Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Squeezing the most out of a way too short visit to Washington DC suburb Alexandria

The stop in Alexandria, Va., a last-minute decision after leaving Mount Vernon, came in the very late afternoon of May 18, leaving woefully insufficient time to see and photograph everything I'm sure was there to see.

The land that is now Alexandria was once part of a bigger tract of land in Virginia and Maryland, on both sides of the Potomac River, originally envisioned for use as the nation's capital in the late 1700s. Eventually, all land on the Virginia side of the river was rendered unneeded, leaving us with Washington D.C. as we know it today.

One of the things that intrigued me about making a stop in Alexandria was the perspective I'd have along the river of any of the taller structures in Washington ... and whether it would be possible to get quality pictures from those vantage points.

As the lead and secondary photos above show, you can make out the Capitol Building in the distance in each one. I'm chagrined to admit that I don't know the nation's capital skyline well enough to identify the other structures that stand tall in these skyline images. As to whether I would consider these "quality" pictures, I'd say no. I used the far end of my Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD VC lens, and because of the looming darkness, I'm sure I boosted the ISO setting to levels I would normally avoided. So because of the fraying sharpness quality using the 300mm barrel range coupled with deteriorating ambient light and the high ISO, the pictures were not going to be gems. I knew it. Still, I felt I had to go for it.

As you'll see while perusing the images below, I took multiple perspectives of several subjects in my l limited shooting in Alexandria while there still daylight.

As usual, click on any image to bring up a larger, sharper version. This is particularly useful if you access the blog using a mobile device. Click on the link in this sentence to view a full gallery of the images I made from my visit to Alexandria, Va.

Photo geek stuff: I shot all of my photos with my Canon 6D and Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di PZD VC lens equipped with a B+W polarizing filter. I bracketed all compositions for three exposures to allow for melding in high-dynamic range (HDR) software in post-processing. Many of the images in this post were treated that way. All of the photos in this post were taken during the late afternoon or early evening, so ISO settings were boosted higher than normal as natural light deteriorated. I decided not to treat any of the images in noise-removal software.

Above and next three below: Photos from along the river walk area of Alexandria. 

Above and next five below: Images from our visit to Gadsby's Tavern, notable for having been visited (and multiple times) by the nation's first five presidents -- Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. We arrived at opening for dinner fare and were fortunate to be given a table even though we did not have reservations, which apparently are normally required. 

Above and next two below: Three perspectives of city hall, including the first below, in which I pressed the shutter just as a plane (left of the tower) prepared to pass well behind the structure).  

Above and next eight below: Scenes in the downtown area taken as we made our way to Gadsby's Tavern and while returning to our car from the river walk area.

The embedded plaque above, which is around the corner from, yet adjacent to, Gadsby's Tavern, explains the next three photos. The third below is a closeup of the well hatch, where there appears to be hay now. 

Next up: Berkeley Plantation, Charles City, Va.

Previous posts in this East Coast swing series:

James Madison's Montpelier

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Barboursville Vineyards, Barboursville, Va.

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