Category: People & Places

Photos of people and places and things along the way that don’t fit the rest of the site.

Meteor or Satellite?

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Predictions for a possibly amazing meteor shower were running wild late last week. I wanted to take some photos and my daughter wanted to stay up late. We both thought it would be fun to do something cool with each other, so we headed out in search of something. Since some of the predictions suggested the meteors produced by this shower could be much brighter than normal, we thought it could be cool to set up where a cityscape could be on the horizon in the foreground. Sadly, this is DC, and there is no real distinctive cityscape except that the one shot from the Netherlands Carillon of the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial.

Since the Camelopardalids radiant was supposed to be near Polaris, we thought setting up at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial where we could look north across the Tidal Basin at the Washington Monument and U.S. Mint could be an interesting location to start and then based on how things went and what we saw on Twitter, we would try some other locations as the night went on.

By 12:30am, we hadn’t seen anything and we only saw disappointed people on Twitter, so we packed up and headed to the exurbs where, like everyone else, we still didn’t see didn’t see much of anything and then went home.

Checking the few photos I did take, I saw a light streak in a 30 second exposure taken just after midnight that I’m not quite sure about. I couldn’t see any trace of pulsing or flashing lights that airplanes and helicopters have. I think it’s on trajectory that traces through the expected radiant, which suggests meteor, but it doesn’t have the form, shape or color fringing that most meteor photos display. That leaves satellite, but I don’t know enough about them to know it would be possible to see one that close to the northern horizon at that hour…particularly through the urban light conditions.

Conjunction Junction

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The moon and Jupiter convene on Monday January 21, 2013. They will not have a conjunction this close again until 2026.

A Year After the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

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In March 2002, six months after the September 11 attacks, I saw photos of the first Tribute in Light produced by the Municipal Art Society of New York and I was blown away. I wished I had been able to see it in person. Beginning in 2003, it has been produced annually on September 11. It took until the tenth anniversary in 2011 that I was finally able to make it up there.

My friend Alex and I drove up that afternoon. We parked in Brooklyn near the Brooklyn Bridge Park around what should have been sunset, but we could hardly tell with the low, flat clouds. After taking some photos there, we walked across Brooklyn Bridge, down to Ground Zero, around the Financial District and took a cab back to the car in Brooklyn. From there, we headed to Staten Island, but there was too much fog to see what we wanted, so we headed to New Jersey and took photos here and there from Bayonne to Weehawken. We got back on the Turnpike to head back south around 4:00am. And then I went to work.

I posted one photo from the Brooklyn Bridge last year, but it took some time to get through to the rest.

Bobbleheads and a New Camera

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In a sick, fateful twist of timing (really, is there any other?), my fancy new camera arrived from a New York camera shop just a few days after the Washington Capitals 2011-12 season came to an end last week. After taking the initial mandatory cat photos I was looking around the family room for something to shoot using some fancy new features and I saw the bobblehead set on top of a bookcase. Since I won’t be taking any Capitals photos with this camera for a while, I figured, “Why not?” I think my wife laughed at me a little, but that’s okay. I think the result was worth it.

The bobbleheads pictured (Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, John Carlson, Mike Green, and Alex Ovechkin) are part of the gift the Washington Capitals gave their season ticket holders for the 2011-12 NHL season. Tomas Vokoun was also included in the set and would normally be standing to Backstrom’s right, but I left him out for two reasons. The photo didn’t look quite right with him there (I tried) and Vokoun is almost certainly not going to be back next year so the photo might have a longer shelf life without him. For more about the bobbleheads, watch the Capitals unboxing video.

Watching Discovery Over the Lincoln Memorial

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On April 17, 2012, the Space Shuttle Discovery was flown from Florida to Washington Dulles International Airport so that the Shuttle can be permanently displayed at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. Discovery made the trip atop a specially modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Before landing at Dulles, the Shuttle was flown over the National Mall area in downtown Washington, DC.

In this photo, the aircraft combo is preparing to make a west to east pass on the south side of the Mall from behind the Lincoln Memorial. Construction workers that are renovating the Reflecting Pool paused for a moment watch the Shuttle fly by.

SONG 1, Take 1

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The Hirshhorn Museum began running an exhibit this past Thursday by Doug Aitken called “SONG 1” that wraps the museum in cinematic projected video images and music from sunset to midnight. Read more about the exhibit in the Washington Post and at the Hirshhorn’s website.

We made a quick stop after the Capitals game last night, but could only stay a couple minutes with a couple tired kids and an early swim meet in the morning. I barely had enough time to walk down Independence Ave and look at it for a moment, taking a couple handheld shots just to start getting a feel. I’ll be going back a few times before the exhibit ends on May 13.

Watchtower 949

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In this photo, a woman is steadied by her husband as she stands on  the Brooklyn Bridge photographing the Tribute in Light rising skyward from Lower Manhattan on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that brought down the Twin Towers and claimed almost 3,000 lives.

On September 11, 2011, I drove up to New York with a friend to see and photograph the Tribute in Light display. From the time I first saw photos of it in March 2002, I’ve wanted to see it in person. I may have even needed to see it in person, but I wasn’t able to go until this year. Even though the clouds and fog limited our options a bit, it provided some opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. We walked about six miles, met a lot of people and had a really memorable experience.

Caps Fans Outside the White House

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There was good news and bad news last night. The Washington Capitals lost their second game in a row to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals and dropped to 0-2 in their series. When we got home from the game, we heard the news that American forces had killed Osama Bin Laden and that a crowd was forming at the White House to celebrate. I wiped the memory car, stuck it back in the camera and drove back downtown to see what I could see. I saw a lot of Caps fans (including @cnichols14) and a lot of happy people.

The photos here (and on flickr) are of some of those Capitals fans. There’s also an odd one of a guy (I think) in a Penguins t-shirt with some kind of dragon mask/box on his head.  Also check out Russian Machine Never Breaks and @rinkrebel‘s flickr steam for more Caps fans in the crowd outside the White House. (I’m sure there are others, but I don’t know what or where they are.)

I think I grabbed some other decent shots that have no Caps connection and should be the subject of a follow up post.  I also have plenty of photos from the game, but those are going to wait until later, too.

Wind Power in Genesco

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Geneseo, IL – September 4, 2010:  A wind turbine stands guard on the south side of Interstate 80 in Genesco, Illinois shortly before sunset.

I don’t really know why, but I’m fascinated by wind turbines.  The idea of pulling electricity out of the air with no emissions is pretty cool.  But the things are loud. And you can see them from far, far away.  Even from thirty-some-thousand feet in the air, they’re plainly visible on the earth’s surface. Somehow they have awakened an enivro-consciousness in me that I didn’t know I had…but I’m not sure which side of the fence I’m on when it comes to wind power.  I just find them interesting to look at.

Rock the Red at Verizon Center

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To kick off the latest incarnation of, I thought I’d go with one of my favorite photos.  flickr says that it’s the most “interesting” image I have posted over there, so why not.  In a little over a year it’s been viewed 3,639 times and been favorited 32 times…both numbers still slowly increasing.

This photo was taken before the second game of the Washington Capitals- Pittsburgh Penguins playoff series in May 2009, which was the second series for the Capitals.  The arena had not been lit quite like this during their first series against the New York Rangers, and I was not expecting something so spectacular before game one against the Penguins, but there it was…and I had a super telephoto lens on the camera.  I brought a Sigma 10-20mm and a clear idea of the image I wanted to game two and hoped that 1) they were going to do it again and 2) the lighting would stay consistent enough while taking the 36 source images.  I got lucky on both counts.  I even got lucky in being able to wait out the Nikon D200’s buffer when I filled it up part way through in a way that doesn’t show up in the final image.

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