Capture a moment

One of hundreds of photos being taken all around the Tidal Basin.  April 2013

One of hundreds of photos being taken all around the Tidal Basin. April 2013

“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”Karl Lagerfeld

A couple of weeks ago I went into D.C. for the afternoon to see the cherry blossom trees at their peak.  Not only was it indescribably beautiful, but I had perhaps the greatest opportunity ever to unobtrusively take photos of other people taking photos, which is one of my favorite subjects to catch on camera.

During my years as a photographer for my college newspaper, I learned that cameras add significantly to an already festive atmosphere.  When people are happy and friendly, add a camera and you have an instant party.  That’s how it felt that afternoon around the Tidal Basin.  It was like being at a big party where no one knew everyone else, but none were strangers.

Although camera phones are everywhere now, it’s still easier to get good photos (particularly from a distance) with one of the many lightweight, full-featured digital cameras available for very reasonable prices.  Try taking one along to your next happy gathering, and see how much fun you have capturing precious moments that will happen only once in a lifetime.

30 Comments

  1. What a lovely shot! Nature in its full bloom. This inspires me to go for a better camera at least before our much-awaited vacation. Let me start saving 🙂

    • Bindu, there are some really good cameras out for a reasonable price, especially the smaller ones that don’t have interchangeable lenses. These digital cameras now have so many settings that I never seem to learn to use all the features. When I first started taking photos nearly 50 years ago, photography was a very expensive hobby compared to now, and a very involved process to do the editing and special effects that are now only a computer click away. We are very lucky!

  2. merry

    A fun, interesting photo. Cherry trees beautiful. I agree with you, cameras add to an event. I’ve just took pictures of the early view from the deck. We’re spending a few days at our son’s lake side home. My little dog, Charlie wanted to chase the deer last night. ~:}
    Blessing to you and Jeff, courage & strength for coming weeks.

    • How lucky to have a lake side home to visit, especially one with deer nearby! Don’t you just love these little dogs that want to go after the animals no matter what size? Thanks so much for your kind words and support. It really helps to have people encouraging us during this difficult time.

  3. Carolyn

    The trees are beautiful. Today I have a precious moment, our first grandchild,Nicole, is a sweet “16”. Time is passing so fast for us. Enjoy each moment you have with your precious family. Jeff is in our prayers and please keep us up to date. Hugs to you all.

    • Thanks Carolyn, WOW that’s amazing to think your grandchild is 16! I can’t get used to the idea that we are due for a grandchild in July. So much else is going on that I hardly have time to think about it but when I do, I get very excited. We will keep you posted and you do the same for us, you are in our prayers. Love to you and Terry.

  4. Michael Bertoglio

    Nice shot. My camera is about ten years old. Any ones you would recommend? Canon Sure Shot?
    We have had some” pink snow,” here recently from the Hinoshi cherry trees. Very beautiful.

    • Mike, I am strongly biased toward Canon because my first SLR was an AT-1 and I always bought Canon from then on. The Sure Shot cameras are great and the one I shoot with now is amazingly durable despite a few bad bangs when I would fall while climbing rocks, etc. Having said that, I also had a couple of Nikon Cool Pix cameras that were also very good. And I always had a good impression of Olympia cameras but I don’t even know if they are still in business. The big thing to keep in mind is what features you will use most. I like to have a good optical telephoto range and one that will shoot HD video; it amazes me that the same tiny camera can do all that for less than 1/5 of what I spent for my first SLR and basic lens.

  5. So true, Julia! DC looks gorgeous this time of year. Can you believe I’ve never been? I plan to remedy that soon.

    Great perspective.

    • Hey, let me know when you plan to be here – maybe we can get together or I can at least give you some “insider tips.”

      • Oh that would be amazing. What do you think is the best time of year to travel there? I know your summers can be quite humid.

        • Alys, probably springtime is the best time. It’s almost impossible to time the cherry blossoms just right, but if you came in late March or early April you would have a chance of seeing them at their peak. But even if you didn’t, other things would be in bloom and it’s best to avoid the heat and crowds of summer, and you are right, it gets quite muggy. Spring break week is really crowded too, but that varies somewhat since not everyone has the same spring break. If spring was not possible, my next choice would be fall. The foliage around here can be spectacular and stays pretty longer than the cherry blossoms do. If you decided to take side trips, Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg and even Virginia Beach are an easy drive from here, as are Baltimore, the Blue Ridge Mountains, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. But you could easily spend two full weeks in the DC area and not see everything there is to see, especially if you like museums and history.

          • Wow! It sounds as spectacular as I thought. I can’t wait to make it happen.

            Thanks for all the tips and ideas. You’ve got me thinking. I love history, architecture and the simple experience of exploring new places. You’re lucky to live near so much.

  6. Sheila

    Julia, you must have been a cute little toddler, with your camera! I like to tell our patients that we opened our business in 1983, when we were children. I really have thought of you so often today. I know there is much anticipation in your household this evening, but I just have such a good feeling about the upcoming procedure. Special prayers for Jeff, Sheila

    • Seriously I was about 6 or 7 when I started taking pictures, with 25 cent rolls of black and white film from K-Mart. Daddy used to process B&W film in a darkroom he would set up in our bathroom. It was like magic watching the photos “appear” in the chemicals. Thanks so much for your good wishes and prayers, we are excited and hopeful. Thanks too for visiting us here!

  7. Looks beautiful there Julia! My Gosh, I hope to go some day. I used to work at a drug store in high school and film development was a big draw for customer shopping. I wonder if they’re missing it too? It’s so much easier these days though.

    • That’s so funny, I used to work in the camera department at Rich’s (a department store in Atlanta) and we did photo processing orders – boy did we get slammed on holidays but it was great fun. On Christmas Eve we would just spend the last few hours standing there telling people “We’re out of film…sorry, all out of film…no more film…” It is definitely easier now but it used to seem more magical when you would have to wait until your photos came back. Of course there were always many disappointments with blurred shots, fingers in front of lenses, etc. The cherry blossoms are so gorgeous at peak, I had never seen them like that. You need to plan about a 2-week trip to be sure of catching them (or be extremely flexible about when you come). Even living here, we were often out of town for spring break at peak time.

      • That’s so funny, I always loved picking up my films too. Some surprises, some disappointments. Had to take the good with the bad 😀
        We always have tried to avoid travel during spring break. We kind of goofed up when we planned to get married in Texas and holiday in the gulf coast in April….LOL Soooooo many kids in the pool. But I’d love to make an exception for a visit to DC at the right time.

        • You should definitely make an exception there! Maybe you and Alys could come at the same time. Why don’t you cook up some plans while you are hitting the trails in Napa and Sonoma? 🙂

          • Just to get you both plotting, check out this annual event: http://www.vagardenweek.org/

          • You never know 😀 At one time Alys and I were chatting up Cabot Cove. I’m a huge ‘Murder She Wrote’ fan. Lovely Angela Lansbury was so fun every week. I had no idea there was such a place and oh boy it looks so cute. That’s on the east coast…maybe we could all rendezvous? The next holiday is for the hubby and he’s got Maui in his sights for next winter. We went in 2012 and we just loved it.

            • Maine is wonderful and it’s easy to get there from here – lots of inexpensive flights to BOS. Hey, I read the exteriors of Cabot Cove were filmed in Mendocino, CA!!! So maybe you should check that place out too, it’s not too awfully far from where you will be. As for your trip to Maui, the locals there would probably tell you “Maui nō ka ʻoi” (“Maui is the best!”). I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it is a very cool place. If you haven’t been to Kepaniwai Park (at Iao Valley) be sure to see it, and if you can possibly manage to make the time, drive the Hana highway and visit Lindbergh’s gravesite, in a pretty little church yard right on the ocean in a remote and mostly unmarked spot (I’m sure you can find directions for how to get there online someplace). Winter will be a wonderful time to go!

              • Hey, Mendocino? I think Steven of Braman’s Wanderings lives there….I better find out for sure, maybe we can buy him a coffee. I’m in awe of your familiarity of so many wonderful destinations. Thanks so much for the Maui tips. We never did get up to Hanna…hopefully this trip.

                • I hope you do get to Hana but the whole island is lovely so you can’t go wrong. I have been lucky to be able to travel a lot, between the airlines and the military, I’ve had many opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. But I also read so much about other places that often, when I visit a place for the first time, some of the streets and neighborhoods seem familiar. I used to tell Jeff “the world is too big to live in one place all our lives.” But even I had no idea how many places we would end up living. It’s been an adventure for sure. Not easy, but few worthwhile things are!

                  • Hey, I didn’t see that link to the garden tour when you gave it? Sorry Julia, WP weirdness. Stunning and yes yes yes, that would really be up our alley. Were you able to take any of it in? I dropped it onto FB to share with Alys. That would be dreamy. Soooooo many places to see and go ❤ xK

                    • I am planning to go to the York County part of the garden tour this weekend if all goes as planned. Jeff is doing pretty well (he insisted on going to work today) so we expect to have a “normal” weekend and a friend of mine is working in the York tour. They have these tours pretty much all over the state so almost anywhere you would be, there would be one nearby. Of course, lots of the tourist destinations such Mount Vernon, Monticello and the Smithsonian have lovely gardens too. Even the hospital where Jeff was this past week (Walter Reed in Bethesda, “the President’s hospital”) had me wishing I had brought my camera as there was at least one courtyard with beautiful flowering trees.

                    • Hooray! I’m so happy to hear Jeff’s hospital stay went well, that’s awesome Julia! Now go skip thru a garden! You need a break xK

                    • Thanks, I’m looking forward to a nice walk outside this evening!

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