Fascination and Photography: My Slice of Heaven

“I am fascinated by all that I see.”

-  Brian Meeks

This sums up who I am.  My love of the visual knows no bounds.  It is perhaps why I find photography so satisfying.  Photography isn’t just about ‘seeing’ the place, it is about being there, in that moment in time.  It is about the smells, the sounds, feeling deep down in your stomach,  when you eyes fall on the perfect shot.  And sometimes, photography is like a present from Santa.  It is the gift, which is unexpected, that absolutely stuns you the moment you see it.

March 1, 2009, 3:30 am, Georgetown in the District of Columbia.  A light dusting of snow had been sprinkled across the city.  The hour, and the general terror felt by the denizens of DC when every the slightest frozen precipitation appeared, left the streets nearly empty.  I am from Iowa.  We know snow.

An hour before I had grabbed my camera gear and headed out, suspecting that Georgetown would be mostly empty.  I like to see places when they are outside their comfort zone.  Georgetown is a place which thrives on people.  When the everyone is gone, it is a little bit lonely, a little bit uneasy.  I kept her company for a while and she let me capture some wonderful shots.

Georgetown Middle of the Night

Georgetown Middle of the Night

Georgetown: Wisconsin Avenue at Night

On the 12th of June, 2006, it was an oppressively warm day across DC.  On days like this, I liked to take my camera to the National Cathedral, which is always calm, cool, and a thousand miles away from the chaos of life.

National Cathedral in DC

There is a short window of time, pun intended, when the sunlight passes through one set of windows and perfectly illuminates the pillars across the room.  I had known that I was close to the right time of year, but wasn’t completely sure if I was too late or not.  My heart jumped just a bit when I saw it.  The coolness of the church, the quiet footsteps of tourists shuffling about, and the warm glow of light as it landed on the pillars, brought me to a stand still.

I took it in for a few minutes.  My spirit was lifted.  Then I quietly set up my tripod and took my shots.

Spectacular light on Pillars in National Cathedral

March 12, 2008, Arlington VA.  Sometimes the image isn’t about what is seen, but what is known.  I have been to Arlington National Cemetery many times and taken quite a few photos.  This one makes me weep.  I can look at it for hours and think about all that isn’t pictured.  I think about the families, the soldiers, the sacrifice, a wonder about their lives.  We remember these fallen heroes once or twice a year, which doesn’t seem like it is quite enough, for all they have given.

Arlington Cemetary

Arlington Cemetary

Sometimes though, we build places to remember our heroes.  In April of 2008, I went down to the WWII memorial.  I had seen it many times at night, brilliantly lit up, and on this day I was excited to capture this beautiful memorial.  I arrived at 10:56 pm.  I wasn’t aware that the lights on the fountain shut off at 11:00 pm.  I had just put my camera on the tripod when there was a muffled thunk.  It was suddenly much darker.  Had I not stopped for an emergency double cheese burger from McDonalds, I would have had plenty of time to capture its brilliance.  Damn you tasty burger!

It would have been silly not to take a few photos anyway.  So I did, with low expectations.  I had to shoot a 30 second exposure and just didn’t know what I would get.  When I got home I found that I had accidentally taken the best photo of my life.  Hurray tasty burger.

World War II Memorail

On January 26th, 2006 I was driving along and I saw the smoke from an old train up ahead in the distance.  I stepped on the gas and got ahead of it a little bit, hopped out of my car and was able to grab a few quick shots.  Then it was gone.  Sometimes photography is about capturing the briefest moments in time, and when one succeeds, it feels wonderful.


Old Train

It is amazing what one can see, if the are always looking.  June 17th, 2006, while wondering around the Mall, near the Smithsonian, I ran across some people doing some film work.  I am not sure why we are so fascinated with film and TV, perhaps it is that when we are watching a good story, it helps us to imagine the lives we hope to live one day?  Tom Cavanagh, who stared in one of my favorite shows, ‘Ed’, was doing a show for the Smithsonian.  I watched them for a bit, took a couple of photos, and moved on.


Tom Cavanagh

Tom Cavanagh

I have taken thousands of pictures.  They remind me of snippets of time, the places I have been, and the memories I want to hold on to.  Last year, I moved back to Iowa, from the DC area.  My parents invited me to go with them to Alaska.  This was not a hard sell on their part, and I jumped at the chance.  I believe I actually jumped around and squealed like a six year old girl with a new Malibu Barbie (Not Pictured…thankfully)  This was my first, and hopefully not last, cruise.  We left Seattle in early June.

There were Brilliant Sunsets.

Heading to Alaska

There were fun people we met along the way.

Scot and Bev

But most of all, it was a time I got to spend with Mom and Dad.  Truly a Slice of Heaven.

Mom and Dad

This is part of #Letsblogoff which happens on Tuesdays. This is my first time playing! These other fine folks wrote posts about their ‘Slices of Heaven’ too. :-)


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