From one of my many pilgrimages to see the spring cherry blossoms in Washington, DC. Note the lack of soul crushing crowds in this image. This photograph was taken back in the days before the social media hordes, when one could actually go down there and enjoy the experience – unlike the circus spectacle it has become in recent years.
Photo info: Washington Monument Tidal Basin Washington, DC April 2005 Canon 16-35/4.0 ASPH lens Canon EOS 20D digital camera
I don’t know how long sunflowers have been planted each spring for mourning doves at the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area, but I’ve been taking photos of them for at least 20-years now. The specific fields that are planted with sunflowers change from year to year, but there are at least two fields and as many as four. This year there are four fields and the best of them is quite a hike compared to prior years. Last year – during the pandemic lockdown – the sunflower fields were an absolute zoo during the blooming period, with literally many hundreds or even thousands of daily visitors more than normal.
Photo info: Sunflower blooms McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area Poolesville, Maryland July 2021 Voigtländer 65/2.0 APO Macro lens Sony a7 III digital camera
Blooms, blooms, and more blooms. When you visit anyplace that figures “gardens” prominently in their title, it’s a good bet that there will be lots and lots of blooms to view and appreciate – such is the case with Brookside Gardens. The last time I was here was nearly two decades ago and it’s had major improvements during my absence – elevated boardwalks, a new visitors center, many plantings that I don’t recall – the list goes on.
It’s funny… I absolutely hated visiting places like this when I was a kid. My mom was big into flowers and gardening, and would drag me practically kicking and screaming to various professional gardens whenever we moved to a new state. And now? Now I love them and seek them out.
The change for me was my last photography job, where I worked in an audiovisual 24/7 sweatshop down on K Street NW in Washington, DC. I was hired there in the spring of 1988 initially as the sole optical photographer (everyone else was a Genigraphics computer artist), and I worked excessively long hours shooting all of the optical images that we produced – many hundreds of thousands of images by the time I left there some four years later. Product shots, studio shots, composite insertion shots, black and white Kodalith slides, E-6 color duplication slides, Ektachrome slide composites – you name it, I shot it.
All of this photography work was done in a dark room. Scratch that… all of this was done in a completely BLACK room, including the ceiling and floors. Due to cross contamination issues from any other color source, every square inch of that room was painted flat matte pitch black, and every crack that emitted light was sealed tightly shut. When the lights went out – which was 90% of my hours each work day – that room was the complete absence of all light. It was black-hole-level-of-darkness personified. And believe me, that wasn’t a job for anyone with nyctophobia or vertigo.
By the time I was six months into that job, I began seeking out anything that wasn’t black. By the time I left it, I was addicted to pure color. Bright color. Saturated color. Jackhammer-to-the-eyes color. And I discovered that one of the very best places to find pure unadulterated colors were the professional gardens, which I have loved and enjoyed visiting ever since.
Photo info: Flower blooms Brookside Gardens Wheaton, Maryland July 2021 Voigtländer 65/2.0 APO Macro lens Sony a7 III digital camera