Washington DC’s Gallery Place-Chinatown stop, during rush hour. Available as a print from Crated.
With my incredible interns helping with research, I wrote a massive recap of congressional primaries on Tuesday – seven states and the District of Columbia held nominating elections that day (you can read the preview here).
The wrap up was so long we decided to split it into three sections:
- New England (Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vemont)
- Mid-Atlantic (Washington D.C. and New York)
- Midwestern (Minnesota and Wisconsin)
The three pieces probably don’t have everything you would ever want to know about the candidates in each state, but there’s still a wealth of information there if you’re interested. Of course, you most of this information was pulled from the profiles built by Congresspedia’s citizen-journalists, all part of our Wiki the Vote project.
I attended the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base this past weekend, my first show in at least a decade and possibly 15 years. My family used to love air shows: my mom would take us to the Amigo Air Show in El Paso pretty often, while my pops would take us to the open house at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.
I’ve long been a fan of airplanes in general, and those early air shows fostered a keen respect for military aircraft as well. A friend and I would pour over volumes of Jane’s Alll the World’s Aircraft checking out the latest Russian, European and American fighters. We’d play flight sims on our old 386 – crudely rendered, but immensely fun for us.
It was in that spirit that I attended the JSOH this past Saturday, especially because of the promised fair: a B-2 flyby, the Blue Angels team, and an F-22 demonstration. I was stoked.
The Navy, Air Force and civilian pilots did not disappoint. I watched World War II fighters employ impeccable precision, and stunt pilots complete unbelievable maneuvers. The Blue Angels were amazing, and though I’ve seen the Thunderbirds perform several times the control exhibited by the Navy fliers was unmatched.
The highlight of the day, however, was the fighter performance. Beginning with an F-15, a remarkable jet that long held the position of World’s Best Fighter, the crowds were treated to a stunning display of power and flight. It continued with the F-22 Raptor, America’s latest entry into the air-superiority game. Though I decry the tremendously over-priced program and question the need for so many of the jets, they sure can fly. I watched the pilot hold his position in vertical and horizontal space, turn on less than a dime, and basically perform acrobatic maneuvers with the grace of an Olympian.
So, it’s been a while since I did some photoblogging, and I thought I would go ahead and do a photodump of pictures taken in the past two weeks. You should click on the photos for larger versions and to read more about them, but here’s a basic rundown: the tulips in D.C. are amazing in Spring, the National Arboretum will knock your socks off, Rehobeth Beach in Delaware is wonderful, the new Nationals stadium is a dream for baseball fans, and the tulips in D.C. are amazing in Spring. Yeah, I said it twice: they’re really that good.
As a relative newcomer to D.C., one of the things I’d not seen was the cherry trees blossoming along the Tidal Basin. I made it down to the area twice this week to take some photos and take in the scene, and was simply amazed at the sheer number of blossoms and the beauty of the Basin ringed by so many budding trees.
I was also taken by the, for lack of a better word, wholesome family fun that was happening. I saw families (like the one pictured at left) enjoying the weather and the blossoms. There were gals out on the Tidal Basin in paddleboats taking pictures of the shoreline, guys reading books, and people picnicking like it was going our of style. There were also cute babies by the truckload!
It rained on me during a third excursion: Sunday, when my sister took part in the Credit Union 10-Mile Run. Now, Aislinn and I both ran cross country in high school, and we’ve did some post-school running to certain degrees. But this was her first endeavor to tackle a multi-mile race in about 10 years. She acquitted herself very well, finishing at 1:30:55, just 55 seconds off her target time.
In no small way is the Cherry Blossom Festival contributing to my love of the D.C. area in springtime (more on that in a later post), and I’m like a kid in the candy store with my camera right now. I just might turn this joint into a photoblog yet.
At any rate, there are other photos below (click for larger versions).
So, we’re supposed to share our story behind the photo. Here goes. I’m hesitant about revealing the truth about this shot — you’ll see why when you get to the end.
It was April of 2004, and I was a student at Western New Mexico University. Earlier that year I was chosen as editor for the student newspaper, The Mustang, a job which eventually led to my career as a journalist. I had also been accepted for Sen. Jeff Bingaman‘s summer internship in Washington D.C., where I would work closely with his public information staff.
Somehow, I learned that the World War II Memorial would be dedicated on Memorial Day. Since I would be traveling to D.C. prior to that weekend, I applied for press credentials, not sure if I would receive them, since I was just the editor for a very small university newspaper.
The week before the dedication, I received word that the media credentials were on the way, but wouldn’t arrive in Silver City until after I had already left for D.C. I contacted the organizers, explained the problem, and was told I could pick up another packet for the event from their office.
After I arrived, and when I opened the packet, I was shocked to see that I had been given a Media 1A credential. This placed me on the closest media riser at the event!
Memorial Day weekend arrived, and Saturday, May 24 was the dedication ceremony. More than 150,000 people passed through the security checkpoints to file into the National Mall and near the Washington Monument. I slowly made my way to the 1A Media Riser, stopping along the way to take photos of veterans, their families, the landmarks and monuments, etc.
I soon found myself with all the cable news networks and journalists from a bunch of high profile magazines and newspapers. The 1A media platform was the place to be. I had an incredible view of the dedication ceremony, where Tom Brokaw, Tom Hanks, Sen. Bob Dole and President Bush spoke. I also had a great view of the multitude of people attending the event.
The event concluded, and I left.
So, where’s the story behind the photo? Well, this is a story with a moral: don’t delete your digital photos unnecessarily.
It wasn’t until I had returned home to New Mexico in August, and was going through pictures I had taken during the summer, that I discovered this photo. And the remarkable thing is, I didn’t take a picture of this old veteran, who remains unidentified. I was trying to get a shot of the Washington Monument — this guy was in the foreground, unnoticed by me and everybody else.
It was only after the photo appeared on the monitor in front of me that I saw the veteran, sitting alone with a cigarette in his hand, with an expanse of empty chairs behind him. All it took was some simple cropping to achieve the composition, and I had this photo.
I love the picture because it reminds me of that day, which was an incredible experience for me, and because it serves as a reminder that you sometimes never know what you have on your memory card.