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Washington DC Attractions and the New World War 2 Memorial

I was recently in the Washington DC area for a close friend’s wedding celebration and decided it would be a great idea to stay an extra day or two to explore a few of the Washington DC attractions. The itinerary was simple. Wing it.

So, with that in mind, I think this trip was super successful because my girlfriend and I got to see DC lit up at night, The White House, Spy Museum, Olde Town Alexandria, and a whole bunch of other historical monuments like the World War 2 Memorial and the Washington Monument.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Washington DC area, the public transportation system is convenient, fast, and extremely easy to navigate. The Metro has a color coded system that navigates through DC and parts of Virginia in lighting fast time for a modest fee.

Spy Museum

Appearances can be deceiving; that saying rings true for the exterior of the Spy Museum as well. Most of the buildings in the DC area are exquisitely detailed and grand. Not as much with the Spy Museum… it was a nice looking building, but it appeared small.

Appeared is the key word here; we were astonished to realize the massive size of this building by the length of time that the self guided tour took to complete. The exhibit displays gadgets that were used through the ages and gives you a side by side comparison of how the technology has evolved over time. Audio/Visual bugs were really stealthy, even 50 years ago.

The tour progressed from technology and tactics to famous spys and stories that would have surprised even the most analytical person.

Be sure to put this museum on your to-do list for the next visit.

World War 2 Memorial

There is no better time to see Washington DC attractions than at night. The lighting is intricate and well thought out, from smaller pillar lights to flood lights for the Washington Monument. Even walkways have recessed lighting to help lead your eyes. The Mall is also less crowded so navigating to your destination is much easier.

The World War II Memorial looks great. I especially liked the pillars that surrounded the monument. Each pillar represents a state and was adorned with a wreath. Spend some time here and make sure you pay attention to every last detail. Look for significance in the gold stars and make sure you read the placards. Oh, don’t forget to look up when you’re on either side of the structure near the arches.

A view of the Washington DC World War 2 Memorial at night.

Morristown – Red Church Doors

Morristown, New Jersey is the place to be for that small town charm with urban flair. Their booming nightlife is packed with diverse restaurant selections, eclectic and traditional bars, and shopping that is sure to please anyone looking for the latest trend on a budget.

A few important landmarks are The Morristown Green, the Morristown Train Station, and a wide selection of historic churches.

Morristown Charms with Red Church Doors

Night photography comes alive and these red church doors are illuminated with floodlight. The play on highlight and shadow is what caught my attention – one door has great highlights, while the other sits in darkness. I think the lighting was coincidental, but there’s a deeper meaning here; light vs. dark, or more abstractly represented, Good vs. Evil.

A Morristown historic church's doors are illuminated with a deeper meaning, Good Vs. Evil.

Church Architecture – Day 13

Church architecture is always very beautiful, even if the structure is old and falling apart. I am drawn to the stained glass, the old stone work, and its moody and ethereal lighting.

My immediate surrounding area is filled with gorgeous churches that light up the roads on which they reside and I am constantly pulled in their direction to take a few photos. My initial intention was to go inside, but it was too late and the doors were closed and locked. I thought church doors are always open for visitation? Oh well, there’s always next time.

For today, I captured a night shot of the exterior church architecture highlighting the front door and its elaborate stone work. I think the deep black sky really helps pull the building into focus.

A churches exterior is prominently displayed at night with flood lights hightlighting the front door and surroundings.

Night Photography – Shadows & Color

I am sure that I will be partaking in quite a bit of night photography for this photo-a-day project simply because I work during the week and it is difficult to devote time during daytime hours – excluding weekends and vacation days of course. All is good though; night photography can add a new dimension to your photography skill set. All you need is a stable tripod and a cable release. Or, you can use the timer on the camera; a 10 second timer should be sufficient at eliminating any internal camera vibrations.

Shadows & Color

I really like to play with shadows and to create mood with dark scenes, especially at night. This particular wrought iron fence had a light passing through the grates and created the coolest play on shadows near the painted yellow stop text. The wrought iron shadows danced into the distance, mingling on top of one another and interweaved into sets of diamonds. Midway through setting up, I noticed headlights behind me and somehow managed to stop the flow of traffic. Oops! So, I moved out of the way, recomposed again, and came away with a keeper.

A wrought iron fence creates a pattern of shadows on the asphalt below in this night photography photograph.

Day 7 – New York City Skyline

I love dining outside with a view of the New York City skyline and I always enjoy experiencing new restaurants because you never know what to expect. Does the food, ambiance, and service live up to expectation or does something fall short? I have learned to adapt and to never take others’ opinions too seriously – you could be missing out on a great find because the recommendation came from someone that was having a bad day!

Dinner with a View of the NYC Skyline

Anyhow… The restaurant is called Chart House in Weekhawken, New Jersey. I’ll say this right off the bat… the view of the New York City skyline is breathtaking from this restaurant! We were lucky to have made reservations a few weeks in advance so a window seat for two was waiting for us. Onto the quick review… Attention to detail, impeccable. Martinis, delicious. Food, service, ambiance… great. I distinctly remember the clam chowder and macadamia encrusted mahi as favorites.

If you’re visiting Chart House for a special occasion, do make sure you tell them when you reserve a table because they will add finishing touches and polish to your dining experience. Final verdict, this restaurant is top notch and highly recommended, if not for the view alone!

New York City Skyline

I had a few moments after dinner to capture the New York City Skyline with festive Memorial Day colors; the Empire State Building is adorned with patriotic red, white, and blue to symbolize the American soldiers that lost lives during the Civil war.

I always shoot my photos in RAW format so I can tweak settings after the fact. The files are larger than JPEG, but it has been a saving grace for me. RAW allows non-destructive changes to white balance, sharpness, and a bunch of other preprocessing sliders that will restore your image without degrading quality. More on that in another post.

A New York City Skyline with the Empire State Building adorned with festive red, white, and blue for the Memorial Day weekend.

365 Project – Day 5 – Wooden Bench Just After Dusk

It’s back to work for most people (myself included) as the holiday season has run its course. Take a few minutes to reflect over the past few weeks. Hopefully you shared time with those close to you and had a few laughs.

Wooden Bench Just After Dusk

In keeping with a Google+ theme today, I chose to share something from my own backyard for #MyTownTuesday, which is curated by Melanie Kintz and Eric Leslie. In case you are interested in checking this amazing sharing site out for yourself, following this link over to: Google+ – Real life sharing, rethought for the web. You can add me if you’d like to follow my photography there as well. The Wooden bench just after dusk is part of a pathway system in my neighborhood that I pass by often; it only made sense to capture it. Finally.

A bench just after dusk basks in street lamps with a path running up the left of the frame.