Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just Color and Shadows

 Georgetown 70, 2011

This past Monday found me staying just a mile or so across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., so I took my morning walk in Georgetown.
It was a beautiful morning. I cheerfully walked over the hill at Rosslyn while leagues of workers headed like drones into the modern office buildings there. While commuters inched over the Key Bridge, I strolled steadily along, stopping only to look up and down the river occasionally at the intrepid young men and women in racing shells sweeping their long oars out over the river and pulling themselves along like mosquitoes atop the muddy water.
Georgetown is one of those areas that seems to come and go from fashion. It’s always been a swank residential neighborhood for government officials, diplomats, journalists and other policy makers and internationals. The commercial strips along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, though, come and go. When I was in college, boutiques, liquor stores, bars and head shops lined M Street between Wisconsin Avenue and the Key Bridge. Georgetown was where under-age teens from Virginia could slip across the border into the District of Columbia to buy liquor. Today the street is lined with outposts of the country’s leading upmarket mall retailers and home outfitters while the once crowded Georgetown Park mall sits nearly empty. 
 Georgetown 103, 2011

I started my walk along M Street because that’s where the morning light makes for great color, shadows and reflections. I fired off a few dozen shots before deciding to leave the noise and traffic behind and work my way up the hill to Prospect and M Streets, where stately brick townhouses with colorful front doors and cool gardens make for a quieter walk. In the early morning, you can hear families starting their day. Government officials in suits step out of their front doors into waiting cars to be whisked downtown to run the country. Georgetown University students rush hurriedly in the other direction to class, nearly all of them shuttered from the outside world behind white iPod ear buds.
The tree-lined streets, hills and allies, cobblestones and cracked sidewalks made for great shadows and contrast. Walking up and down those hills and across those cobblestones and cracked sidewalks also, it turns out, did a number of on the plantar fasciitis in my right heel. (What was I thinking?) By the time I headed back down the hill and across the bridge to Virginia, my gait was more like that of an old man.
But that would come an hour or two later. For now, I was in my own little photographic zone. Cataclysmic events could have been taking place all around me. But I was just watching the small stuff, like shadows and color.
Georgetown 107, 2011


  1. Excellent photos! They're wonderful! God, I haven't been to Georgetown for years. I used to head there as an undergrad, and we always loved it. You brought all those memories back with your descriptions of it. Sorry about your foot--hope it's ok now! ouch.

  2. This is a beauty of a post. My daughter was a student here, hence I really feel the ambiance! Up to and including those difficult-to-walk-upon cobblestones!!