Like many scores of other people during the early spring – when the DC cherry blossoms have burst into spectacular bloom – this couple had scheduled a series of early morning wedding portraits with their photographer. And – you guessed it – on this particularly chilly April morning, there were hundreds of other couples and families getting similar portraits taken for their upcoming weddings, engagement announcements, annual Easter festivities, family reunions, multi-generation gatherings, etc. Counting all of the involved parties, their support groups, and the pro photographers they hired – plus all of the non-involved individuals (like myself) that were just there to enjoy the spectacle – there were literally thousands of people tightly milling about in all of the prime photo locations.
I don’t think that the bride-and-groom-to-be had any idea that it would be such a zoo, and they tried to make the best of it since they were already committed to the event. I took photos of them because I was already standing there when they showed up and just thrust themselves into my framing, without so much as an apology.
Photo info: Wedding subjects prepping for their portrait The Tidal Basin on the National Mall Washington, DC April 2015 Kodak Portra 400 Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens Leica M3 35mm film camera
People like to trash federal government workers all the time as being underworked and overpaid, undeserving of even the smallest things… like basic office supplies, clean and healthy working conditions, safe drinking water, a living wage, and many other aspects that we all take for granted in an office-based work environment. But they have no idea just how difficult some of those federal government agencies are to work in, like my former employer.
This is the basement hallway in the 60-year old building where my cubicle was located for the last six years of my career before I retired. If the image looks dark, that’s because it was; budget cuts at the time were so extreme that only two lights illuminated the entire length, from one end of the long building to the other. Many of the offices on this hallway – most of which were crammed to four times (or more) of their designed capacity with cubicles – had similar levels of illumination in them; i.e., almost nothing. Of course there were no windows.
Sound levels were so loud that they were just below the OSHA levels for required ear protection. The plumbing broke at least once or twice per year, flooding most of the hallway and offices with raw sewage, which required the replacement of everything that it touched. The drinking fountains were unusable for months at a time; sometimes because high levels of lead were discovered in them, sometimes because they were saturated with other contaminants.
We didn’t have a break room, and had no place where we could wash dishes or utensils if we brought our own lunch. Trash – even food waste – was only collected twice per week, which got rank and attracted vermin. The janitorial service was laughable.
I could go on and on. I only continued working in such bad conditions because I was so close to retirement.
Photo info: Basement hallway where I worked Gaithersburg, Maryland April 2013 Apple iPhone 4S
I know they aren’t visible to the naked eye, but there really are berserker dogs in this image. They are in the parked vehicle in the left hand section of the frame. My family and I had arrived in Crescent City earlier in the afternoon, eaten an early dinner, and were taking a chilly November stroll on the dock before heading off to bed – all the while enjoying the evening lights and the neat atmospheric conditions. As we slowly wandered and sauntered around pier, dithering this way and that, we passed next to the parked vehicle…
And that’s when all hell broke loose.
Unknown to us at the time, there were two large guard dogs lurking in the car – contained only by the closed doors and windows – and when we got too close, they went absolutely apeshit and proceeded to completely rip the interior of the car to pieces in their anger at not being able to do the same to us. The dogs – backlit and in silhouette – were raging, the car was violently rocking, and we could see large chunks of upholstery being tossed around in the interior like an F2 tornado was loose in it.
Once we got over our initial shock, we found the slapstick scene to be hilarious and guffawed to the point where we could hardly walk, with the dogs continuing to go berserk at the sight of us. We ended up beating a hasty retreat, though we continued to belly laugh all the way to our hotel rooms some distance away. We never saw anyone come out and check on the dogs, and wondered what they would think of the destruction when they finally did.
Photo info: November night on the dock Harbor District Crescent City, California November 2012 Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens Sony NEX-5N digital camera