Washington, D.C., October 2008


In October, 2008, my daughter Jennie invited me to visit her at her apartment in Washington, D.C. She's an International Analyst with NOAA, and was receiving a prestigious award. Prestigious enough that the US Government paid my airfare as her "guest" so I could attend the ceremony. I was a bit bothered that my government offered to pay for the largest expense of my trip, but Jen reassured me by telling me that she's worked so many days she'd never been paid for that I should think of it as her paying for it. I was OK with that.

Here are my favorite 18 photos of the hundreds I took.

I flew into Reagan National, and took a $20 cab ride to Jen's apartment in the Adams Morgan district. Here's a shot of upper Adams Morgan the next morning after having bignets and coffee at the New Orleans Cafe. It's really crowded, busy and loud at night (lots of night clubs and bars) but not too bad during the day. Very culturally diverse, lots of neat ethnic restaurants, interesting people.

Jen and I having a drink near the Watergate Hotel. My favorite restaurant in D.C. is Zaytinya, which is near Chinatown downtown, but the photos I got there weren't that great. Zaytinya serves mezze, which are small plates with appetizer-sized servings of a wide variety of items. In this case, tapas-like dishes of primarily Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.

I added this shot of the Canadian Embassy for our friends Cy & Gwen in Calgary. This is the only embassy on Pennsylvania Avenue, in consideration of our "special relationship" with Canada. They did, after all, set fire to our White House in The War of 1812, but sadly stayed home during the "Bush 43" Administration

These posts were everywhere. They are metal, and extend for many feet into concrete under the ground. Their purpose is to prevent vehicles from gaining access to whatever is behind them. Kinda disappointing that they are necessary, as they remind you of all we have lost recently.

The Supreme Court building. New and Improved — Now with posts!

The Lincoln Memorial from the east side, overlooking the reflecting pool. My shot was a little out of focus, but I liked the composition, so I applied a "tiling" effect to the image. Call this art shot #1, though it's really just a trick to make up for my photographic mediocrity.

I call this "The new reflects the old". Another art shot, taken from the window of a tour trolly car I boarded one day when Jen was at work. On another day I walked past this building but the angle was wrong to get the reflection.

This is a statue of David Farragut, the first rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the US Navy. There's a State Park in Idaho about 40 miles from our house named after him, where there the Navy had a training base during WW II. Oddly, since it is 300+ miles from the nearest ocean, it was the 2nd largest naval training ground in the world at that time. The Park is on Lake Pend Oreille, which is the 5th deepest lake in the U.S. at 1,150 feet. The lake is fed primarily by the Clark Fork river of Great Missoula Flood fame.

The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, established in 1793. President Lincoln reportedly bought a pew in this church for $25/yr, and worshiped here regularly with his family. I took the shot partially because a large number of very poor people seemed to be living on the tiny lawn in front of it.

Sticking with the church theme, this is the Washington National Cathedral. The 6th largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and the 4th tallest structure in Washington, D.C. They started building in 1907, and finished in 1990. Took awhile, apparently...

The Old Stone House in Georgetown. One of the oldest known structures remaining in the nation's capital, built in the 1700's and inhabited by common people. There is a beautiful, though very small, garden/park behind it which is a neat place to take a break and relax. Jen and I visited this the last time I was in D.C. — this time I was by myself, as Jen was at work.

The canal system which runs through Georgetown. There are a series of old locks, which are still operated during the tourist season for tour boats. That's a hand-operated lock in photo-center where the water is falling.

It is a surprising bit of old, old history slicing through a very 21st century Georgetown. There's apparently a Web design place in an old brick building bordering this canal, as I encountered a group of 20-somethings in dark clothes and piercings taking a smoke break and discussing some HTML/CSS/Javascript stuff.

The tour trolley driver told me about the Old Post Office and its clock tower which offers an unequaled view of downtown D.C. Unequaled because it is 315 feet tall and the 3rd highest building in D.C. I shot this with the vertical security cables included, as I liked the effect. It was very windy and chilly, but also not very crowded. And free.

There are a lot of architecturally interesting buildings in D.C. This is the east wing of the National Gallery of Art. The glass pyramids light the Cascade Cafe underneath, which has a waterfall behind glass. Jen and I visited the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, last time I was here.

More spectacular D.C. architecture near the Washington Mall. I consider this an art shot too, even though I didn't have to do anything but crop, color correct, sharpen and resize it.

The White House, of course. I walked here from Jen's apartment in 45 minutes. Of course I could get no closer and took this shot by holding my camera through the bars of the fence at the sidewalk's edge. The street in front is permanently closed to civilian vehicular traffic.

This old woman (Concepcion W. Thomas) has been living here continuously, 24hrs a day, since 1981, protesting nuclear weapons. The two guys in the photo were Dutch(?) media interviewing her. She is literally right in front of the White House, and has the very view as in the previous photo above.

The police, and many of the tourists, seemed to ignore her. It makes me proud of my country that she can sit there, visible from the front steps of the White House, for 18 years and nobody chases her away. Imagine believing so strongly in a cause that you live it continuously, 24hrs a day, for a large chunk of your lifetime?

I don't want to forget to include a photo of Jennie getting her award, it really was a big deal. However, the lighting wasn't great and my point-and-shoot camera wasn't up to the low-light conditions, so my photos all sucked. I cropped the best part of one of them that was badly out of focus, and applied an "enamel" effect to get the result above. Trust me, it looks way better than the original. That's the Head of N.O.A.A. on the right, Jen is in the center holding her award. Call this another art shot, or squint your eyes a little bit...

Copyright © 2009, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.