Appalachian Vacation - National Mall (Washington, DC)

November 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

One of the highlights of our day in DC was a visit to the National Mall. For those of you who haven't been to DC, the National Mall runs along Constitution Avenue from the U.S. Capital Building on the East to the Lincoln Memorial and the Potomac River on the West, with the Washington Monument more or less in the center. Nearly all the iconic buildings of our nation's capital are somewhere along the National Mall.

The White House sits just north of the Washington Monument. It was hot the day we were there, and the Secret Service had the area cordoned off for some reason they didn't feel compelled to share with us. ;-) So as we approached the one little spot along East Street where you can see the White House (in spite of the way it appears on TV, you can't see the White House from just anywhere), we were told if we wanted to see the White House, we'd have to go back and around nearly to the south end of the Elipse. So we turned around and dutifully trudged all the way back down from whence we had just come. As soon as we arrived at the point where we could see the White House in the distance, the Secret Service removed the barrier and we were allowed to trudge back up to where we'd just been. Why they couldn't have told us to just wait in the shade a few minutes and they'd move the barriers, I'll never know. But of course, this is the government we're talking about . . . .

Anyway, we marched back up to East Street and got there just in time to see a caravan of black SUVs speed up to the front steps. Clearly someone important was arriving, although we never saw who it was. I put the D7100 in DX Crop mode and zoomed my 300mm lens all the way out to try and get a look at the snipers on the roof, but I think most of them were on break. ;-) So I made a few images of the White House and we moved on.

Just before going to the White House, we'd visited the National Archives, the official home of such important documents as the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. It was a really cool place, but it was the one place we visited in which no photography was allowed. I was allowed to bring my camera in, but could not take any pictures. :-(

So I made a few from the outside. The image above and the two below are all from the National Archives.

The building below is the majestic Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, which is the centerpiece of three buildings in the Federal Triangle designed by San Francisco architect Arthur Brown, Jr., the others being the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Built between 1932-1934, the Mellon Auditorium is seven stories of Indiana limestone with red terra-cotta tiles on the roof. In total, these three buildings encompass almost six acres and extend about 1,000 feet along Constitution Avenue.

The next image is a panorama of the Mellon Auditorium, stitched together to try and give a sense of the building's scale, which is massive.

The next image is a classic portrait of Abraham Lincoln on his seat in the the Lincoln Memorial, another humbling building to visit.

The Washington Monument, shown below from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, is a stunningly large building. Everyone recognizes it, but until you've seen it up-close,  you can hardly appreciate how truly massive it is. I really liked this perspective, with the Capital Building in the back and the World War II Memorial in the front.

Walking back from the Lincoln Memorial, we passed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I didn't take a lot of images at the Memorial; honestly, it seemed just a bit irreverent, given the somber atmosphere it still holds. But I did make this image of The Three Soldiers at the head of the walkway toward the Memorial wall.

Then, back to the Washington Monument. I'll close this post with these two images. Built to commemorate George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the early Continental Army, and our first American president. The monument is made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, and is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet, 5 1/8 inches tall.

and

More to come . . . .


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