Friday, April 17, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Assassinated

Tuesday was the 150th Anniversary of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  I meant to do a post about that sooner but tonight is just as good as any.
 On Friday April 14th, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife went to Ford's Theater in order to watch a play.  The play was entitled "Our American Cousin" and was written by the English Playwright Tom Taylor.  It was about a boorish American who goes to England in order to view his relatives.  It was a very popular play.

At 10:15 P.M., shots rang out across the theater as the President was shot by John Wilkes Booth.  It was meant to be part of a conspiracy to eliminate the top of the United States government and in the ensuing chaos, the Confederacy could get a start again.  Booth managed to escape the theater but his co-conspirators didn't fare as well.  All three men were captured.
 Lincoln ended up dying the next morning.  Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated.
It's hard to say what would have happened had Lincoln survived the attack.  Part of me wants to say that Reconstruction wouldn't have been as brutal or as long.  He wanted to welcome the Confederate States back into the fold and return things to relative normalcy as soon as possible.  I don't know how successful he would have been at that though since there were many people looking for blood.

But sadly, the die was cast and we will never know.

Han Solo

Yesterday the released the second trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie.  I will have to say that up until that one, I was cautiously optimistic.  After seeing the part of the trailer where Han and Chewie were together, that has moved into excitement.
 The story may have been about Luke but Han Solo was the overwhelming fan favorite.
 I mean he had a cool ship and an awesome partner.
 In the end, he ended up getting the Princess although it would have been kind of creepy if she ended up with Luke.
 He was cool as a cucumber and had a heart of gold.
That being said, even though Harrison Ford is in his 70's, I can't wait to see this.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A New Mode on My Flash

I subscribe to a group called "The Digital Photography School".  It's a place where people can learn about photography and many of the people that hang out on the forums there are pretty nice.  One of those people really helped me with my sports photography. 
Anyway, every Thursday they send out an e-mail where they give some handy photography tips.  One of them was about modes that aren't often used on a camera.  One of these modes is where you can adjust the intensity of your flash.  So tonight I had to try it out.
 Well a pretty good subject for me is my model trains.  I actually like to take pictures of my models but I don't really like the flash on the camera.  One of these days I will get a flash that you mount on the camera but I don't use flash often enough.  So I'm glad to find out about this mode because it really softens the light.
 For that matter, I think it makes some of the details on the trains pop out.
 I think I would like this with a little more depth of field.
 The engine I bought in Altoona.  I read today that the Nickel Plate 765 is heading to eastern Pennsylvania, I'm wondering if that will give me a chance to catch her as she passes the Horseshoe Curve.  I hope so.
 This is probably my favorite engine.
 The building on the left is probably my favorite out of the ones I built.
 Reminds me of my trip over the weekend, although I think I need to make these look more beat up.
And I leave you with the train station.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

An Ann Arbor Railroad Train Passes By

I actually caught this yesterday but since I was busy posting stuff from my trip, I figured I would wait until tonight.
 As I was heading home, this train was stopped across the road.  I was starting to turn around when I saw that it was moving, so I decided to get out of my car and take pictures.
 It was funny because I heard it all day as it was moving around.  I didn't think I would get pictures of it though.
 Looks like a former Union Pacific Engine though.
 Since I saw it was heading towards State Street, I decided to see if I could catch it.
And remember, when you see these flashing, always think train.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Heading Home

I only spent a couple hours in Washington.  As I was heading out, I saw the traffic coming back on the turnpike and I figured that I would try to avoid that section of the turnpike.
 This would mean a trip on I-68 and a few other interstates.  It's actually a pretty nice drive but I think it adds about 100 miles to the trip.  I will have to say that I-68 is a little more interesting than the turnpike.  Both go through the mountains but I-68 isn't graded quite as well.  In total it goes 120 miles from Hancock, MD to Morgantown, West Virginia.  It took close to 25 years to complete.
 This is at a rest area near the place called the Sideling Cut.  There is a rest area there with a really cool feature.
 That feature is that you can go up on a bridge that crosses over the freeway.  The cut itself is pretty unique.
 I had to make one more stop in Cumberland.  This time, I was treated to some better lighting for trains.
 I just wish I was paying attention as this train approached.  It gave me a pretty good view of the city though.
 I've stopped at this station before.
 A church.
 One of the things I like about older towns is that they have some character.
 Another old church.
 Another view of the train.
 The rest area as you enter the West Virginia border.  I think I may have to wander down here one of these days.  I think I would be happy in Wheeling because I saw a few tugs as I passed over the Ohio River.
 If I had to guess, I would say this was used in lumbering or coal.
A group of flags.

So that was my quick trip out east.  Next time I will plan it a little better.

A Brief Visit to Washington DC

As I said in the first post of this series, I was heading to Washington DC to catch the cherry blossoms.  I sort of caught them one year and I've been meaning to catch them since.  I read about them in the Washington Post on Thursday and decided a really spur of the moment thing.  I think if I do this next year, I'm going to plan a three day weekend to do it.  I just didn't have enough time.
 You know you're in Washington DC when you see a helicopter that looks like this.  This was flying by when I was taking pictures of the canal.  I think this was being used by someone of importance.
 I decided to park by the Lincoln Memorial because I remembered seeing some cherry blossoms near it but apparently the bigger group is on the other side.  This still looked pretty cool.
 An Alaskan Air 737 taking off from Reagan Airport.
 It was actually a pretty nice day for wandering around Washington DC.  I probably would have spent more time but I wasn't parked in the best of spots and I didn't want to have to deal with getting my car towed.
 Sadly, the lawn didn't look quite as nice as it did.
 I did manage to get some closeups of the blossoms.  Honestly, I can't wait to get a chance to get some pictures of the blossoms on Belle Isle.  I think that will be coming up pretty soon.
 The Lincoln Memorial through the blossoms.
 Another close up shot.
 Another shot.
 And why not.
 A trio of cherry blossoms.
 I decided to wander up to the monument itself.  I don't remember the last time I was this close but it's been a while.
 I will have to say that the light was cooperating with me.
 Although a bunch of other people must have had the same idea as I did because the place was swarming with people.  I think if I do this next year, I might do it so that I'm there on a weekday.
 I think this an Embrear aircraft.
 Looking towards the Washington Memorial.  It's a shame that the reflecting pond wasn't filled because I think I would have had a perfect picture because it was fairly calm.
 The Lincoln statue.  This is pretty impressive.
 From another angle.
 From a better angle.
 Looking up the columns.
 Another shot from the front.
 Another angle of the Washington Memorial.  Sadly, they were doing work on the Capitol Building, so it didn't look quite as nice.  Also, I was shooting into the sun for these.
 Another angle.  I couldn't escape the throngs of people.
 This is the second time I saw the Korean Memorial.  The other time was shortly after it was built.  I think it looks much cooler now.  I kind of like the idea of the statues of individual soldiers because you can almost feel like you are a part of this patrol.
 I kind of like the wall in the background because it almost makes the statues look like ghosts.
 These are all pretty typical for soldiers serving in the Korean War.
 The thousand yard stare.
 A shot from the rear.
 the Lincoln Memorial with a Southwest 737 flying over it.
 Since I parked fairly close to the Vietnam Memorial, I decided to get some pictures of it as well.  These statues were added to give it a more traditional look but judging by the look on his face, there is nothing traditional about these statues.  Another thousand yard stare.
 Again, these are pretty typical of soldiers that served in the Vietnam War.
 He definitely looks like he's seen too much.  That is the reason why I say this doesn't look very traditional.  Usually a statue like this doesn't depict the horrors of war.
 One more shot of the statue.
 The Vietnam Memorial was started with a great deal of controversy.  Many of the traditional veteran groups didn't like it and it was derisively called "The Ditch".  But I think over the years, people have really connected with it.  I've seen momentos like this every time I've visited.
 Given that it has the names of every US soldier that died in the war, it's kind of hard to hide the cost of war.  Usually, you will see a memorial like this in a town or county and there are only a few names from that locality.  You never see the total cost.
 The highly reflective surface makes you feel like you are a part of the memorial.  I think that is the point because it shows that you could be on here as well.  I think that is one of the reasons why many of the Vietnam Veterans connect with this memorial.
 Another shot of the memorial.
 Every so often, new names are added as they find more remains.
 I would have to say that the shape is very symbolic of the water.  It starts out small and grows and then starts to taper off again.  That's how our involvement in the War was.
 I got back to my car and I was going to try to go to the other side.  Somehow I ended up at Arlington and I decided to head back.  I will have to try this view again some day.
 Sadly, there were a ton of people and at this point I was frustrated and just wanted to start on my trek home.
However, I did get one picture of the Washington Memorial with cherry blossoms around it.

Even though I didn't spend a lot of time there, I did have fun.  Next year, I will have to plan this trip a little better and make sure that I have at least one full day in DC.  If I do that, I can just take the train into town and I wont have to worry about parking.

Anyway, I hope that you enjoy the pictures I did take.