Tag: Washington DC

Read More

Praising the 135mm

In a post dateline eight days ago, Phoblographer publisher Chris Gampat explains “What You Should Know Before Buying a 135mm Lens“. He describes my favorite Prime focal length: “a magical wonder for many photographers”; “optically speaking, no one looks bad on the other end of this lens”; “notoriously hard to get in focus”; and “render[s] super tight if you don’t have a lot of room”. Also calling 135mm a “pain”, he acknowledges: “I’ll admit they can create beautiful photos”.

If shooting an interchangeable lens camera, rather than fixed-28mm Leica Q2, I absolutely would favor 135mm. Honestly, I might go 85mm for close spaces but otherwise mainly use the longer focal length. I love 135mm.

Read More

It’s a Cultural Cold War

The United States continues to seek new punishments against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. Americans rally to the cause with good intentions that may not mean much and that may do more harm than good. For example, pouring out Vodka and evoking spirit (no pun intended) of the Boston Tea Party accomplishes what?

As Dan Kois writes for Slate: “Stop Boycotting Random Russian Things. You are not stopping the war in Ukraine”. Nutgraph: “It is dumb to boycott things that have no actual connection to Vladimir Putin or even, in some cases, to Russia. But it’s also foolish to demonize every vestige of Russian culture, and ordinary Russian citizens, and Russians abroad, as a result of a catastrophic war launched by a despot”.

Read More

The Quiet Capitol

A year ago today, in the early afternoon, a rally for President Donald Trump turned to mayhem outside the U.S. Capitol. Certification of the 2020 election stopped, after angry protestors pushed into the building and lawmakers, along with VP Michael Pence, were ushered away. The Electoral count resumed in the evening, after crowds dispersed and law enforcement secured the premises; Joseph Biden was officially declared winner.

The incident, which I won’t characterize for lack of first-hand knowledge, is a turning point for the American Republic. If polls can be trusted, the direction depends much on point of view, which largely divides along party lines: Many Democrats see an attempted coup intended to steal the election. Many Republicans believe the election already had been stolen and constituents gathered to support the real President.

Choose your side wisely.

Read More

Citizens are the True Symbols of Our Democracy

I wonder on this 92nd Martin Luther King Jr. birthday what the great civil rights leader would think about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. during 2021. Following last week’s U.S. Capitol breach during a massive rally of Donald Trump supporters, the District is essentially locked down ahead of the January 20 inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. A seven-foot high, non-scalable fence surrounds the symbol of American democracy, which may never be freely open to the public again.

“Roughly four times the number of American troops currently deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined”—that’s 21,000—are protecting the U.S. Capitol and D.C. for the inauguration, Karina Zaiets, Javier Zarracina, and Kim Hjelmgaard write for USA Today. Alex Ward, first-hand reporting for Vox: “The seat of American democracy looks like a city under occupation”.

Read More

Flowers, Anyone?

The Featured Image is an attempt to soothe the soul, following an insane few days that promise to be absolutely crazier. I captured the flowers on April 2, 2018, using Leica M (Typ 262) and Summarit-M 1:2.4/50 lens. Vitals: f/4.8, ISO 200, 1/250 sec, 50mm; 10:24 a.m. PDT. Photo is composed as shot; no edits.

As for the bizarre goings on, to start: During a massive rally of up to 1 million people (my guess, 250,000-plus) in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, protesters broke into the U.S. Capitol during certification of the electoral vote that confirms the 2020 Presidential Election winner. Violence ensued, and lawmakers were evacuated, including Vice President Michael Pence. A woman (Ashli Babbit) from here in San Diego was shot and killed by police. Politicians quickly called the assault an “insurrection” and failed “coup”, blaming President Donald Trump for instigating the incident.

Read More

Flickr a Week 44b: ‘Storm Coming’

I agonized choosing today’s entry like no other in the series. The United States is two days away from a potentially transformative Presidential election. I reviewed hundreds of photos, finding none available with Creative Commons license that truly captured the right sentiment. At one point, to commemorate Day of the Dead and to punctuate how we all might be living the Zombie Apocalypse as the votes are tallied, and thereafter, I considered choosing something like “It’s Almost Time for Day of the Dead” by Richard Cawood.

Instead, the Sunday spot goes to the more foreboding, and location appropriate, self-titled “Storm Coming“, which Mike Maguire captured on July 1, 2017, using Sony α7S II. Vitals: aperture unknown, ISO 100, 1/2000 sec. Mike says about the moment: “About 30 minutes before heavy rain hit Washington, DC.” I picked the photo for metaphorical topicality, film-like graininess that adds character, and punchy black-and-white contrast that amplifies the atmosphere.

Read More

Blizzard 2016 Weather Voyeurs

I grew up with snow. Hometown Caribou, Maine, typically ranks in the top five cities for annual average accumulation—280 centimeters (110 inches); ranked No. 4 for winter 2015. However, I spent most of my adult life in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where snow is nowhere as frequent but where whiteouts or ice-rages can be more severe. My wife and I are weather voyeurs observing the blizzard blasting the District this weekend. Washington is more home than San Diego, where we live to assist my 94 year-old father-in-law. The blizzard and memory of past storms there beckon me.

Anne has followed the storm online, posting to Facebook this morning a delightful video of panda play at snow-covered National Zoo. She also watched CNN, which coverage is sensational and sporadic. We needed something more like home, so I switched HDMI ports to Roku Stick, started the NewsOn app, and watched the live feed from WUSA. What a treat! 

Read More

What Do Amazon, Google, and Twitter Share in Common?

Let’s spin some wild conspiracy theories—because it’s fun. You can choose whether or not to take them seriously, as nothing makes better hay than a presidential election year.  So I look fondly on the Obama Administration’s preparations for the president’s last State of the Union address—nearly a year before Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or some other soulless political pretend maven—boots him from the White House. Also, as a long-time tech journalist, what goes on behind the prep interests me.

Our Commander in Chief wants you to get the message whenever or wherever you may be. That’s an admirable ambition. But I can’t help wonder if the buddy-rule still applies; I suppose it could be coincidence that the tech that will bring you President Obama’s speech and followup conversations with the Veep, First Lady, and others is provided by people/companies close to the Administration. Hehe, a crony by any other name is still a crony, just not the same.