Tag Archives: camera

Smithsonian Gardens

The Smithsonian Institution maintains some lovely gardens and grounds around their museums.  Yesterday, Bob and I visited two of them; the Ripley Garden- a narrow garden with a pathway that winds between the Arts and Industry Building and the Hirschhorn Museum and the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Castle Building.   Walkers can easily cut through to the mall from Independence Avenue by walking along the pathway of the Ripley Garden.  It is narrow but filled with mostly small scaled plants, many of which were in bloom after a very cool March.  It also has benches so you can sit and rest those tired sightseer feet.

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The Haupt Garden is on the Independence Avenue side of the Smithsonian Castle building.  Even though it is on ground level it is really a rooftop garden since several different museum buildings are under the garden and have entrances among the plantings.  The Saucer Magnolias were in bloom along with one weeping cherry (I think).  The surrounding buildings and the underground warmth of this rooftop garden make this ecosystem different from the general area around DC.  This makes it possible to plant varieties that otherwise might find it too cold.

Haupt garden Smithsonian castle2 Smithsonian castle saucermagnolia5 Hauptfloweringfruit2 Hauptfloweringfruit Haupt garden2


The Baltimore Herb Fest

Today I went to Baltimore to Leakin Park for the annual Herb Festival.  While there I saw an amazing Barred Owl and a Turkey Vulture with a huge wing span.  Of course, there were lots of herbs and herb related products too.

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One of the best parts of the herb festival is the small steam trains that take visitors for a ride.  Here is a website to learn more about them.  http://calslivesteam.org/

The Space Shuttle Discovery

The Space Shuttle Discovery Arrives at the Air and Space Museum, Udvar Hazy seen in the background

On Tuesday April 17 the day dawned a beautiful warm and sunny day. By 9:30 word was out that the Space Shuttle Discovery would be a little early flying by on its way to be a permanent exhibit at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. I had hauled all of the equipment we bought to go to Africa over to school hoping to set it up in the parking lot and get a good shot.

The principal said we could go on the roof of the building. So I managed to climb up; first a two story ladder (stright up, hand over hand!) Thank goodness the building manager was there to give me a hand when I got to the top. Then another one story ladder. I think excitement and adreneline got me up and back down the ladders because for the rest of the day my legs felt like they were made of Jello!

I started to set up the tripod when someone said “there it is”! and sure enough just above the treeline beyond the church across the road you could see Discovery piggybacked on the back of the 747 moving slowly right above the trees. We watched it fly towards the Potomac River and then off toward Washington DC. I didn’t get a good picture because I was not set up. Now I know why photographers go hours ahead to get their equipment all ready! Lesson learned!

An Assistant Principal at nearby Rachel Carson Middle School took this awesome photograph as the shuttle flew into nearby Dulles Airport.

Unfortunately, the kids were all looking toward the school and the closest and best view was when you looked between the brances of the trees behind the church across the street. We did get to see it again, but much further away after it had been to tour the National mall in DC and was returning back to Dulles again. However, at Rachel Carson Middle School they held their monthly fire drill and got to see this view (above) since they are located much closer to the airport.

Here are some pictures from our school. Plus the two above, I couldn’t figure out how to remove them!

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Hogwart’s letter in the mail?

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Yesterday Bob and I went to Cub Run Recreation Center in Centreville VA because I had heard that a mother Great Horned Owl had two owlets in a nest there.  I expected that we may have a chance to see them but had no idea how easy that would be.

They are clearly visible from the path right next to the Rec. Center looking over the Westfield High School football field with the noise of the airplanes taking off from Dulles overhead.  I was amazed that such a majestic animal would be in what I considered so open a space.  The mother is no longer in the nest with them but I suspect she wasn’t too far away even though I never saw her.  They were beginning to flap their wings some but not to really fledge yet.

I am thrilled that these types of animals make Fairfax County home.

Here are a few pictures we took with the lens we bought to take with us to Africa.

Final Exam

Well, not really a final exam but in photography class we were assigned to bring 5 photographs we took either in class or as homework for a group evaluation.  They needed to be along the lines of a theme.  Some choices were color, macro, lines, rule of thirds, framing, a certain type of lighting, etc.; really anything you could tie together in a theme would work.  It was an interesting excercise as we examined a wide variety of photos and commented and complimented on each other’s work and received feedback from the teacher.  It is good to sit in the seat as a student now and then.  Here are my five photos in the theme “macro’. 

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Does using this app mean I may be hip?

So, if an iPhone app says “hip” in the title does that make the user of the app “hip” in the cool sense of the word?  Regardless, I do enjoy using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone.  It gives me a lot of pleasure for the 99 cents it cost me.  Here are some photos I took at the orchid exhibit at the US Botanical Garden using this app.

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Homework gone awry

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I am taking a photography class on Composition and Creativity in the hopes of getting some better pictures and to learn how to use my camera more effectively.  In class last week we covered some simple design concepts like framing a photo, positioning the subject, the rule of thirds, and taking photos from different perspectives.

Since Saturday was a lovely weather day with highs in the mid-50s, Bob and I decided to drive down to The National Mall to take in the orchid exhibit which opened Friday at the US Botanical Garden. One of the perks he gets for being a volunteer at the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum in Chantilly is free parking on weekends under the Air and Space Museum downtown.

With my SLR camera and my point and shoot in-hand along with an extra battery I was confident I could get some good pictures at the Air and Space, walking past the American Indian Museum and the Capitol Building on the walk to the Botanical Garden.  Little did I know that all three batteries I had with me had little charge and I would be able to eek out only a few photos!  ugh!  That left me resorting to using my iPhone.