The signs are unmistakable: the calendar says March, sunrise is coming earlier each day, the temperatures are rising, and the snow is disappearing.
Jefferson Memorial at Sunrise, March 12, 2012
After all, it’s been 3 years since I got a decent image on March 12th. So yesterday afternoon (March 12th), I made a scouting run into the city to check out a few sites for possible photo opportunities. As I made the rounds, it appeared that conditions were promising for a sunset image (see below) so I kept my eye on the clouds building up as I explored the area around the National Mall.
The scouting findings may be of interest to photographers in the Washington, DC area, others can skip to the end and see what happened at 7:25 PM.
Solar Cycle: For the next few days, the late afternoon sun (when skies are clear) will be providing some opportunities as it illuminates the Federal Triangle Buildings along the north side of Constitution Avenue and the recently renovated Arts and Industries Building on Independence Avenue.
Fountains: As usual at this time of year, virtually all of the fountains are still shut down for the winter. This includes the fountains and pool at the World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool between the WW II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. In addition, the waterfall at the northwest corner of the Museum of the American Indian is dry and the waterfalls at the FDR Memorial are also turned off.
The Tidal Basin: There is a significant amount of ice still in the Basin, but this should be melted in a few days.
National Gallery, East Wing: The large construction crane is finally gone, although there is still a considerable amount of fencing and construction equipment on the south and east sides of the building. However, there are good angles on the west side of the building.
Ongoing Construction: The US Capitol is still under scaffolding, of course, and the white plastic wrap covering part of the scaffolding has been altered for the worse (who would have thought that was possible) by adding a section with a tawdry taupe color. The new African American Museum is still far from completion and news reports state that the opening date has been pushed back to early 2017. There is better news a few blocks to the west where the interminable construction project for a relatively small flood control wall (17th Street and Constitution Avenue) is all but wrapped up. The unsightly wooden fence on the northeast corner of 17th and Constitution is gone, leaving a rather graceful stone wall curving toward the Washington Monument. Across 17th, the construction equipment has been removed and the landscaping seems completed. However, there are still some chain link fences protecting the larger trees along 17th Street.
March 14: DC Rock ‘n Roll Marathon: The Start Time 7:30 AM likely will complicate efforts to photograph anything else so plan accordingly. Details here.
March 20: The Equinox. Check your Photographer’s Ephemeris app for an opportunity near you.
March 28: Kite Festival, the long-running kite festival will be in its usual location on the grounds of the Washington Monument starting at 10:00 AM. For details, click here.
April 4: Full Moon. Check your Photographer’s Ephemeris app for an opportunity near you.
Sunset at the FDR Memorial
As the sun edged closer to the horizon last night, I made my way over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial which is located on the west side of the Tidal Basin. DC locals might think this is a strange location to capture a sunset, but I thought it would be a good backdrop for a specific feature at the Memorial. The result is shown below.
FDR Memorial at Sunset, March 12, 2015
(Technical Data: Nikon D800E with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on tripod, extended to 24mm; exposure 1 sec. @f/16, EV = -1.0 ISO 400.)
The Memorial, on 7.5 acres chronicles the four terms of Roosevelt’s Presidency. This section, with the five pillars and five panels on the wall, were intended to represent the social programs (New Deal) during his presidency. The design has been criticized as the “least successful” of the many sculptures in the Memorial, and I would agree that their intended symbolism is opaque. Nevertheless, I have found them to be an interesting photographic subject.
Coming Soon–Iguazu Falls (Really!)