The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

hovered about

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Friday

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Washington D.C. was hot and overcast when I visited. I was in town for a rail layover, the interval between NYC and my next destination, and I had about five hours of photo time to “do my thing.” As mentioned yesterday, I had “stock shots” in mind. Saying that, I also had “serendipity” figured in. What that means are unplanned shots that just jump up and say “take a picture.”

Things were starting to go south for me physically due to sleep deprivation, hunger, and thirst. There was literally no place to pee other than directly on National Monuments, which really isn’t an option for me since “respect.” Luckily, I was thirsty and sweating so profusely that having to pee stopped being a problem about two hours into the excursion.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The World War 2 monument in Washington D.C. hosts a fine fountain. As mentioned yesterday, for some reason or another I was very interested in photos of fountains on this particular morning. Maybe it was the thirst.

Maybe it was that I was able to stand in the shade while taking this shot. It was HOT, I tell you, HOT! Seriously, I left NYC where it had been about 65 degrees and stepped into an 87 degree Washington D.C. super humid/sun on my back morning while I’m carrying 25-30 pounds of back packs kind of deal. Uggh. I had three bags, two camera and one full of travel luggage stuff – clothes, toiletries, all that.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One continued slouching roughly towards the Potomac River and across the Federal Mall after spending some time with the WW2 monument’s fountain. This monument is a fairly recent addition to the scene hereabouts, having been created in 2004.

Jeez. The last time I was in Washington was probably thirty five years ago. I needed a shot of Congress as reference for a comic book I was drawing, and drove through with a Kodak disposable camera on my way home from a comic convention in Virginia. This particular comic, which I also wrote, centered on an invasion of Washington by a group of Aztec supervillains (they had been hiding since 1520 in Venezuela and plotting their revenge on the Europeans under the tutelage of an immortal Wizard) which was countered by an army led by an American Battle Android which ended up housing the mind of President George H.W. Bush after the Aztecs speared him one through the chest.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The physical suffering was getting pretty awful by this point, and I had descended into bargaining with myself. One more shot dude, just one more.

It’s hard to describe the weird physicality side of photography, which can often involve being on your feet for 8-12 hours at a pop. I’m always outside, whether it’s hot or cold, raining or during snow. You end up squishing yourself into all of these uncomfortable yoga poses to get behind the camera to catch some uncommon angle, or spend all your time doing calisthenics while dropping to one knee for the shot. There’s also the carrying of the gear. That camera is always in my hand. Even if I’m not shooting, I’m ready to do so.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I liked the shot of the fountain at the Museum of the American Indian presented in yesterday’s post best, as my “shot of the day.” The runner up is the one above, depicting the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool. It was shortly after finishing up this one that I broke down the tripod and returned to hand held shooting mode.

This is also when I spotted – after something like three hours – an open shop selling refreshments. I inhaled an entire bottle of yellow Gatorade in two big gulps, sucked about two pints of water out of a bottle in three gulps, and also managed to score a large cup of steaming hot black coffee. As far as needing to urinate, let’s just say that where I found myself had very few national monuments and lots of bushes. Sorted!

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the bank of the Potomac River, you encounter the Arlington Memorial Bridge leading out of the Federal District and into Virginia. As the name implies, this bridge leads the Arlington National Cemetery. Despite its appearance, this is a fairly modern structure, having been built in 1932.

My time had run out, as far as the allotted period for this leg of my trip. A quick ride share trip took me to the Georgetown section of the greater Washington metro area, where a reunion with an old and dear friend occurred over a luncheon. I guzzled water, and a Bloody Mary, while we quaffed cheeseburgers and talked about Amtrak, Washington, and also caught up on where our lives were going. He eventually offered to give me a quick automotive tour of the surrounding area, with the proviso that I needed to return to Union Station for my assignation with Amtrak.

More next week, at your traveling Pentacle.


“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

October 15, 2021 at 11:00 am

Posted in Photowalks

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  1. […] Capitol in swelled alarmingly, arrived at the National Mall and explored a bit in slackened speed, hovered about, whereupon a look at Union Station was offered in rolling […]


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