A collage of images of the Marine Corps War Memorial covered in snow.

In my last post, I wrote a little about my semester in Washington, D.C.  Since one post can’t do it justice, I’ve decided to show you some more photos from my time in the city.

At the end of my residence in D.C., my parents and two younger brothers came to help me move out and see the sights.  I had a busy couple of days planned before I needed to move out of my townhouse, but the weather had another idea.  The night my family got in, Friday, December 18, we went out to dinner and when we left the restaurant, the ground was already covered in snow.  I’m sure you all remember hearing about the massive snow storm that hit the northeast right before Christmas – this was that storm.  Over the next two days, D.C. was dumped with 16.5 inches of snow – which allowed my family and I an almost private tour of the Capitol.  We managed to see some of the city, but for the most part, we were snowed in.  It was an incredibly memorable experience.

On the Sunday after the snow stopped, we began our trek back to Ohio.  But first, we made a pit stop at the Marine Corps War Memorial, or the Iwo Jima Memorial as many know it.  My grandfather was a Marine in the Pacific in World War II and I wanted to get some photos of the memorial to give him for Christmas.  Lucky for me, the snow-covered monument gave me some very unique shots.  Above is what the collage I gave him looked like.  I like these views of the memorial because it allows a deeper study of each aspect of the statue.  From the look my grandpa gave me, I know he enjoyed it too.

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Foggy Night Walk of D.C.

January 19, 2010

Foggy Capitol

During the my last weeks in Washington, DC, a few friends from high school and college came to visit.  On their first night in the city, I took them on a night walk of the monuments.  I lived on Capitol Hill, so the fog wasn’t as thick at my house, but as we walked down toward the Mall, it got more and more dense.  The fog was so thick down by the Washington Monument that we couldn’t see the monument until we were right across the street from it.  Even then, we couldn’t see the top.  I had never seen a night like it.  It gave an eerie feeling to the night walk and suddenly the Mall that I felt so comfortable in became an unknown world.  It was an experience I’ll never forget and I was so glad we picked that night to go out.

This photo is from that walk.  Since the Capitol Building is on the top of the Hill, the fog wasn’t quite as dense as further down the Mall, allowing me to see the entire building.  I used my GorillaPod to steady the camera and because the light was so low, I used an aperture of f-4.5.

I love how the fog gives it a blurry, faded look.  I think the lighting of the building and the fog accurately portray the feeling of that night.  I also like how the angle of the shot shows the imposing nature of the building.  I walked by the Capitol every day while I lived in D.C. so I have many great memories tied to this photograph.

Yesterday, I went to see the Ansel Adams Masterworks exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art.  The Masterworks collection is one that Adams chose himself to represent his best work.  I was blown away by his photography.  The detail and striking contrast in his images is stunning.  Accompanying many of his images were quotations from Adams about taking and developing each image.  Reading his descriptions made me miss working in the darkroom.  Adams wrote about the hours he spent developing and redeveloping each photograph until it was perfect.  Today’s digital photography provides instant gratification.  In journalism, this is a huge advantage, but it also takes away the feeling of surprise and gratification you get when working in the darkroom.  I remember how exciting it was to watch your image appear on the paper. Adams’ photography reminded me of that.

One of the photos that stood out to me was Oak Tree, Snowstorm (above).  I thought this photograph was so different than Adams’ other work.  The large amount of white in this photo makes it very unique.  The snow in this photo must have made it an extremely difficult photo to take.   Another photo of Adams’ that surprised me was Trailer Camp Children (below).  I was unaware that Adams had many images of people.  The exhibit also described Adams’ work photographing the Japanese internment camps during WWII.  It was a side of Ansel Adams that I was surprise to discover.

I was so pleased with the exhibit and was thrilled that I managed to see it before it left Columbia.  If this exhibit ever comes to a town near you, I would highly recommend it.

This is me.

January 14, 2010

Here I am hanging out with some friends in D.C.

Hi all!  My name is Sarah Langdon and I’m from Troy, Ohio.  I’m a Junior VisCom major here at the University of South Carolina.  I spent last semester in Washington, D.C. interning for National Geographic Traveler. There I, among other things, watched editors discuss photo choices.  I found it extremely helpful in improving my own photography skills.  I miss D.C. incredibly and hope to one day return, although I am glad to be back in the sunshine of South Carolina.

Outside of class, I have shot photos with my Nikon D-80 for The Daily Gamecock, Garnet and Black, and 2020 Publications in Irmo, SC.  I also created several documentary videos using Final Cut Pro for class.  Other software I have experience with includes Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and FileMaker Pro.  I also have experience using XML and HTML code.

From a young age, I was drawn to photography and the arts.  I took my first photography classes in high school, which is where I first decided I wanted to somehow turn my love of photography into a career.  I am excited for you to read my blog and can’t wait to learn something from all of you.

[Photo taken by a friend.]