Last weekend we visited our daughter Michelle and her boyfriend Tobias in Washington D.C. Despite very unseasonable weather (highs in the low 50s exacerbated by overcast and a raw wind) we decided to check out Dumbarton Oaks, a park that includes the large residence and formal gardens of the benefactor couple who gifted it to the city. We got to the park late afternoon to discover that the formal portion of the park was closed for the day. However, the park also includes an extensive mature woods that we wandered through until the light began to fail.
Below is a shot of the entry to one of the walking paths on the perimeter of the more formal part of the park.
One of the most striking trees in the park was a massive tulip tree. And I mean massive. Here is a shot of Michelle standing next to the trunk, which had to be 8-10 feet in diameter.
The tree was huge not just in terms of its trunk but also in its system of branches. I made a number of attempts to capture that size, but just couldn't figure out how to do that. Here are a couple of my failures.
Part of my problem was that, despite its size, the tree was not really isolated from the remainder of the woods. So I tried shooting upward to avoid creating a confusing and conflicting background.
Unlike Milwaukee, Washington had not yet lost its fall colors, and I took this splash of color on our walk.
The trail crossed a couple of mini-rills and I got the following.
I liked that I positioned the timber above the rill on a diagonal. I wanted the exposure to be long enough to create at least some "silky" appearance to the water. This was 1/15th second. Anything longer and I would have too much camera shake, given that everything was shot handheld.
As mentioned, the path was on the periphery of the formal portion of the park. Here is one of the gates leading to the formal portion that was, of course, locked. I took this first shot as a stereotyped portal shot.
And then a second that i liked better that emphasized the stairway leading up to the gate.
Finally, I spied this beech tree that apparently was ideal for carving initials.
This shot would have been better had the leaves been positioned on the left rather than directly over the most prominent of the carvings.