Archive for March 2012

November 3, 2011 Part 1 Supreme Court, Congressional Library, Capital Tour   Leave a comment

It is very simple to arrange a Capitol Tour through your representative, all you need to do is call and they will arrange everything.  Capital Tours are not based on donations nor time spent campaigning it is based on available time of staff.  In the past we toured the Capitol through Senator McCaskill’s office and this trip were given a personal tour from Congressman Carnahan’s staff.  Since we were able to view the Senate the first time, we opted to just view the House of Representatives this time.  Contact your representative’s office as soon as you know your plans, on this trip our first choice day was not available another day was arranged. 

A word of caution: Travel light on the day you visit the Capital.  Click here for safety guidelines   You will have all bags held while you visit the Senate and  House chambers.  When we visited the Senate, various Representative we’re reading statements into the record for and against Hillary Clinton prior to voting on her ultimate approval as Secretary of State.  During our House of Representative observation members were reading three-minute speeches into record, these speeches were on various subjects. 

Another Note of Caution:  If you see that Representative that you despise, do yourself a favor and don’t embarrass yourself.  Also don’t feed their ego by mentioning their name.  A despised Senator walked by and Bill said “There’s XXX”, that Senator made eye contact and just beamed, BLECHHHHH  What this Senator didn’t seem to realize was that statement was filtered and far from being a compliment.  If we did not have a filter the full comment would have been “There’s XXX one of the biggest arsses in Washington.”

Because we were early for our Capitol Tour appointment; we headed over to the Supreme Court and Congressional Library. We quickly discovered more time would be need to  properly see even a portion of what these two buildings held. We opted to quickly tour the Supreme Court.  Congressional Library would require additional time.

Supreme Court:

Cueing up for a visit.  There were two pretty large groups of mostly men in suites.  I discovered this was not because the Supreme Court was in session, it was a group of visitors.

 Authority of Law: One of two statues (not shown Contemplation of Justice) at the corners of the Supreme Court Building sculpted by Earle Fraser


Supreme Court Hearing Room:  Bill, Patty, and Ken. This room has 44–foot ceilings, 24 marble columns, ivory friezes from Spain and floor borders made of Italian and African marble. The raised Bench where the Justices sit and other furniture in the Courtroom are made from mahogany.


Strategizing or Compromising?

First Chief Justice:  I have a really hard time with statues.  This is actually a white marble statue that I worked over a bit in post processing. 

Supreme Court Fun First FactsFirst Supreme Court Assembly Feb 1, 1790.  First Supreme Court case  1792.  First Supreme Court Constitution determination 1803. First Black Justice Thurgood Marshall 1967.  First female Justice Sandra Day O’Connor 1981. First Hispanic Justice Sonia Sotomayor 2009.

NEXT:  Library of Congress and Capital Visit


Posted March 23, 2012 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

November 2, 2011 Part 2 Washington DC At Night   Leave a comment

Monuments are open most days and may be viewed from sunup until around midnight.  Check the National Parks Service or specific monument’s website for details.  Some monuments but not all  have Park Rangers on duty after sundown.  The Rangers are a great source for information, directions and little known facts about Washington DC and her history. 

Seeing our Nation’s Icon’s in their ‘best light’ was amazing.  Bring your camera and bring your tripod  The rangers might ask you to put your tripod away due to tripping/injury concerns.  Late October/Early November are typically a lower visitor time.  We could easily set up a tripod anywhere (except the White House).  We discovered the weather might be rainy, snowy cool or warm at this time of year. I found this website a great source of photography inspiration and guidelines  Check out the area called “Scaffolding Alerts!”  I knew before leaving home that we would run into construction during our visit and chose to include ‘scaffolding’ in my shots.  I was happy to see people working and didn’t feel orange tape, a crane or a field of mud where the Reflecting Pond once existed Interfered with a beautiful sunset reflecting on the dome of Capitol.

Fun Fact:  The Bartholdi Fountain was the first public monument  illuminated in Washington DC.

This is a very interesting and informative article about the theory of lighting Washington DC’s Monuments and how NASCAR theory has been employed.  Washington Post’s Bathed In the Right Light: 

Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.

Fun Fact:  St. Louis based Randy Burkett Lighting Design company spent five years designing the lighting for Dr. King’s Memorial.   (Randy Burkett Lighting Design also designed lighting for St. Louis Arch – this local company is really making a name for themselves!)  Click to see other project RBLD has worked

 Dr. King (Tidal Basin reflection from Jefferson Memorial grounds)

Air Force Memorial is located in Arlington Virginia, overlooking the Pentagon and near Arlington Cemetery.  The Airforce Memorial  honors the Services and Sacrifices of the United States Air Force and its predecessor organizations, including the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps; the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps; the Division of Military Aeronautics, Secretary of War; the Army Air Service; the U.S. Army Air Corps; and the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Fact:  The three spires represent the image of the United States Air Force Thunderbird Demonstration Team  “bomb burst” maneuver.

Washington Monument Reflections (Tidal Basin reflection from Jefferson Memorial)

Jefferson Memorial (Tidal Basin reflection from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial)

NEXT: Visiting the Capitol Building, Senate in Session, Congressman Carnahan Meet-up

Posted March 16, 2012 by cjaaron1 in Uncategorized

November 2, 2011 Washington DC Part 1 Chili, Fiber Arts and Natural History Meet-Up   Leave a comment

Monuments and Smithsonian Museums are Free.  There might be charges to a special exhibits or other special events.  We saw Harry Bellefonte for $20.00 per person.  Check The Smithsonian for events, take a class or go to a lecture on an area of interest while visiting Washington DC. 

Ben’s Chili Bowl:  It was a later start on this day and we decided we would have an early lunch then go separate ways and meet up later.  I had heard about Ben’s Chili through Anthony Bourdain’s show “No Reservations”   Tony described Ben’s Chili as the country’s best.  It IS the Best no repeat Chili and the Half -Smoked is to behold!  Amazing deserts too!  I can’t begin to do justice to the history of Ben’s Chili Bowl so please click and read:

DuPont Circle:  After ‘lunch’ Patty and Ken headed back to the Mall to the Museum of Natural History.  Bill and I headed to the Textile Museum.  We jumped on a train and headed over to Dupont Circle because our Museum was in the Embassy District of Washington DC.

Fun Fact:  DuPont Circle is named after Samuel Francis DuPont for his service as Rear Admiral during the Civil War. More Fun Facts:  DuPont Circle neighborhood housed Washington’s first Gay Bookstore which opened in 1974 and in 1975 ran the Nations first gay-oriented television commercial. 

Spanish Steps:  On the way to the museum we discovered the “Spanish Steps”.  It is believed that these steps once led to Kalorama Estate

Fun Fact:  According to Yelp posts – Spanish Steps is one of Washington’s best kept secrete and most romantic spot.

View from the top of Spanish steps:

Unrequited Love:  I noticed what I will assume is some sort of offering/spell for unrequited love.

Textile Museum:  During our visit to Washington, The Textile Museum was displaying Kuba Textiles and Woven Art of Central Africa after linking scroll down to see these beautiful pieces of art.  Unfortunately I could not take any photos nor touch the beautiful fiber art that was on display – amazing work.

Textile Patio:  Below is the Textile Museum’s patio.  The Textile Museum will be moving to George Washington’s Foggy Bottom Campus.  I want to incorporate this pattern in our sidewalk.  This is another project that continues to be discussed, I’m patient (living room cabinet with full length drawers, living room cabinet doors and sanding the floors). 

Sparrow and Coffee:  After our museum visit, we stopped for a cup of coffee and enjoyed the beautiful weather a few feathered friends. 

Black and White Sparrow:

Once we refueled with coffee we headed over to the Old Post Office and Clock Tower.  No more trips for the day so we headed over to meet Patty and Ken at the Museum of Natural History.  Mr. Elephant is a great place to meet – kind of like the Clock at New York’s Grand Central. 

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Elephant

Fun Facts:  Museum of Natural History houses over 124 Million Objects.  The elephant was a 13 feet and weighed 22,000 pounds.

After walking through several exhibits, we headed for the subway.  We would go for dinner and return by car to take pictures of the Monuments at night.  This is probably my favorite Capitol capture.  The light and whisy clouds provided a perfect light. 

NEXT: Monuments at Night