There are a few images I use for the header that are chosen randomly on each page load. I don’t remember where I originally picked up the 1906 picture of the US Capital (probably the site of the National Archives). The other images were the result of a once-in-a-lifetime trip I made to Washington DC. I’m certainly not a classically-trained Photographer, but I really like these shots. I ran each of the images through Photoshop to achieve the sepia appearance seen in the header.
The Tidal Basin is a partially man-made inlet adjacent to the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It is part of West Potomac Park and is surrounded by the Jefferson Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. The basin covers an area of about 107 acres and is 10 feet deep. This image is the largest of all the panorama photos I stitched together, incorporating (if I remember correctly) 26 individual shots.
It’s hard to believe that George Washington’s home was so dilapidated in the early 19th century that it was falling in on itself. A small group of women solicited Federal, Virginian, and local governments over the course of several years begging them to purchase and preserve this property. The small group adopted a battle cry when no one was interested: “If the men of Virginia aren’t going to save this home, the women will.” Thus was born the Mount Vernon Ladies Association who, to this day, manage the preservation and tourism of one of the country’s most revered properties. Over one million people pass through the doors of Mount Vernon every year. I spent about 3 hours here and only got to see half of the property. The Washingtons’ tomb (both Mary and George) is here as well. As with all Panorama photo stitching, lens distortion, if left uncorrected, is an issue. Evidence of this effect can be seen in the chain fence just left of center.
US Capital Building
In spring 1792, Thomas Jefferson proposed a design competition to solicit designs for the Capitol and the President’s House, and set a four-month deadline. The prize for the competition was $500 and a lot in the federal city. At least ten individuals submitted designs for the Capitol; however the drawings were regarded as crude and amateurish, reflecting the level of architectural skill present in the United States at the time. A late entry by amateur architect William Thornton was submitted on January 31, 1793, to much praise for its “Grandeur, Simplicity, and Beauty” by Washington, along with praise from Jefferson. Thornton was inspired by the east front of the Louvre, as well as the Paris Pantheon for the center portion of the design. This photo is a fantastic “snapshot in time”, both figuratively and literally. If you zoom in on the full-size version, you can see a few people walking near the massive stairs as well as horse-drawn carriages and what looks like a “horseless carriage” to the right.