A Walk Along A River Bank

View of Northern Virginia from across the Potomac River near Ohio Dr. NW.
View of Northern Virginia from across the Potomac River near Ohio Dr. NW.
Thousands of geese make their home along the shores of the Potomac River during the winter months.
Thousands of geese make their home along the shores of the Potomac River during the winter months.
It is a little known fact that the shores of the Potomac River are the perfect place to experience great sunsets.
It is a little known fact that the shores of the Potomac River are the perfect place to experience great sunsets on a regular basis.
The quiet river shores at the end of the day will make anyone forget the hectic world that exists about a mile away in the District.
The quiet river shores at the end of the day will make anyone forget the hectic world that exists about a mile away in the District.
Leafless trees in winter make it a lot easier to experience the majestic buildings at the National Mall.
Leafless trees in winter make it a lot easier to experience the majestic buildings at the National Mall.

Anyone suffering from the winter blues? No doubt by now the cold, rain, ice, and snow are wearing out most mortals out there, to include your’s truly. Not that my camera has been sitting idle since the holidays, but rather that frankly, I’m having a bit of a challenge in finding those unique city scenes that make those long hours worth every shivering, tedious moment out there. During these cold January days locals appear to be perfecting the practice of hybernation. Tens of thousands of people are out-and-about in cities like San Francisco, Barcelona, and New York, but in the commuter heaven that is Washington, DC it is empty sidewalks and parks that rule the days.

Hoping to capture a little of that wintry solitude, I decided to take a walk by the shores of the Potomac River with my camera. As expected, the wind-swept shores were devoid of people, and with the exception of your occasional jogger vent on getting rid of some winter spread, I mostly enjoyed the company of geese, lots of geese. This panoramic section of the Potomac by Ohio Dr. SW sits relatively close to the famous Tidal Basin area, but somehow gets very little attention from visitors to DC. This may have to do with the fact that there are no monuments in the area, or many benches to sit at. But what this section of the National Mall lacks in amenities, it more than makes up with the beauty of the lanscape, specially during the winter season. Both Memorial Bridge and Arlington Cemetery are clearly visible from the river shores. Small boats and rowing teams from local universities slowly fight their way upstream on their way to Georgetown, while departing flights from National Airport with smoky, white trails splashed against the dark, blue skies of a winter day. It is all quite impressive, even if in a quiet, unasumming way. And for a city that prides itself on how fast it moves, it is quite refreshing that there are still areas that reward those who slow down to enjoy the sound of waves crashing on a river shore.

 

In Search Of Simplicity

A lonely tree along a country road reminds us that sometimes, less is indeed more.
A lonely tree along a country road reminds us that sometimes, less is indeed more.
Showing the ravages of time and neglect, an old barn sits abandoned along a Virginia dirt road.
Showing the ravages of time and neglect, an old barn sits abandoned along a Virginia dirt road.

I am convinced that driving along country backroads is a sure way of discovering all sorts of photographic wonders.  Not that this sort of observation will lead to a Nobel Prize any time soon, but rather that in today’s busy world, driving for pleasure has become a rarity for too many people.  If you are old enough to remember the family Sunday ride, you’ll know what I mean.  It was all about the ride, and about looking around.  A visual journey where time and speed were always subordinated to the thrill of discovering something new (or different) along the way.  The rides were fun, unstructured, and rewarding.  Sort of like sitting behind a glass window in a coffee shop watching the world go by, but with wheels.  These photos were the product of one such ride along the Virginia countryside.  Amazing what you find when your eyes insist on seeing.

Colors

Sometimes we take nature for granted, but in the fall we are always reminded of both its power and its beauty.  Nikon D800, AF-NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G.

Have you taken the time to enjoy the colors of the season?  I hope you have, as nature provides us with a spectacle that is easy to take for granted when you have lived in the northern hemisphere for far too long.  Having grown up in the tropics, I remember that as a child I constantly gazed at magazines full of photographs of colored trees and of leaves that formed golden carpets over the remaining green grass of the fall season.  As a young man thousands of miles from this incredible color spectacle, I couldn’t help but daydream about what it would be like to live in a house with one of those big, orange or red trees adorning our front yard.  It was a vision and a dream that lasted for several decades until I could feel, and for the first time, the cool breezes of an approaching winter under one of those magnificent trees.  Every fall season I can’t help but remember those childhood dreams and that first time I stood face-to-face in front of one of those colored trees.  It was magic.  And it still is.