I’m starting to see more signs of Spring’s arrival, and that makes me oh-so happy! In this photo, you can see daffodils trying to break free with a hint of hyacinth (see what I did there??) blurred out in the foreground.
I have lots of exciting news to report as Spring is off to what appears to be a great start! The weather has been warming after months of extreme, chilly cold and more-than-drafty winds, with the occasional snowstorm making an unwelcome appearance. Well, unwelcome, at least, to me. It is with this change to temps in the 60s and 70s that I am eager and hopeful for a season filled with healthy flowers to focus on and shoot, as well as a brighter scene to get out of the winter muck. Green is my favorite color (but, you know this), so it’s nice to see it come back.
Luckily (on the same subject as “green”!), I was due a tax refund this year, and – perhaps more luckily – it was better than I had originally expected! As such, I was able to purchase my Nikon D7100 just in time for my trip last weekend to Kearney, Nebraska, to meet my friend Laura to photograph the migration of Sandhill Cranes stopping by the area to feed and bulk up for their mating and breeding season. I took just over a thousand photos, but due to the incredibly frenetic weather and not having the proper equipment and know-how, many did not turn out. However, I think I have a few usable ones, but between hundreds of field and flight shots, I’m struggling to find the best few to share; when I do, I’ll post them here.
Another weight was lifted yesterday when I was able to make my final payment for my Europe trip this July a couple months ahead of time. Normally for these group tours, I would make a couple of large payments and call it good. This time around, however, I wanted to feel the pain of having monthly payments, as that’s kind of what life is – a series of payments, whether it is financially, emotionally or otherwise. And, because of this method of paying off my trip, I realized just how expensive it was and how much I need to be present on the trip so I can make it worth my time and money. With the company I’m expecting to have around, as well as the gorgeous scenery and historic sites in Athens, Rome, Barcelona and Morocco, I’m sure I will.
I wish you all a wonderful Spring season, as well as lots of wonderful things to observe, enjoy, write and photograph!
Let’s try for a shorter post, shall we? I’ll just post two of my more favorite pictures from my afternoon on the Mall/Capitol Hill and not bore you with all of my deep thoughts on life as I trudged through the puddles of a busy metropolitan city… Oh, wait, there I go!!
Without further ado…
After watching egregious amounts of back episodes of Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman, and spending a good half of my weekend cleaning my living space and watching The Wolf of Wall Street (OMG, the debauchery!!), I’m just now getting around to continuing my blog posts from my trip last month to Washington, D.C. I’m headed to Nebraska this weekend to meet my friend, Laura, for Sandhill Crane sightings, country road photography, and all-around fun. Her birthday is Thursday, and I found a birdy gift I think she’ll just love!
Formalities out of the way, let’s get back to the main point of this post: Mister “Macho Traveler” thinks he knows where he’s going, and ends up making an accidental trip into the wrong museum, but it ends up working out A-OK.
With rain pouring from the sky at a rather alarming rate after lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, I left my aunt back at The Library and took the short metro ride over to the Smithsonian/National Mall. By the time I got off the train, the rain had turned to a light mist (D.C. weather is about as weird as weather in Southwest Kansas, which is saying something). I photographed the Capitol and Washington Monument from afar with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone before making my way to the “National Gallery of Art.”
I say it this way because I honed in on a domed building on the Mall, walked up the stairs and – instead of seeing banners of renaissance art – saw pennants with butterflies and other natural creates. “WTF?!” I thought to myself. It turns out I’d arrived at the National Museum of Natural History, not the National Gallery of Art like I’d expected to spend a leisurely afternoon at. Apparently disoriented (I mean, seriously?!) and short on time, I decided to go for it and snap some pics (I remembered there was an elephant and a dinosaur or two from a childhood visit). Turns out this was a good move, as a major part of the museum is slated to close later next month for a $48 million, 5-year renovation. I guess I’m glad I got to see them while I was still somewhat young!!
After a brief jaunt through the museum, I headed outside, met by a rainless sky and a Stomp-like performer’s music. I decided to slowly make my way east on the Mall towards the Capitol building on the way to my aunt’s office and the end of my day in the city. In a way, I did get to visit the National Gallery of Art. It turns out the two are very close (let the rationalization begin…), and I made the time to walk through the Sculpture Garden, which I hadn’t done in the past. The sculptures were quite fascinating, and I took Hipsta shots of my favorites and have posted them below.
Stay tuned for the final posts (you didn’t think the time would come, did you?) from my trip to D.C.!
As promised, although delivered much later than I had wanted, here is a continuation from last week’s blog post about my short visit to Washington, D.C.:
After a morning of briefly exploring Georgetown, I texted my aunt (who works at the Library of Congress in the Geography & Maps Division) to see if we were still on for lunch (we were). We had emailed earlier in the week and wanted to give Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery, a burger and shakes place on Capitol Hill, another try. The last time I was at GSE had been to try their signature Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake during a December 2010 visit. Since it is only a block or two’s walk away from my aunt’s office, we set a time and I slowly made my way across town, with thoughts of greasy burgers and heaps of flavorful fries on my mind. Well, on my mind more than is usual, anyway. 😉
I decided to take P Street from Georgetown/Rose Park until I arrived at Dupont Circle, where I’d catch the Metro up to Capitol South and surprise my aunt at her office (I had gotten in too early the previous evening to see her). I saw lots of neat things (and, as you’ll see, people) along the way!
After making my way to Dupont Circle (and observing all of the interesting people along the way), I made a transfer at Metro Center and got off at Capitol South Metro and walked across the street to the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress. I took some photos of the exterior of my aunt’s building and met her at her office. After chatting for a bit, we made our way (by this point, it had started raining) to Good Stuff Eatery, met along the way by some very intense-looking USMC runners.
The burger and fries were greasy, of course, but oh. so. damn. delicious. I felt like my heart might stop at any minute, so I opted not to have a shake, remembering my experience a few years ago where I, Luke A. Bunker, could not even finish a milkshake from there because it was so sweet. Looking back, that was a good call.
In my next post, I’ll share some photos I took at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (there’s a somewhat funny story there), as well as the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court Buildings.
Reblogging this because it is true that people who love to travel almost always naturally connect – we’re a fun club to be a part of! Thanks, Travel Chick Diaries!
The beat of the city arrives…
Ambulance sirens race down the street.
The pitter-patter, clomp-clomp of busy and important steps hitting the pavement.
Street musicians showcase their talents, providing a harmony for the chaos.
-Luke A. Bunker
I was compelled to write the above poem after exiting the Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro Station, hyper-sensitive to the sights and sounds around me. There was a slight chill to the air, with sirens racing down the street and an older male musician pounding away at his keyboard as if it was his true calling in life. As I alluded to in a previous post, I hopped on the Metro last Friday morning with no set itinerary for the day (perhaps the aforementioned hypersensitivity was due to a mind not clogged by schedules and “things to do”?), save for lunch with my aunt on the Hill sometime in the afternoon. Aside from that, the day was mine, and I knew about halfway through my Metro ride where I would begin.
When I was last in D.C. in August 2013, my cousin and I spent a morning similar to how I spent it last Friday – exit GWU Metro and make the short walk to Baked & Wired in Georgetown while admiring the beautiful homes and architecture. Although the activities were similar, the journey was different. As I settled in with my ham & gruyere quiche and iced mocha, I reflected on the pages of my Moleskine of how taking a different path with a receptive mind left me further open to experiencing the truth of life in Washington, D.C.
For, you see, on this particular morning, I took a perhaps less glamorous journey to Georgetown. Instead of walking Pennsylvania, I took K and the Whitehurst Freeway. I say less glamorous because it was on this walk where it struck me that there is absolutely nothing romantic about homelessness. I don’t know if “romantic” is the right word, but when you can see (and, in reality, smell) the situation, you realize that it’s a real problem – not always a choice for those people – and one that we prefer to ignore than do anything about.
As I picked “pesky” down feathers from my $200 jacket while toting around $1000 in camera equipment and preparing to spend $10 on coffee and a small slice of quiche, having traveled via air to a city for the sole purpose of visiting a travel show, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel even just a twinge of guilt. But, at the same time as I saw the inequities of society (how had these people gotten to this place? what events had transpired in their lives where a shopping cart full of cans, no showers for days or weeks, and despair evident on their faces, was the life these people now led?), the presence of blessings in my own life became abundantly clear. Sometimes it takes seeing this aspect of humanity – one that is largely ignored and is surrounded by a gargantuan taboo – to realize gratitude for how well a person does, indeed, have it.
With this newfound perspective fresh in my mind, I posted my poem on the Baked Wall (a wall where patrons’ doodles, writings and thoughts are drawn onto napkins and taped) and set out on a photo journey with my Hipstamatic and architecture, along with capturing a not-often-seen Washington, in my sights.
Stay tuned for more from my recent trip to Washington, D.C., including more pictures from my first day of the Capitol and Supreme Court buildings, as well as my fun museum mix-up!