Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July on the National Mall - 2005

In commemoration of the July 4th Independence Day holiday, here are some photographs from one of the biggest celebrations of them all, the one on the National Mall in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to spend a few months working in Virginia in 2005 and could not resist going downtown for the concerts and fireworks display.

As advised, I arrived in the morning before lunch. Security was tight, and police checked everyone entering the mall area. Part of the Mall still had vegetable gardens, remnants of the Folk Life Festival from June. Summer in Washington is great because there are festivals of one sort or another almost every weekend, but you have to put up with the humidity.

At the Capital, people had already staked out their spot on the steps, and it was not even noon. The sun was blazing down and the temperature was at least 90° F. Were they really going to sit out in the sun for over 7 hours? Answer: yes. Police had placed pallets of water nearby for people to stay hydrated.

This is the view of the concert they would see many hours hence. You can see the heat haze in the distance - summer in the city. I did not want to sit in the sun, so I moved on.

The lawn in front of the Capital was filling up by early afternoon.

A few areas along the side had some shade; perfect for a nap.

There was even free food, if you were willing to wait in line.

Some vendors had set up their displays, including the bumper sticker guy. Guess who was the President at the time?

The 4th is a great day to display your patriotic garments.

Finally, I decided to settle down on the grass west of the Washington Monument, which is on a low hill. The US Marine band played a concert near here, and the Monument was much closer to the fireworks, which were to be launched from the Reflecting Pool.

Finally, concert time at 7 pm, and then the fireworks. The Lincoln Memorial is in the distance beyond the Pool. I took the Metro home at 11 pm - long day.

Photographs taken with a Canon PowerShot S330 compact camera. This was an early-vintage digital unit, but I was impressed how well it handled difficult exposures. The color palette is a bit bright, but it works well. The built-in jpeg compression was too high, resulting in odd artifacts.

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