We’d been visiting downtown DC and the Mall all week. Each day our museum load was less and less ambitious, leaving the Holocaust Memorial Museum as one of the final places to check out on Wednesday. Because it was our one and only destination of the day, we got off to a later-than-normal start. Taking an extra nap and bigger breakfast, we headed to our nearby metro station a little after noon.
Rising from the metro commute and walking through the Dept of Agriculture complex, only a short distance remained in our trek when a police car appeared at the ahead intersection. Continuing to walk and talk with no alarm, we were interrupted and suddenly directed in the other direction. Simple and with no explanation, “Go the other way,” was all we heard and promptly obeyed. At the moment it was only one officer and one car with it’s bar lights flashing and I speculated along with the tragic possibilities that it could be a normal security procedure and crowd detail for an arriving VIP or Obama, although it was hard to think of such a person making a showing at the Dept of Ag.
As we back-tracked between the building corridor, still trying to get to our day’s memorial-museum destination, it because more and more apparent that something unexpected had occurred. Our eyes widened with the implications of what could be happening. At one point I tried to find humor and optimism in the face of our inclination to assume the worst as were only hearing honest and small word fragments from strangers conversations such as “shoot.” It could have been from any context — “oh shoot, I forgot my keys at the hotel” and so on.
Now out of the Ag corridor, we again approached the Holocaust Memorial-Museum, this time from the Mall, to find a larger perimeter established. Yellow police tape, circling helicopter surveillance, and police were all materializing rapidly. News trucks with satellite dishes rolled in as reporters crossed the tape line in a fury. There seemed to be no shortage of incoming media personnel for we tried to eavesdrop on them for a while and then decided to escape the commotion and get the full scoop later.
Indeed, friends and family called in later as we walked on Pennsylvania Ave to see the White House and later sat in a downtown cafe. Unsure what to think of it then, [and now] we learned that we had been only 2-minutes and/or 500-feet away in our day’s course from the tragic shooting.
I’ve been saturated with museums and art exhibits over the past few days here in DC, highlighted by the Dutch Impressionists, Scurlock Studio and photos, Apollo 11 command module, Wright Bro’s flight experiments, Japanese ceramics, etc. The list and goes on in almost random fashion just as the amount of school field trips and weary chaperons in color coded t-shirts.
One of my favorites was this kanga on display near the entrance of the Museum of African Art. It was made in Kenya for Obama’s visit in 2008 and a nice touch to an exhibit of both modern and ancient works.
The museum also won for having the friendliest security guard who offered to show us the pieces that most impressed him, along with offering stories from other passersby — adding candid warmth to a day of shuffling our steps from room to room.
“Hey, do you want to go sailing with us tomorrow?”
I live for spontaneity like this [plus driving through Maryland with all of the windows down].
A hazy-rain of an evening greeted my first time in Philadelphia. Crashing at Conrad’s, I was soon going along as an assistant on shooting recently installed lamp-posts in the university-city district. When not holding lenses or the base of a 15′ aluminum step ladder, I took a few pictures of the quaint intersection and trolly line myself.
Most passersby were friendly and willing to retrace their steps down the street for Conrad’s photos. Some were curious with questions as to who the photos were for and where they’d be published. Still, some asked questions more interested in making a statement of their own. “What are you taking pictures of?” “The UCD organization who recently installed the old-time streetlamps…” “ugh, the lamps are so obnoxiously bright and annoying.” Yep, a safer and aesthetically lit city street can certainly be obnoxious.
After the shoot we went to see the White Rabbits at a vintage downtown revival venue. The group definitely has a niche for live performances with their dual drummers and members covering a variety of instruments during and between songs — plus their sound was consistently tight, no small feat for a percussion-based indie rock group of six members. Loud? definitely, but well worth it and cleansing in a way of its own.