April 2018


If this past Saturday in DC was gloomy, chilly and damp, sunrise on Sunday brought the opposite: blue skies, sunshine and (nearly) seasonal temperatures. Our plan had been to roll out of town in the morning, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to check out the Cherry Blossom Festival on what was likely to be the absolute peak day. So, once again, we put on our walkin’ shoes and climbed aboard the Metro.

Like the day before, I found myself focused on people watching, but it was even better. So many cameras! So many selfies! So many smiles and poses and serious photographers!

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My wife and I spent the past weekend in Washington DC, enjoying the sights with our son and his girlfriend. I hesitated bringing a camera because of the added responsibility it requires and the prospect, as we are running from museum to museum, of merely capturing what has been captured countless times already. Plus the weather was not looking to be very cooperative. But at the last minute I decided to grab my 5D MKII, sans bag, with just a single prime lens (Canon L Series 100mm Macro– love it!). I figured I’d stuff it in my jacket if the weather turned wet.

Our itinerary for Saturday included the National Portrait Gallery, where I expected to take somewhere around zero photos. However, as we walked the gallery my attention was drawn toward not just the artwork, but the interaction between the gallery-goers and the artwork. It was, at times, intimate, as if I were invading a private conversation between a former president and an art lover. Other times, it called to mind the cult of personality, and the attendees were merely subjects of the larger than life representations. From Washington‘s grandeur to Lincoln‘s indifference at having his photo taken; from James Buchanan‘s stern admonition to John Adams‘ secret; From Chester A. Arthur‘s attentive listening skills to Obama‘s calm in the space between the adoring crowd and his life’s foliage, it was an interesting and challenging approach to recording my time there.

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