A Capitol study

September 22, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

In 2008, Congress opened the Capitol Visitor Center to serve as a visitor center for both the Capitol and the city. The CVC is enormous. Fortunately, when Congress built the CVC, they had the presence of mind to put the entire thing underground so that it doesn't detract from the majesty of the Capitol itself. To make sure the CVC had enough light, the architects installed two massive skylights, which can be seen from the east side of the Capitol. It occurred to me that I might be able to take a nice photo of the Capitol dome reflected on one of the skylights.

Photo by John Baggaley of the Capitol during the blue hour.Capitol nightfall I think the photo turned out quite nicely. I really like the color and all the diagonal lines give the image depth and interest. I took it during the magical blue hour (the term comes from the French expression l'heure bleue, which refers to the period of twilight each morning and evening where there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness (Wikipedia, Blue hour (as of Sept. 22, 2012))).

Around the skylights are some marble slabs that normally hold water. When present, the water is flush with the glass. It produces a nice effect. Unfortunately, when I visited the Capitol last week to take these photos, all of the water had been removed. (I assume because of the drought.) I'll have to go back and reshoot these images when the water is present (and hopefully with more clouds too).

When I shoot the Capitol, I usually visit the west side, where you can find the famous reflecting pool. The west side also gets more light at sunset. Since I was on the east side at sunset for the reflections on the skylights, I thought I'd take the opportunity to play around and see what I could get. I took the following panorama:

Panorama photo by John Baggaley of the east side of the Capitol in Washington, DC, at sunset and twilight.Official twilight

I find producing a good panorama technically challenging and the results oddly appealing. I'm not sure what it is about a panorama that attracts me. It may be something about the perspective.

 


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