white house

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A lot has happened since my last blog post on protests in Washington DC. I have attended more protests and was able to capture a ton more images. As news about Black Lives Matter and protests continued every day, I tried my best to try to find unique locations and views of what was going on in the nation’s capital.

So after spending two days at the White House, I wanted to go somewhere different. I knew the BLM protests were happening all over the city, I just had to find them. So on Wednesday, June 3rd, I started a bit earlier in the day and went straight to the Lincoln Memorial. I saw some images of the National Guard all along the steps so I wanted to see it for myself.

But I may have been a little too early because there weren’t as many people as I thought there would be at the Lincoln Memorial so I headed to the US Capitol. The thing about these protests is that I don’t really know where they will pop up. I just sort of show up and hoped there will be people there.

So my luck at the US Capitol was about the same at the Lincoln Memorial. I overheard that I was about 30 minutes too late and most of the protestors that were there, had already left.

I made a loop around the US Capitol grounds and I was about to call it quits. I figured I’ve already captured some pretty good images that past few days, I knew I would be back for more so I didn’t want to push my luck. But there was just one more place that I wanted to check before leaving the city. I wanted to check out the Trump Hotel since it was on my way home and I figured that could be a good place for some action. On my way there, I noticed a bunch of police vehicles blocking off the road. I thought it was unusual but weaved in and out of the streets to try to get as close as I could to the hotel without being stopped. Once I got out of the car, I realized I was right in the middle of a walking protest! The police cars were there to make a safe path for the pedestrians. It was amazing to stumble upon them.

This group of protestors had just left the Trump hotel and was making there way back to the US Capitol so I had to follow them.

While walking to the US Capitol I couldn’t help but notice people helping people. People were handing out cold Gatorade and water, offering snacks and masks, and even medical aid.

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Monday, June 1st morning was the first day I went out to the White House in months. I don’t usually spend too much time photographing the iconic residence because honestly, it’s just not in the best location for sunrise/sunsets. That’s it.

But after a weekend of Black Lives Matters protests, riots, and looting, I had to go. I knew the city was going to look very different than it did just a week ago. So I woke up early in the morning to see if I could capture some of the rioting aftermath.

(L) Cash register found on the sidewalk (R) Broken glass storefront

It didn’t take long to find damage. I knew the White House was the epicenter of the weekend so I had planned to drive around until I found something. Turns out, I could have parked my car anywhere around there and see the destruction.

Windows smashed in from riots along Vermont Ave NW

I noticed a lot of people cleaning up the shattered glass of business storefronts and graffiti on walls while other people were making sure it doesn’t happen again by putting up boards over windows.

The morning after a lot of rioting and looting.

(L) DC Fire & EMS putting out fires from the night before (R) Graffiti seen on the street.

But going in the morning was not enough. I didn’t want to just create images of the wrecking, I wanted to photograph the protest. I wanted to photograph the people, emotions, and voices of the protest. Later in the afternoon, I found myself driving back into the city. 

For the most part, it was peaceful. People chanting “George Floyd,” “I can’t breathe,” and “No Justice, No Peace“. Most seemed determined to have their voices heard, others were there supporting them.

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Besides the Washington Monument, there aren’t many options in Washington for someone to get an elevated view of the city. Sure you could go to a rooftop bar or hotel, but who can pass up the opportunity to go to the third tallest building in the city, for free! The Old Post Office Tower is located at 1100 Pennsylvania Ave and considered to be a part of the National Mall. It’s viewing tower has some unique views that can’t be seen anywhere else and opened daily from 9 am – 5 pm daily (last entry is at 4:30 pm) except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the early 1900s, this building was used as the city’s main post office. Since then has been transformed into office buildings and in 2016 Donald Trump redeveloped the property into a hotel with restaurants and retail.

The entrance is located in the middle of 12th street between Pennsylvania Ave NW and Constitution NW, next to the Starbucks. A little tucked away but there are signs that will lead you to the entrance. As you enter the building, there is security who checks your bags to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you aren’t supposed to be carrying. You are then directed down the hall to the elevators. This hallway was particularly interesting because it had old images of Washington DC from years ago. Living in the Washington area, these are scenes I see almost every day so it’s interesting to see what it actually looked like in the early 1900s.

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Walking around the White House area has become one of my new favorite places to photograph in Washington. For some reason, I’ve always dismissed the White House itself because it has always been a difficult landmark to photograph. With the gates, so many tourists and extra police protection, I still consider the White House one of those places that I haven’t gotten a great image of yet. It will happen one day! But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the views of the surrounding areas like Lafayette Square.

This image was taken of the United States Department of the Treasury that’s located right next to the White House but on this particular morning, I noticed how the statues were lining up with the General William Tecumseh Sherman Monument. I think it is so interesting how everything lines up so well with the statues, street lamps, and columns. A view a lot of people may not see or even notice so I’m glad I was able to capture it.

My camera settings for this image are F7.1 at 1/250th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and my 70-200mm zoom lens.

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Home from another amazing weekend in New York. I seriously love going to that city and I don’t think I’ve ever said “photo” so much in my life. But it was all worth it because PhotoPlus was so much more than I expected. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming. So while I’m still digesting everything that happened, here’s a little image I captured of the General Andrew Jackson Statue located close to the White House in Washington DC right before I left on the trip.

My favorite part of this image is how simple it is, but I also love the framing. The American Flag in the background is the flag you see on top of the White House and it was just in perfect alignment with General Jackson and his hat. Patriotic but effortless all at the same time. LOL. I think the cloudy day even worked well for this shot to simplify this image even more.

I plan on spending the day going through the images I captured in New York over the weekend. More about that soon!

My camera settings for this image are F7.1 at 1/40th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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If you’ve never been to the top of the Washington Monument, you need to. It’s a whole new perspective on the city that you won’t get anywhere else. At 555 ft, you can basically see EVERYTHING. For instance, I saw the basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Nationals Park, Virginia, Maryland… EVERYTHING. It’s very cool.

This image was taken at the windows facing north with views of the White House, The Ellipse, and so many more buildings behind it. They are small windows and at each of the windows, there’s a little platform for what I’m guessing for children to stand on so they can see out the window. So if you’re really tall, you may have to crouch down a bit.

In case you were wondering, each direction of the Monument only has two windows so there is a good chance that you may have to wait a bit before you get to see the view. But the part that I love most is that there are plaques underneath them pointing out all the major landmarks. It’s so interesting to look at the plaques and then look out the window to realize what you’re actually looking at. It’s so interesting to see how each of the places related to each other from such a high point of view.

These were just two people looking out the window, contemplating their view. I love how the man has his hand near his mouth to create that curve in his wrist. I don’t know, something about it made this image so interesting. Also, you may notice the smudge. Yes, the windows could use a bit of cleaning…

My camera settings for this image is F10 at 1/125th sec and ISO 640 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.