Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Vietnam War Memorial in DC reminds the nation of the price of freedom

Washington, DC is a city of memorials and museums but none seem to impact citizens of the nation as deeply as the Vietnam War Memorial.  The memorial's star player is that of the Wall that memorializes the 58,000 lives lost in the conflict in Vietnam.  What many people do not realize is that the Wall is not the only part of the memorial to fallen soldiers of Vietnam.  To the south of the wall lie two statue memorials known as the Three Servicemen and the Vietnam Women's memorial.


I had been to Washington, D.C. many times before I took the time to visit the Vietnam memorials.  When I finally did, it was when I brought my father out here to see this beautiful area in which I dreamed of living.  I knew that the history here and respect paid to the past would be of great interest to him so I brought him for his birthday.  As it turned out, I hadn't realized until the week before we left Oregon that our visit would coincide with Veteran's Day.  What a treat!  Especially considering that my Father is a Vietnam veteran.


Like many tourists who come to visit the memorial, and specifically the Wall, we had a name we were looking for among the thousands of names etched into the granite.  I couldn't help it when the lump in my throat formed as I watched my Father's fingers skim the stone as he searched for the name.  I couldn't imagine the thoughts and images of memories that must have been running through his mind as he hunted for the name of his friend and fellow soldier but we silently bonded as I saw the tears begin to pool in his eyes.  They never dropped down his face and he didn't clear the floodgates of the mounting pressure with a swipe of his hand.  No, he held them in place just as he had held all of the tragedy he had seen as a young man.  My Father isn't a crier.  In fact, up to that point in time I'd only seen him cry once in my life.  I am not as strong as my Father and seeing him in such a state of vulnerability but remaining strong caused me to lose my own composure.


I revisited the Wall the week before Memorial day this year to get photos to write an article on the memorial.  I saw droves of students on field trips and families coming to pay their respects to the fallen.  None of the tourists I watched and captured with my camera impacted me the way my Father had on our visit.  But, then I saw a veteran who had come to find the name of his fallen friend, to give his thanks and to honor him with a memento to show the respect he still held inside for him.  The shy girl in me knew if I passed up the moment to break out of my shell and ask the man if I could photograph him that I would regret it, so I asked.  Thankfully, I was able to stay detached and get the shot I wanted but his actions lingered in my mind and as I walked along the football field length of the wall and came close to the section where my father's friend is honored the tears came rushing back to my eyes as they had three years earlier.  Only this time, I honored my father as well and never let them leave the gates.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gargoyles and gardens at the Washington National Cathedral

I'm putting a disclaimer out here right away...I'm not a religious person so when I write about churches, monasteries and cathedrals I do respect the religions they represent but my takeaways are more of the architecture, natural beauty and sociological aspects of places defined by a massive subset of our society as "sacred".  I was raised as a young girl going to church and I find that faith can be a great resource to many people but personally, I do not practice any particular religion.



Late last month, I decided to check out the National Cathedral in NW DC since I'd seen this giant structure after coming home from the National Zoo a few weeks earlier.  The sheer size of the building alone commands one's attention but I was captivated by the intricate detail and the architectural beauty of the Cathedral.  I can easily see why it has been designated as our national Place of Prayer.

I'm a planner so I always check the web for information about a location I intend to visit and write up for a piece.  I was surprised at the breadth and depth of the Cathedral's website--there are SO many things to do at the Cathedral that I'll definitely have to take a few trips back just to cover all the activities.

I happened to visit on an overcast day, which wasn't the most flattering for the gothic styled architecture but it was perfect for taking photos in the Bishop's Garden!  As a transplant resident to D.C. I often find myself seeing well-known places like the Cathedral or the Smithsonian as fresh and new when as a writer I know they are not but I think the thing that long-time residents of the area overlook are the details which can make repeat visits to a location an entirely new experience.  I try to put that across in my pieces by providing a lot of links for further information.  I came here from the West Coast and while sure we had a handful of museums and interesting pieces of architecture, the quality of such things in the D.C. area in comparison is astounding!

Either way, Whether you’re religious, an atheist or agnostic, the Washington National Cathedral is a must-see structure in D.C. (read more...)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Watch time fly by at Gravelly Point

I've loved planes since I was a little girl.  An uncle of mine (by marriage) had a single engine prop plane that he took me for a flight in when I was about six or seven years old.  I was completely fearful of getting in the plane at the start but once we took off from the tarmac, I was in love!  He even let me take control of the stick and guide us through the air for a few minutes.

I was 23 when I finally took my first commercial flight and I was smitten all over again.  I'm that passenger who enjoys the turbulence because it's like a roller coaster ride.  Yep, I'm a little bit crazy.  These days I don't do much flying but I do enjoy driving to Gravelly Point Park and watching the planes take off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

On the north side of the runway at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is where you’ll find the perfect spot for taking in the sights and sounds of airliner departures and arrivals. As the planes take off you’ll feel the ground shake beneath your feet and the vibrations flow through your chest. The park is a common waiting area for local private car service drivers awaiting their clients’ landings. However, lots of locals know of this spectacular viewing area and while the parking lot may be full there is more than enough room between the grassy lawns and the near dozen picnic tables to not feel crowded by other visitors (read more...)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A secret garden in plain sight

Back in the beginning of April, after I'd returned from a trip to NYC, I decided that I'd join the tourists in D.C. and check out the Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin.  Since I was already on the National Mall I figured why not walk around taking pics of the monuments as well.  As I navigated my way to the Tidal Basin area I stumbled upon the National Park Service's Tulip Library.  I'd never heard a word about it in any of my travels to D.C. before I actually lived here.  It's as if it was some secret garden hiding in plain sight that I'd just lucked out to come across.



On the north side of the Tidal Basin sits a small but plentiful garden of tulips. This garden, often never known about until stumbled upon, was first planted by the National Park Service back in 1969. The Tulip Library, as it is referred to by the National Park Service, truly is a secret garden in plain sight because unless one is driving or walking westbound on Independence Avenue SW just before the turn off onto Maine Avenue SW the garden often goes unnoticed.(read more...)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fallen in love with U street

So this was sort of the subject behind my first article for Examiner.  I'd just spent an entire afternoon in the U Street corridor and LOVED it.  I miss that city vibe where everything is so mixing pot-esque.  There was a little bit of it in Portland, OR but it was still pretty much all white people who were college-educated and had money (read: lived on the west side in the suburbs and came to the "city" to shop) or college-educated and chose to live a minimalist life (read: hipster or hippie).  I always felt so out of place in downtown Portland; like I didn't have enough money in my bank account to belong there.  D.C. may be full of politicians and assumed pretension but oddly enough it's pretty laid-back and the streets downtown...maybe it's because of all the tourists.  I'm pretty glad though that the U Street area has remained an alcove from the tourists and that it has kept so much of the character that was around during the days of jazz despite being gentrified in the past decade.



Many U.S. citizens see Washington, D.C., as merely a hub of politics given that it is the nation's Capitol. As tourist season is upon us, an influx of visitors will flock to the monuments of the National Mall, maybe the spy museum and perhaps make it over to the Smithsonian National Zoo or Aquarium. Unfortunately, many will forget about or may not even know of the histories held in the neighborhoods of D.C. and miss out on places like the U Street Corridor in the Shaw neighborhood. (read more...)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

M.I.A.

So, not that a ton of people come here but those who do have likely noticed that I've been M.I.A. for nearly a month.  There's a reason other than disinterest.  I finally found a freelance writing gig!  Ok, don't get too excited for me yet.  It pays beans, well not really but pennies kinda look like beans, right? ;)  Anyway, it's a start.  I've been focusing a lot of my time on learning the publishing tool the company has its writers use, going out to locations for stories to take my own pictures instead of stock photos (I think it adds credibility), participating in the company's community forums for writers and working on generating traffic to my articles.

It's nice to see my two loves, writing and photography, finally merge in my life.

While I had a format here of doing a daily post, I will be going back to posting but it'll likely only be a few times a week and a presentation of some photos that I took while out for a story.  I could rattle off a few articles every day but they wouldn't be genuine, detailed and with personal photos.  I can be a machine but I choose to be human--even on the internet.

I'm hoping to build my presence online as a writer because a degree in English and almost five years of experience as a staff writer isn't appearing to cut it to get a writing job in the real world these days.  As many of you know, I was planning on going back to school to get a second Bachelor's degree in Journalism (didn't have the time nor the $ to study and take the GRE before the deadline for Fall term).  However, with the credit crunch, banks haven't been friendly to the idea of lending money to those who are unemployed or with prior debts (like student loans) or people like me who are both of those things.  Perhaps with a co-signer that would change but that requires one having someone willing to co-sign. ;)  It's provided me some frustration but at the same time I understand the position of the banks and of my family who aren't willing to stick their rear out into the wind of the whims of our economy right now.

For now, the ego boost of being accepted by my first pick of schools (a small private school KNOWN for their Journalism program and the quality graduates they produce) will have to be enough.  So, I'll do what I've done throughout my life--take the hard route and learn the un-traditional way.  It might take longer to achieve my goals this way but I've always been one who believed that it's more about the journey along the way rather than the destination.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Silent

















Candid while walking the U Street Corridor.  I think the image speaks for itself on many different levels.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ben's Bear






















This is the colorful bear statue that sits out in the front of Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C.

He's seen many remakes over the years and as just a familiar sight of Ben's as the signs bearing the business' name.  Oh and he's portable too, so the staff often has him in various locations throughout the week.  But no matter where they put him, the tourists that visit always opt for a photo with the bear in front of Ben's.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Everybody In - Nobody Out

















Street Art, to many it’s also known as Graffiti, is one of the many reasons I love city life. Sometimes it is used to mark one’s territory and other times it is used to expression one’s beliefs, hopes and dreams. Street Art can be a nuisance or source of frustration but it can just as easily be a source of inspiration.  This is in an alley, on the side of a building that looks defunct but also had a shoppe sign so I’m not completely sure even though I saw no signs of activity on a Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Summer In My Bowl

















Super macro shot of fresh berries from dessert the other night.  Taaaaaaysteee!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Curious


































Young Snow Monkey at the Central Park Zoo. The curiosity and amazement at the world of young animals, as well as children, always tugs at my heartstrings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tranquility

















Taken on a day trip to the coast with my bestest. Oregon coastline north of Tillamook.  Print available through RedBubble.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Smoldering

















On RedBubble here.

Oh how nice...

That Blogger decided to delete all of the blogs on my following list...just so that I can spend some time going back and re-adding them to the list...BUT when I go to the blogs and click on follow, it tells me that I'm already following that blog.  What gives?  Has this happened to anyone else today?

Surrounded

















Captured at the Tulip Library near the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.  Early April.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wading into a sea of Yellow

















More tulips (I can’t help myself). Also in the Tulip Library near the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Also Early April 2010.

Pigtails

















Another cute wee one who caught my eye at the zoo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yo, Joe! Toss me a crumb?
















Every NYC resident's faaavorite bird. ;)  Taken at the Central Park Zoo, April 2010.

Print available, here.

Barking Dogs

















Abstract at the elephant exhibit at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Print available via RedBubble.

Stuck in a Moment...at the Zoo


































This adorable little girl kept sticking her head in between two sections of the fence at the elephant exhibit at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, DC. I couldn’t help but chuckle aloud at her preoccupation.

Print available, here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Half Smokes






















Ben's Chili Bowl; a local landmark in D.C. since the late '50s and favorite haunt of Bill Cosby when in town.

Picture Show






















Abstract view of the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.  I was headed to Ben's Chili Bowl for a half-smoke today when this particular view of the theatre caught my eye due to the vectors and contrasting colors.

Prints of this abstract available, here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have a Seat

















Spotted in Old Town Alexandria.  March 2010.

Available as a greeting or post card, matted print and laminated print, here.

Cup Check






















Cup check under the tent.  I can't help but giggle each time I look at this picture from last weekend's softball tournament.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hey is for Horses

















I spotted several of these horse ring statuettes in the yards of homes in the Old Town Alexandria area while walking around.  Some of them had been painted and others left to wear with the weather.  This one caught my eye especially because of the backdrop of the vibrant red of the house and dull yellows, whites and tans of the bush.  It also reminded of the horse project/pony project initiated by Scott Wayne Indiana (whom I met through the drummer of his band Kate's Mirror).  Sometimes I do miss the creative outlet that Portland is for so many people but then I find things here in DC that echo aspects of Portland and know that I am on the right coast for me.  While I do love the DC area (and find Virginia to simultaneously be beautiful and quaint), I know that the 10 year old version of me was right--I did fall in love with NYC at first sight (and my love of it grows every time I return) and I will end up there.  It simply offers too much (in so many ways) to NOT end up there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boomer

















We went outside yesterday and he decided he wanted to lounge despite my urgings to go back inside.  Yep, definitely still a pup even though his face is maturing into the look of a regal man.

















He started to roll around and frolic before deciding when the air is warm and the grass is cool, one MUST stick their nose in the ground.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Remember Our Fallen

















These flags stand high at the corner of one of my favorite memorials in Washington--the WWII memorial.  April 2010.

Prints available here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Eat More Cheese

















There's a very nice woman from New York City whose blog I stumbled upon one day and have been following ever since.  I used to use a blog to write but she rarely uses hers to write and it got me thinking.  Actually, she gets me thinking a lot even though I don't know her.  Anyhow, a handful of weeks back when I began this blog I decided to randomly go out and shoot photos.  I ended up in Old Town Alexandria where there are numerous independent businesses.  Daryl, the woman whose blog I follow, enjoys storefronts as much as I do (I think) but I had never thought to photograph them (as she does).  This is part of the storefront for La Fromagerie; it caught my eye because a) they used French to name their business (J'adore Fran├žais!), b) it's a cheese shop (I love cheese too!) and c) it's colorful, quirky and cute.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pooch

















Yesterday I went to the Coast Guard base to watch my roommate and his friends play in a pre-season tournament of college alumni residents here in the northern Virginia and DC area.  A woman on an opposing team brought this sweet dog with her and I couldn't help but snap a few pics.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Playing in the Library

















This is absolutely one of my favorite shots from my afternoon in DC on Thursday.  Not only did I stumble upon this "Tulip Library" but this adorable little boy and his family were there as well (though they're out of the frame).

Friday, April 9, 2010

You Eat Like a Mouse
















Central Park Zoo, last Friday, with the friend's Nikon that causes me great jealousy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Don't Fall

















I can't remember for certain if this was taken at the Pittsburgh Zoo or not, but my gut says it was so that's what I'm gonna go with until I realize otherwise.  Stupid PC crashing and killing all of my zoo shots, not to mention all of the shots I took on my roadtrip across the country.  Gah!  I'm already an Apple convert but it's takes a bit longer to save up the gobs for the MacBook Pro that I lust after, haha.  Hopefully, when I return to school this Fall, my textbooks won't cost an arm and a leg and I'll be able to afford the MBP as a Christmas present to myself; which is fitting since my iPhone was my self-gifting choice this last year.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Backyard Blossoms

















So even though after using my friend's new Nikon D5000 this last Friday I thought my measly, six year old Olympus Ultra Zoom would be completely dead to me, I guess it's not.  Sorta.  This picture is decent and a great shot for my camera but I can't help thinking how much better it could have been if I was still using his camera...

Wide Open

















Sunset on the Columbia River a half hour east of Portland.  Taken in 2008.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ready and Waiting

















This swing set always looked out of place sitting on the beach until this day that I visited.  It was early evening and the cold temperatures begun to float in from the sea so most of the tourists had migrated to the promenade.  July 2008.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

And then, they flung their arms outward to soak up the sun...

















These POPPED out at me on my walk in Old Town Alexandria.  I do not have a green thumb, for sure.  But, I did see them at the garden department of a store the other day and had to go investigate so that I could know they are Hyacinth flowers; so pretty in every color I have seen them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Irony






















The visual hit me while on a bus leaving NYC with only my iPhone handy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Walk This Way






















Looking back on the walkway down to one of the many falls.  Old Columbia River Hwy.  July.  2008.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Loner

















I never realized, until yesterday, how much I enjoy daffodils.  March.  2010.  Alexandria, VA.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Holy Cow






















Old Town Alexandria.  King Street. March.  2010.  The first sign is my favorite.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lonely Street

















My old street back in Washington.  I love the clouds in this shot just after dusk.  Sometime in 2007.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Honeybee Referee























Awnings of a storefront on the main strip in Seaside, Oregon.  July.  2008.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010