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A day without color…

August 4, 2005, 8:44 PM

My, my, my… I realized I’m starting to turn into a Wikipediholic when I sit down at the computer and immediately pull up Wikipedia. From there, I immediately pull up my watch list, and see what’s changed. And then I start reading and editing. Then of course, I was on my discussion forum, and wanted to format a link to a Web page like [[wikipedia article|this]]. Those who are familiar know that [[that]] is how you form a link to another Wikipedia article, with the former using custom link text, and the latter without.

You might want to blame Wikipedia for the fact that my Malcolm X Park photo set is not yet out. I’ve been playing around on Wikipedia, my “intellectual playground”, as I like to call it. It’s fun, but it’s also quite addictive.

So there you are. I’m certainly dedicated, but it’s starting to use time I usually spend on this site. I will get Malcolm X Park and Shades of Gray (both of which have been sorted down some in preparation for the respective sets) up before too long. As long as I can pry Wikipedia from my grasp, it seems.I went to DC on Wednesday with the intention of shooting entirely in black-and-white. And except for seven photos (out of 262 total), I kept my end of the bargain. I also shot two black-and-white movies, both of which were of the Metro, and most likely won’t get used. The photos, on the other hand, will be used for a Photography set, with the working title of “Shades of Gray”. Why did I shoot in black-and-white this time? I wanted to try something new. In the fifty trips to the Washington DC area that I’d made between July 7, 2001 and July 20, 2005, you know how many black-and-white photos I shot? Zero. Everything was shot in color. So for my August 3, 2005 trip, I went and did black-and-white, which made things more exciting for me. I can fire off a color photo with little effort, because I’m used to it. With black-and-white, it’s made me think again. I’ve got to set up my shots differently. I’ve got to pay more attention to contrast rather than color. In color, a red object on a green background might be quite interesting looking. In black-and-white, it all kind of runs together, because it’s all gray. All in all, it’s a different way of thinking, and it was fun. I might just have to do this again one day.

The only complaint that I have about shooting in black-and-white is that Big Mavica is a pain in the butt when it comes to putting it in different color modes. My expectation was that once you put the camera in black-and-white mode, it will stay there until you take it out of black-and-white mode. This was not the case. Instead, every time you either turned off the camera or changed between still, video, and playback modes, the camera would lose your color settings. Thus if I were to shoot an image, and then go into playback mode to look at it, I would have to set the camera back to black-and-white again to shoot another photo. It made it quite inconvenient, to say the least. But we managed.

Besides the camera not keeping my settings, there was only one thing that Big Mavica did that I wasn’t expecting, and that was relatively early on in the day, when I was shooting in downtown Washington and the camera shut itself down while I was setting up a shot. It must have been some sort of automatic shutdown procedure that it followed, since it didn’t just die, like if you try to use the flash when your battery is nearly dead. In that case, the screen abruptly goes black and the lens doesn’t retract. This time, the screen went black, and then the lens retracted normally. And then it came back to life afterwards as if nothing happened. And it didn’t do it again. I figure it must have been the heat, since it was noontime, in the middle of downtown DC, and the sun was shining right on it.

The day overall was fun. I rode from Vienna to Rosslyn to McPherson Square. There, I wandered around downtown. I got back on the train at Federal Triangle, and rode to L’Enfant Plaza. There I rode to Shaw-Howard University, where I got off and walked the couple of blocks to the Infoshop. I spent longer than planned there because I spent some time cooling off. By that time I was very hot, and was getting big sweat spots on my shirt. So I cooled off at the Infoshop. Then from there, I walked to Mt. Vernon Square station, and rode to Gallery Place. From there, I rode to Dupont Circle, where I photographed some more. Then back on the train at Dupont to Metro Center. There, I walked around some more downtown, and stopped at the Barnes and Noble downtown, where Mom met Bill Clinton for the second time at a book-signing in 2004 (the first time was in Arkansas in 1985). Then from there I rode to L’Enfant Plaza, where I transferred to a Yellow Line train. I rode to King Street, got off, photographed a little (and found the new station entrance that’s being built), and then rode up to Pentagon City. From Pentagon City, I rode down to Huntington and back up to Rosslyn, changing lines at Crystal City (I chose an underground station to make the transfer since they’re air-conditioned). Then from Rosslyn I took the line to Vienna and that was it!

I think that the biggest thing of note was at Mt. Vernon Square. I had mentioned to the rail supervisor who was there with the traffic checkers at that station about the lights, and he gave me a very polite response to call Metro’s customer service to report it. Then I went about photographing a train coming in on the outbound track. Then I turn the other direction and try to photograph the train coming in that I’m about to get onto. The supervisor not only told me that I couldn’t photograph, but then proceeded to block the shot with his body and his notebook, citing “security”. I’m sorry, but after the recent bombings in London, where authorities were looking for people who’d photographed the system that day to submit their photos to help the investigation, it adds a great amount of legitimacy to my railfan photography. In addition, in a Lunchtalk chat on April 15 of this year, Richard White (the CEO of Metro) himself said that photography was permitted on Metro. If I’d been thinking about it, I’d have switched to flash mode on my camera and taken a photo of the supervisor and sent it on down to the Jackson Graham Building. My camera has enough resolution to clearly see his face and his name badge in such a photo. But since I didn’t think about that at the time, someone at least ought to make sure that a package of Depends is sent his way, since I’m not going to stop photographing, but we can at least help him when he wets his pants when he sees a camera.

I also went over to Pentagon Row for a change this time around. Usually, I go to Pentagon City Mall and stay there. This time, after I ate dinner at the mall (unusual for me to eat a meal at the mall), and then read my Washington Post, I went across to Pentagon Row. That was interesting. Though I like Pentagon Row best when it’s winter, since they have the outdoor ice rink set up then.

So all in all, a fun day was had by all (and by all, we mean ME). Pictures will be forthcoming when I arrange the Photography set.

Web site: A site with all kinds of black-and-white photos of DC. Kind of cool, if you ask me.

Song: Sakura Saku, which is my ringtone sound on my phone.

Quote: With this entry, I deliberately tried to be a little shorter on the wind. When I wrote about my last two trips, I felt that I was excessively long-winded. This time I tried to keep it down a bit. Did I do well?

Categories: DC trips, Photography