Saturday, September 26, 2009


I couldn't find as good a spot to shoot sunset tonight as I found to shoot the rainbow earlier in the afternoon. Shame, because it was a nice sunset. Those big dark clouds out on the horizon mean it's probably going to rain some more overnight. I shot this from the Best Buy parking lot up in Tampa, in case you can't read the sign.

Somewhere There's A Rainbow

I've been seeing a lot of rainbows the past couple of months, but I've had no luck photographing them. They're either just small sections of arc, or they don't last until I can find a spot to shoot, or it starts raining and I can't get the shot. But I got lucky today. I spotted this full arc as I was on Gandy Blvd, in St. Pete, and I had time to drive down to the bayshore to shoot some shots. The sun was still pretty high in the sky behind me, which worked to my advantage. That meant the bow was low to the ground, and I could fit it all into the frame. However, when the light got really bright and conditions were just right, I couldn't get the entire secondary bow into the shot. Maybe next time. I think these shots really show the difference in light levels above and below the bow. It's darker above because the light that should be there is making the colors of the bow. You can see the difference quite clearly in the two close-up shots below. The shot at the bottom, which is the one that showed the most of the second bow, shows that the dark area is darkest between the two bows. I believe that's called Alexander's Dark Band.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lincoln In The Dark

And in case you were wondering, I didn't just shoot Mr. Lincoln in the Capitol Rotunda, I also visited him in his Memorial. Several times, in fact, but only once at night. It's an awesome sight to see his larger-than-life statue all lit up in front of you. He's visible for over a mile away as you walk up, sitting there in quiet repose. Very humbling.

In The Rotunda

While in DC, I was lucky enough to get a tour of the US Capitol Building. Inside the Rotunda, I was there at just the right time to catch Abraham Lincoln being lit by a beam of sunlight coming in through the windows high above. I think it's a pretty impressive shot, especially when you consider it was taken in a room with well over 100 yammering tourists and their tour guides who are trying to keep everyone in line, including photographers who think they can get a better shot if they move somewhere they shouldn't be.

Florida In Washington, Part 2

Another little glimpse of Florida in the Nation's capitol, this time on a giant inlaid world map at the US Navy Memorial in Downtown Washington, DC. I brought you a bronze sculpture from this same spot yesterday. If I zoom in really close, I can see my condo on here!

It's A Vent, Silly

On the North-West and South-West corner of the Capitol Building grounds in DC, there are a couple of little round structures. I asked around a few times, and it turns out that they are air vents for all of the underground stuff near The Capitol. Now I know. This one is the NW corner. I thought I took a picture of the other one, which is much darker, but I can't seem to find it right this second.

Silent Protest

When I walked past the Supreme Court in DC a couple of weeks ago, these two were standing out front, at the bottom of the courthouse steps, protesting something or other. I didn't stop to ask, and I'm pretty sure they couldn't have told me anyway, since their mouths were taped shut. The girl was pregnant, so I'm guessing it was a pro-life thing. I'd hoped to get a shot of them pulling off the tape to get a drink, but I got bored waiting and headed off for some photos elsewhere. Oh, wait. Detailed examination of the picture reveals that the red tape on their mouths says 'Life'. I guess that makes them a member of this group. I love the Internets!

Another Demilio I Don't Have

One of my three devoted fans sent me a note today alerting me to another blog sharing out a record featuring a Demilio cover. That blog is Schadenfreudian Therapy, and the record is Edmundo Ros-Baions. I think this is one of the covers I've seen on the web but never in real life. And now, you can head on over there and not only see the cover, you can download the music from the vinyl inside that cover! What a bargain! For the full story, or at least all I know, read up on all these blog entries.

Florida In Washington

Here's something I bet you didn't know about Washington, DC. What's the only state with an embassy there? Why, Florida, of course. Seems that many years ago, the wife of Lawton Chiles had the idea to open up an embassy for the many Florida visitors to DC, and she called it Florida House. Try as she might to spread the idea, none of the other 49 loser states picked up on the idea, though. It's really just a restored row house right across the street from the Capitol Building, and all Florida residents are welcome to come by, hang out, get a glass of orange juice and talk about how much hotter it is in Florida than in Washington. Well, actually they do a lot more than that, but I don't want to get into boring details. They also have a nice-sized collection of original paintings by The Florida Highwaymen, but that's a story for another day. Oh, and here's a little tip. They don't check IDs at the door. So you can just pretend you're from Florida and get the same treatment. Don't tell them I told you that, though.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I stumbled across a familiar sight in downtown DC at a Navy memorial. I'd seen this seaman before, on another coast, several years ago. The statue above is part of The US Navy Memorial in DC, while the seaman below is at the northern visitor center at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA. The bottom picture might illustrate his position a little bit better.

I've heard there are other copies of this guy out there, perhaps at the WWII Museum in LA? I need to do some research, I guess.

Ahh, Wikipedia to the rescue. The DC version is considered the original, and the others are copies. He's called The Lone Sailor, and the artist is Stanley Bleifeld. Now you know.

Found It!

One of the things I searched for but didn't find during my first trip to DC was this portrait of TV blowhard Stephen Colbert. It had been hanging at the National Portrait Gallery for some weeks prior to my visit, but had been removed not long before I got there, perhaps because the joke had worn thin. However, the enterprising Mr. Colbert found a willing recipient in The Smithsonian and their National Museum of American History. They had this portrait hung in an area with other, more popular pop culture icons such as Archie Bunker's chair and Minnie Pearl's hat. Oh, and check out the bottom picture. It's still hung across from the bathroom. When I was there, the velvet ropes didn't have much of a crowd to guide. I'm sure that was just a temporary lull, though.

Near And Far

Just a little demonstration here about why it's important to tell your camera what to focus on. The shot above is focused on the foreground. It's a nice shot of some purple flowers. Similar shot below, but the focus is now the background, showing you the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and The Capitol Building. Perhaps a more competent photographer than myself would have gotten everything in focus in one picture, but I doubt it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I don't know why I find squirrels so funny, I just do. I spotted this guy on a tree near the South lawn of the White House in Washington DC, just hanging around, chomping down on a nut. Why he chose to hang like this, I'll never know. But he seems happy enough while doing it.

The Zero Milestone

Here's another minor monument in Washington DC that you're liable to miss is you aren't looking for it. On the North side of The Ellipse, just South of the White House, this is the Zero Milestone, the point from which all distances to and from DC were to be measured. This one never quite worked out that was either, but the monument is still there.

The Jefferson Pier

Washington is a town filled with monuments. They're everywhere. This small one is near the base of the Washington Monument, and is a spot most people miss. I would have missed it if I hadn't read about it and stumbled across it on my last day in DC. This is the Jefferson Pier, and marks the intersections of a line drawn due South from the White House and due West from the Capitol Building. I believe that Jefferson originally wanted this to be a sort of Prime Meridian for the US, but it never worked out that way. If you zoom in on the face of the Pier, there's some well-weather text, one line of which seems to have been chiseled off. I can't find any reference to what it used to say, unfortunately.

You can see the White House in the background of this shot looking North from the Pier. It's hard to get the Capitol Building in a similar shot looking East, due to the hill on which the Washington Monument sits. Due South of the Pier is the Jefferson Memorial, but you can't see that for all the trees.

I did find this shot, taken from the Zero Milestone, that shows the Jefferson Memorial, way on the other side of the Tidal Basin, and you can see the Jefferson Pier, nearly centered below the statue of Jefferson. I took this two days before the other shots above, so I didn't know the Jefferson Pier was there. If I'd known, I'd have stepped to the left a little and gotten the two monuments perfectly aligned.