Taming Lights and Bytes
original post on AlexSablan.com
After my memorable trip on the Amtrak Cardinal 50, I arrived at Union Station in Washington DC to start my first adventure into the realm of travel photography. I decided I would try to merge my street photography style with my landscape photography style. I wanted to capture the cities from my own perspective in the travel photography genre. I arrived in DC around 5:30pm on Friday evening. After the fourteen hour train ride, I checked into my hotel, Phoenix Park Hotel, about a block from Union Station across from the National Postal Museum.
The hotel was originally built in 1922 by Harry Wardman and Thomas P. Bones as the Commodore then remodeled and reopened in 1985 by Daniel J. Coleman. Their website explains that Mr. Coleman designed the new hotel after the Phoenix Park in Dublin, which is one of the largest walled parks in Europe. My stay was enjoyable and the room was very luxurious and tranquil.
After a great night’s sleep on my pillow top bed, I left the hotel and started walking down to the Capital and the east side of the Mall at around 6:30am. I got some shots of the Japanese American Memorial(you can read more about the memorial on their website). There was a nice gentleman sweeping up the few leaves that had fallen overnight, it really summed up the serenity of the moment.
I then proceeded over towards the front of the Capital, the monuments, and statues on the east Mall. The air was crisp and the sky was clear so I knew I had to try to get a lot of pictures before the light became really harsh.
I wanted to get over to the Jefferson Memorial before the crowds started piling up, so I tried to create some interesting travel photography photos at the east end of the Mall then scooted on over to the Tidal Basin. I hopped into a cab to beat the crowds to Jefferson Memorial while the sun was still low in the sky.
The cab driver was a nice talkative lady from the Dominican Republic who told me a great story about her favorite dish from home, arroz habichela y carne. It was a delightful tale of rice, beans, and meat that really has nothing to do with my trip, but I just thought you should know. It really made me quite hungry after eating my measly continental breakfast at the hotel. We pulled up to the Jefferson Memorial and luckily there was no one there at all. I got some really nice shots there, then walked back to the mall towards the Washington Monument.
I strolled under the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin down Ohio Drive to Maine Avenue, getting passed by a gazillion runners. I thought there was a race but alas, there is just a bunch of runners in DC. A lady was set up in front of the paddle boats handing out sports drinks and waters to passing runners as the concessions had not opened yet. She explained there were many running clubs in the DC area and she was helping out friends, with whom she split her duties with.
I crossed over Independence Avenue towards the Washington Monument. The Mall was beginning to wake up. The runners were thinning out and the tourists were starting to flood to the area. There were locals playing soccer and rugby in front of the Washington Monument in the early morning sun.
I happened upon a nice little Shinto Drumming Group at a little gathering on the Mall. The event was the 20th annual The Prayer Vigil for the Earth. I wasn’t really sure of what all was going on, but I did know that there was a little boy rockin’ out on a big drum. If you would like to read more go to their website via the link above.
I headed across the street from the vigil to take in the WWII Memorial. Honor Flight trips were already arriving by the busload. It was pretty packed for eight in the morning.
While at the WWII Memorial, I ran into the Doles, Bob and Elizabeth. They were taking pictures with honor flight attendees and I stole a few shots of them. Fortunately for Mr. Dole (unfortunately for me), there was no falling down. I think shooting the WWII Memorial was the most challenging shot of the day so I decided to an HDR shot. I think that is the brightest place on earth with all the white stone and water, maybe all the grey hair contributed to it as well. All I knew was…that was seriously bright…seriously.
The rest of the day I walked the Mall to the Korean Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and then headed to lunch. After lunch I headed back to the hotel, took a nap (because my train to NYC was going to leave at about 1am) and waited for sunset.