Tag Archives: Washington DC

WW II Memorial

130611_WW2 Memorial by Karl G. Graf.

This World War II Memorial image is taken from the Memorial steps looking down the Capitol Mall at the Lincoln Memorial.  The Pacific and Atlantic arches are outside the view on the left and right.  We only had 15 minutes to spend, not enough time for a panorama.  Below is the Pacific arch.

130611_WW2 Memorial_Pacific by Karl G. Graf.

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An Exercise in Balance

130610_Capitol dome_inside by Karl G. Graf.

This image was taken looking straight up inside the Capitol Dome.  It was a exercise in balance from two perspectives.  First, I worked hard to balance the image from side to side and top to bottom.  The image is not cropped.  The second perspective was to keep my physical balance as I stood looking straight up with my camera. To compensate for my dizziness I had to shoot at 1/250 second at ISO 3200.  The second perspective of balance was much harder for me.

I have been inside the Capitol several times over the past years.  Access inside the building has changed over time.  When we lived in the DC area in the mid-80’s, one could enter the building and explore without being on a scheduled tour.  I recall times when I could just walk into the Senate and House galleries and observe sessions in progress.  Not so any more, times change … many times not for the best.

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The Capitol in the Golden Hour

130609_Capitol by Karl G. Graf.

We first stopped by the Capitol at mid-day.  It radiated its brilliant white marble color.  We came back later in the early evening at about 8:00 pm as the setting sun was casting its brilliant golden sheen on the dome.  This image was taken as we were walking back to the tour bus.  I turned around for one last look and saw the dome nicely framed by trees along the sidewalk.  I have learned over time to continuously look up, down, back, and all around as I stroll along.  I can never tell where the next image is waiting to be captured.

For reference, below is a mid-day shot of the Capitol.

130609_Capitol_mid-day by Karl G. Graf.

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Iwo Jima Memorial

130607_IwoJima_Hands by Karl G. Graf.

From the Air Force Memorial we shot down to the Marines Memorial.  While I took several images of the overall sculpture, I felt like these two detail photos captured the feeling best for me.  The above image reflects the consolidated effort required to win the battle.  The expressions on the two soldiers faces shown below seem to project focus and determination.

130607_IwoJima_Heads by Karl G. Graf. Shadows from the high noon sun hid the details on the soldiers faces.  I used NIK Viveza and Color Efex Pro to brighten their faces while still maintaining the shadows and not blowing out the highlights in the rest of the image.  To accentuate the structure details, darken the blue sky, and keep the patina from the bronze, I first converted to black and white using NIK Silver Efex Pro.  To finish the photo, I blended the B&W version back into the color image.

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Integrity, Service, and Excellence

130606_Missing Man Formation by Karl G. Graf. It was high noon on a cloudless day when we visited the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, VA.  The Memorial is 270 feet high and appears to be soaring. Its array of arcs against the sky evokes a modern image of flight by jet and space vehicles. At the same time, it enshrines the past in permanent remembrance of the pioneers of flight who came before, and pays homage to those of the future.

The number three in the vertical design of the spires signifies several elements.  “Three” is resonant with significant associations for the Air Force, including the three core values of today: Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do. It is also the smallest number of elements needed to define and enclose a space. The spires also reflect an exploding bomb burst as well as the “Missing Man” maneuvers. The spires are asymmetrical and dynamic. Each is a different height, causing the view of the Memorial to be different at every angle.

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Lincoln

130603_Lincoln_B&W2 by Karl G. Graf.

Last weekend Karen and I had the wonderful experience to spend time with my cousins and aunt in Washington, DC.  It was their first experience to really see the Capitol.  Being a teacher for her full career, my aunt continued to repeat that every American should have the experience to visit in person.  It really does provide a perspective of our history as well as the current affairs.  I will focus on this trip for my next several posts.

Since the first time I visited Washington almost 50 years ago, the statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial has sent chills of pride through my body.  It still does as I write this post.  The firmness of his beliefs and sternness of his resolution as well as his heavy sorrow show in his face and eyes.

I converted this image to black and white to focus on Lincoln’s face.  I applied several masks to darken the background, brighten his face, and highlight his eyes and expressions.  This is the way I perceive his statue.  Below is the image straight out of the camera for a comparison.

130603_Lincoln by Karl G. Graf.

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