DC Night Strolls – In Search Of Great Architecture

When DC graces us with clear, happy evenings, I am lured out of my apartment for a night stroll. I enjoy walking, and the city lights and fresh air give me a lift after a long day.

This particular evening, I take the metro and get off at McPherson Square. I have not yet explored this area, and tonight is a perfect evening to do so. I have started a new photography project and buildings will be front and center. I am hoping to get a good shot of two buildings during the sweet spot of twilight. My targets tonight are the White House and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Offices.

Tourists are thinning out after Christmas, so I might be able set up my tripod in front of the White House without too many people blocking it. Patience is the key word as I pick a spot and wait for the light to go down and the people to move out of my frame. I am able to get a few acceptable shots. The White House has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms on 6 levels. It has seen quite a lot of changes since George Washington chose the site in 1791, including being burnt down by the British in 1814.

The White House

The White House

I move on to the Eisenhower building. What a gorgeous and massive presence. It was built in the years 1871 to1888 and contains 566 rooms and approximately ten acres of floor space. When it was finished, it did not fall in to place with the other buildings at the time, and was scorned and ridiculed. Sadly, the architect, Alfred B. Mullett, shamed and humiliated, by the adult version of bullying, committed suicide. I hope he knows that his design is now highly prized. It’s hard to believe in 1957, the city considered tearing it down. Some wise people stopped the pending demolition and designated it a historic landmark. I wish I could see the interior. I hear it is as spectacular as the outside. Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Offices Building

Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Offices Building

My goal accomplished, I stroll 15th street to the Washington Monument. I enjoy hearing many different dialects as people pass by. Some are in awe of the buildings and expanse of the city. Others walk quickly to their destinations without looking at what is around them. I have a feeling these are the locals because we tend to take for granted the things we see every day. When I arrive at the monument, I notice that the night is not as perfect as it was last week when I got a nice shot, so I move on.

Washington

Washington Monument photographed the week prior to this night stroll

As I turn to leave, closing up my tripod and stashing my camera, I take note of the US Department of Commerce building across the street. With the head and tail lights of cars on the street in front of it, I believe it will make a nice photograph, so I set up again. I wait for the flow of traffic to enhance the overall scene and take the shots.

The US Department of Commerce building

The US Department of Commerce building

I decide to slowly head home for the night. I purposely walk down streets I have never been on in hopes of discovering something new. My wandering feet have led me to the Federal Triangle Metro station. I have used this station before, but only during the light of day. This evening, holiday lights are sparkling in the trees and I stop to admire them. Out comes my trusty tripod and camera. I know the lights will not stay up much longer so I have to capture the magic now.

Holiday lights sparkle in the trees at Federal Triangle

Holiday lights sparkle in the trees at Federal Triangle

The entrance to the station looks quite beautiful at night as well.

Entrance to the Federal Triangle Metro station

Entrance to the Federal Triangle Metro station

Lets move forward in time a couple of days. The last 24 hours have provided us all with a fresh start to a hopeful new year. Tonight, January 2, I hope to have a new perspective on Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Washington. I have visited these monuments several times, but am hoping for a slight twist to be able to do them justice with my camera. I hope I have succeeded.

The Lincoln Monument

The Lincoln Monument

The Washington Monument as viewed from the Lincoln Memorial Monument

The Washington Monument as viewed from the Lincoln Memorial Monument

Night strolls give me a whole new perspective on the city I see endlessly during daylight hours. So different, so majestic are these buildings and monuments when they rise out of blackness to proclaim their presence in the night.

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