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A look back on an old photo shoot…

July 7, 2016, 11:06 AM

July 7, 2001 was something of a milestone date for me.  It was my first full-on photo shoot in DC.  The result of that photo shoot was a Photography set called “The Schumin Web Salutes America”.  I pulled the set during the WordPress conversion in 2012 because it was somewhat low quality, but you can still find it in the Internet Archive.  Looking back on the set, it was clear that I didn’t know what I was doing, both in the photography itself as well as the post-production, but it was a start.

The set really embodied the way the Photography set started out, which was more like the modern Life and Times, but more subject-based.  Photography didn’t take on its current form until 2008.  In that, it started out showing my coming up to the area, traveling in on the Metro, it showed the things that I observed on that trip, and also showed a few landmarks in between.

Looking back on this day, fifteen years ago today, it’s funny to see how much has changed since this set was made.  I was 20 years old.  The camera was a Sony Mavica FD-73 – that means that I was toting a box of 3½” floppy disks around DC to save my photos.  Buildings are now here that weren’t in 2001.  Some buildings are gone now.  This was also my first time riding past Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange Line, and my first time transferring to the Yellow Line, at L’Enfant Plaza, and going over the bridge.  So here we go…

The Previa.
This was my car back then.  Welcome to the nineties.  This was our family’s 1991 Toyota Previa LE, which served the entire family quite well from 1990 until 2006.  Looking back on this photo today, the sunshade amuses me.  I stopped using this sunshade probably a year or so after this, and thinking back on it, it really was pointless to use.  Think about this for a moment: the car had ten windows.  One windshield, two non-functional vent windows, three main windows per side, and the back window.  The car was also a dark color.  Put this plastic cover on one window, and it will keep the car nice and cool.  Suuuuuuure.

Car 3007, on the Orange Line to New Carrollton

"Made in Italy by Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie S.p.A."

My train, at Rosslyn
The Metro looked different back then, too.  I took car 3007, i.e. a Breda car, into the city on this particular day.  That car has since been fully rebuilt by Alstom, and looks and sounds totally different.  It wasn’t long before this that I first noticed the Breda builder’s plate, and the photo of the plate was made to immortalize it for my own nerdy purposes.

Rosslyn, viewed from Rosslyn Center
I took this photo of Rosslyn from the second-floor terrace at Rosslyn Center.  This view has certainly changed since then.  The building under construction, 1801 North Lynn Street, is now complete.  The building in the foreground was demolished in the late 2000s.  The building in the bottom left of the photo was demolished in early 2005.  I made a photo set with Big Mavica of a day in its demolition called “Urban Demolition“.

Capitol West Terrace

View down the steps of the Capitol's West Front

People up on the West Terrace
Back then, they used to let the public go up the west steps of the Capitol and walk around the West Terrace.  According to a police officer at the time, the biggest problem was people who tried to carve their names into the stone.  Otherwise, the only thing that the officer had to do was ask people to not sit on the railing.  I suppose that the loss of this sort of access was a casualty of 9/11, as you are no longer allowed to just walk up to this area without authorization.  They should bring it back.

Entrance to the Washington Monument
This is the entrance to the Washington Monument.  The fence is there due to the monument’s being closed for restoration at the time these photos were taken.  This entrance was replaced with a small building next to the main structure in order to conduct security screening.

View towards the Lincoln Memorial
View towards the Lincoln Memorial.  Note that the World War II Memorial had not yet been built.

Lincoln Memorial fire alarm notification appliance  Lincoln Memorial fire alarm pull station
Fire alarms in the Lincoln Memorial.  As of 2013, the Wheelock MT-24-WM in the left photo had been replaced with a Wheelock Exceder, and the Gamewell pull had been replaced with a Fire-Lite BG-12.

"Operating 'til 2 a.m."
Fifteen years ago was when Metro extended its Friday and Saturday operating hours from midnight to 2 AM.  This would later be extended to 3 AM.  The system’s midnight closing time was reinstituted this year with the introduction of the “SafeTrack” plan, aiming to bring the system to a state of good repair.

PIDS in 2001
The PIDS screens in 2001 displayed a lot less information than they do now.  Back then, they only showed the next train for each color that would arrive in the station, and the entire screen would change between the two services’ trains.  So at McPherson Square, shown here, you would have this display, and then it would change to show the next Orange Line train to New Carrollton.  “Approaching” was used when the train was less than two minutes away.  The Blue Line was extended to Largo Town Center in 2004, and the three-line PIDS display that most are familiar with was introduced in 2005.

The view from the Yellow Line bridge
This was my first time over the Yellow Line bridge.  I was very surprised at the time that the Yellow Line went over the river, as prior to this, my only experience was with the Blue and Orange Lines, which went under the river to get into the city from Virginia.

I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of fun to revisit these sorts of memories.  It’s also interesting how things can change all around us, but we don’t necessarily notice because it happens gradually.  Photos can bring these changes into the forefront as we recognize things that aren’t there anymore, and practices that you won’t see anymore.