Every year after the 4th of July celebrations in Washington, DC, a sort of lethargy descends on the locals. Not that this is a character trait, mind you, but rather that after all the fireworks and concerts (not to mention the terrorist threats) people are kind of spent. This year, not even the weather was adding any cheers to the weekend, as storms forced the evacuation of the National Mall hours before the concert and fireworks were about to start. Talk about damper.
But if there’s something you can always count on during summer weekends, it is the myriad of seasonal farmer markets that come-hell-or-high-water, will be there to sell their products. The region is blessed when it comes to farmers and produce. Vendors from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia descend on DC every weekend bringing such variety of products that they often leave these city slickers dumfounded. And then there’s the Chesapeake Bay, with a seafood bounty that could even impress the folks from the Deadliest Catch in Alaska.
But when it comes to rarity, there’s one product that always challenges the best of them: artisanal bread. Who would’ve known that we have so many great artisanal bakeries (and even patisseries) in the tristate region. When I lived in the suburbs I could’ve sworn they had been rendered illegal. Bread came from the supermarket, mass produced and with enough preservatives to guarantee that future archeologists could still eat it 1,000 years from now. Luckily, there’s still hope, an local farmer markets are giving these emerging bakeries some well-deserved exposure. My waistline awaits their renaissance.
Much is written about eclectic neighborhoods around the world, but after so many years of traveling, I have to say that the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC will give any one of them a run for their money. No two days are alike around the Circle, and if eclectic lifestyles are what you aim to discover, the Circle has those in abundance. Passionate environmentalists, one of the largest gay community in America, staunch advocates of Julian Assange, artists, performers, retirees, incredible restaurants, trendy bars, and nationally-ranked chess players, to name a few. This all adds to a treasure trove of the human condition for a photographer. No other neighborhood in DC has this vive, and no matter how many times I visit the place with my camera, I find it impossible to get tired of it. In fact, the place is like a never-ending play, with new scenes constantly taking their place on stage in order to keep your interest and your attention. And you know what? It works just right for me.
Think of last month for a second. How often did you share anything you’ve learned or own with anyone? I have no doubt that answers to this question will run the gamut, as we all engage in some form of sharing at one time or another, even without realizing that sharing is what we’re doing. Not that I’m advocating for anyone to give away the fruit of their labor, as this is surely the best way of guaranteeing that you’ll be out of business in a hurry. This is specially the case in photography, where most folks continue to bear incredible pressure to just give away what they have worked so diligently to create (not to mention the expense they incur to create those photos). However, in every trade there are many things that can be shared without having to worry about lost revenue or market infringement. In fact, some goodwill could go a long way in putting money in your pocket down the road. Don’t believe me? Then check out people like Scott Kelby, Vincent Laforet, Chase Jarvis, and Steve Huff, to name a few. All extremely generous professionals who like to share their knowledge and are rewarded by a loyal group of followers.