minority. Each day becomes a little more desperate. Just because Fox says “it is” doesn’t make it so. There is no fake news. It is what it is. Platitudes. But the truth is becoming more apparent with each passing day. One news show opens with, “Today is Day 432 and counting” as though the count will end at some point. We are getting nearer and nearer to the Day of Reckoning. We don’t need no stinkin’ yard signs to tell us which way this one’s going. Pack your bags.

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Do you suppose they might pass gun control laws if they took away security at the Capitol and the White House? You know? Replace it with the same security they have at the school. How long will congress put up with the same security like the kids in Parkland or in any other public venue near you? You should have equal security and equal healthcare to congress. Why not?


Side By Side

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Look close. Side by side. I see this in retrospect as I view the edit. The ladies chose to take stand not by chance but by determined design.

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They are in front of Trump International Hotel. On the margin… things played out. There will always be someone to try to change the dialog and shift the argument. It’s magic. Watch one hand while the other does magic. 800 demonstrations around the world. One purpose and one voice. For once, I am encouraged. Hopeful. But it ain’t over till it’s over. I’m voting. Another republican announced he would retire. Reason: He couldn’t win with Trump as president. A republican would have to deal with Trump’s base versus an aroused moderate base repulsed by Trump.