Sunday, January 31, 2021


At the suggestion of a friend, I joined the 52Frames weekly photography challenge. It’s been eleven straight weeks. I’m not really a photographer, but I enjoy taking photos. The iPhone is my camera of choice since I don’t own a “real” camera. And If I was to upgrade, it would be the latest iPhone. Right now I’m using an iPhone 8plus. So to find some “horizon” shots we drove down the GW Parkway to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove that is located near the Pentagon. There were boundary channel photos where we walked over the foot bridge to the grove. Then we walked along the foot path next to the GW Parkway and I tried to get a clear view of the Washington monument. It was difficult because of all the traffic. Then we walked towards the Marina. Across the way is the Pentagon, but before we got there we saw a bunch of geese near the outdoor closed restaurant/shack. I would have loved to run in to them, but they are mean and ornery. On the way back we stopped at the memorial grove. We had been there a couple of times before, but never in the winter. In the spring the place is filled with daffodils. On the way home we stopped off at two scenic overlooks, but I wasn’t impressed with the views or the photos. I ended up selecting the view of the Washington Monument from the GW Parkway because it actually captured six to seven “horizons” with some greenery to frame the image. The quality of the photos isn’t the best, but I gave it a try and did my best. My husband is a great photo assistant. His opinions and suggestions are extremely helpful. It’s a way to spend some time every week doing a bit of creative activity - something we can all use about now. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Editing Photo Images

I have never taken a photography class, but I like taking photos. I remember my dad’s complicated manual 35mm camera. He took a lot of slides and we watched them projected on the wall. I was the first to get a swinger instant camera, and after that I always had some sort of camera - including the first digital camera that used discs and the latest was a Sony. But when the iPhone came along I now only use it for everything, including the weekly 52Frames photo challenge. Most photos require some sort of editing and I usually go with the “auto” option. But sometimes it’s worth making finer adjustments depending on the final look one might be after. Last week I practiced manually changing two images that were recently taken - one from Great Falls and the other was a “horizon” image. I wanted to make the River more obvious and bring out the green color; the other I wanted to make the sky more brilliant so the Washington memorial stood out more. There are several options - from exposure, to tint, to shadows, to vibrance, etc. Right now I’m just adjusting at whim. One of these days I need to study the names and definitions to see what the impact is supposed to be rather than rely on the here and there approach. It really does make a difference to the final outcome. So I put that photo activity on my list of things to do. There is always something to learn. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Lion VII Belt

The old belt was really worn down, but the buckle was still good. So I ordered a Lion VII nylon casual belt from Amazon for my husband to wear around the house. It arrived yesterday. He wanted to use the old buckle with the new belt - but one clasp is made from metal and the other from plastic. The metal works with leather and the plastic works with nylon. This belt is made to be “cut to size” and doesn’t have holes; rather, you just slide it through the clasp and close it shut. I can’t imagine wearing a belt at home or anywhere else right now. Elastic waist casual clothes work the best. But as long as my husband wears pants with belt loops at home, he needs something to keep his pants up. In the old days he used to have the belt loops removed from his work slacks and suits. I’m told his colleagues were jealous about it! All these years later things change. Now we are both in to comfort and not necessarily style! And these days in particular, the only people who notice what we are wearing is us. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Taking Photos Lying Down

Sometimes you just need to get on the ground to get the right angle for a photo. I must admit I never did it before, but since I joined the 52Frames weekly photo challenge I need to look at things a little bit differently. So when the “get low” challenge came along, we drove over to the Tidal Basin because I wanted to get a photo of Fala at the FDR memorial. Luckily, there was no one else in sight so it made things much easier - for me. While I was there, my husband took pictures of me taking pictures of them. Not only was Fala a subject, but the bread line and Eleanor were too. Since my only camera is an iPhone, I can’t get the exact shots I would hope for. I primarily take photos for this blog, and 52Frames is an excuse to stay occupied for a while every week. After we left the FDR Memorial we walked along the Tidal Basin over to the MLK Memorial. Usually these places are packed with visitors, but being winter, and with all the extra security measures in town, we were about the only ones there. So I tried the same technique with MLK. All in all it was a very pleasant morning after we walked over to the Korean, Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. Everything is pretty close together. Since we moved to northern Virginia from our Capitol Hill neighborhood we try to drive in at least once a week. This is a good excuse. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove

After the icy, snowy and wet weather yesterday, we thought today would be the best day to take a ride in to town. Every week I need to find an image that meets the 52Frames photo challenge. This week is “horizon” so that made me think of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove. From that vantage point I could try to get a photo of the Washington Monument, or may be the Pentagon. But as is always the case, something else usually ends up being the final selection. I’m not really a photographer, but rather someone who likes to take photos. The memorial grove is located off the GW Parkway and we got there by driving by the pentagon parking lot. It was a nice change of scenery since we hadn’t been there for quite a while. First, you cross over a foot bridge, and then you can stroll along the trail that eventually leads you to a marina. Along the way there were geese and views of the monuments, as well as the actual stone monument dedicated to Johnson. On the way home we stopped at the two scenic overlooks hoping there might be other interesting options. An iPhone camera can only do so much, but it’s the best I can do. The idea is to keep up with the challenge every week even if the image isn’t always very remarkable. It was a nice ride, walk, and time to spend the morning away from home. It’s just what we need right now. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

52Frames Water Challenge

I’ve been participating in the 52Frames weekly photo challenge for 10 weeks. I don’t consider myself a photographer; rather, I love taking photos. I used to have a Sony camera before the iPhone came around. Since then, the iPhone is all I use - primarily for this photo blog, and now for the weekly photo challenges. Last week was “water” so we decided to drive out to Great Falls in Virginia to see if anything would work. In the meantime I tried to get creative using a water bottle and sunlight; looking in to the water of the wall vase, and the usual park streams and leaves. I really wanted to get a photo at the Capitol reflecting pool but the city was choked off from any traffic due to the inauguration. I ended up selecting one of the four Great Falls options because I loved the color of the water and the frothy waves that looked like tire treads. This week is “horizon.” Because it’s icy and snowy today we will need to wait until tomorrow to search for something that’s interesting. Once the photos are posted to the website people can comment on them. It’s another way to pass the time as we remain cooped up in the house. It’s a great excuse for a ride in to DC, or anywhere else. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Korean War Memorial

It’s been a while since we actually walked around or near the Tidal Basin. We have driven past it millions of times. Two weeks ago, before everything closed down - including the bridges, we took another ride over. I wanted to take photos of Fala at the FDR Memorial for the 52Frames photography challenge. After that, we walked over to the MLK Memorial, and then crossed over Independence Avenue to the other side. Before we reached the Lincoln Memorial, reflecting pool, and the Vietnam Memorial, we stopped in to see the Korea Memorial. There sure are a lot of memorials in this section of the city. When we lived on Capitol Hill for thirteen years, the Capitol building was our main view, along with house and senate office buildings and the Library of Congress where I worked for ten years. In between the Capitol and the Lincoln Memorial is the National Mall with all the Smithsonian delights, Washington Monument, and WWII Memorial. My Dad was in WWII and Korean Wars, so walking through it reminded me of him. Obviously there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic due to the season and inaugural safety issues, but the groundskeepers were hard at work keeping things beautiful. When we decided to move to northern Virginia, we knew we would want to visit the city every once in a while. The pandemic doesn’t allow us to attend programs and events any more, but at least we can still drive in and see the sights.