Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where's DC (to me)?

Fall makes me restless, very restless. A teasing, tapping, breeze saying, "no time to sit". I let my hair down, do a little dance, and bask in what the summer no longer holds in its sweaty little grasp. At least that was the experience of my youth growing up in a place of sharply delineated seasons. Today DC is my reality, so when September comes and the thermometer still reads "90" I get confused - actually, really confused. (I recently confirmed the effect with a high-school friend now living in Virginia Beach.)

A direct result of my confused state, two nights ago I didn't fall asleep until well after 3am. During the night I began retracing my steps, asking myself how I ended up here and what I had left to see in this very oddly shaped city. Trying to recount my earliest memories from pre-k and asking myself what the meaning of this photographic life I'm trying to create is, a real late night jumble of thoughts to be sure which almost had me biking down to the Mall to watch the sun come up.

When the day finally arrived I grabbed my camera and wandered down to the mall, to search, perhaps, for some evidence of the fall, or at the very least to break out of the house, get away from the computer and make use of a beautiful (albeit warm) day.

I settled on the idea of blocking familiar, idealized views of the capital. ("Hey! It looks just like Where's Waldo", exclaimed Maria.) The idea opened a world of new possibilities. Everything was in play - fire hydrants, tour buses, and parking meters. My inspiration: a friend's suggestion to photography her kid on the mall looming over the Washington Monument. My dis-inspiration (is that a bit like saying ir-regardless??): stock DC images, Jeffer-sun-set, White (fluffy clouds) House, and other idealized riffs(-raff).

Here are my favorites: (See if you can find the Capital building in each of these images!)

More here:

.. and in case anyone is wondering. For these pics I got out my old Nikon AI 28mm manual focus lens (I find that manual, and especially fixed lenses allow/force me to think and move, resulting in better photos. The 28mm being one of my favorite when attached to my old F3, a bit less so with the digital zoom factor when attache to the D300, but still wider than normal) and a polarizing filter to darken the sky (also allowed for wider f-stops and freedom to play with DOF), and on some a bit of fill flash (just from the camera's pop up). I've been spending too much time in front of the computer playing with Photoshop and the like, so here I'm shooting and showing -just a bit of a vignette added to draw the eye into the center of the frame.

I think I may still add to the set - Maybe with a telephoto, maybe some other monuments with some day break mauve or an orange dusk.

.. oh and this from the botanical garden, because I just like the name and that it's from Brazil

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