Photowalk: Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood

The neighborhood is replete with beautiful 19th century brickwork, some of it quite fanciful. Check out these fish scaled slates. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

The neighborhood is replete with beautiful 19th century brickwork, some of it quite fanciful. Check out these fish scaled slates. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

I had the chance to spend a few days in Washington, D. C. recently, up in the historic neighborhood east of the U.S. Capitol that’s known as Capitol Hill. I’ve always heard ‘Capitol Hill’ and thought about Congress and politics and all of the usual goings-on associated with what passes for government these days in our partisan national seat of government, but this is diferent. It’s about two square miles, the oldest residential neighborhood in the city and home to about 35,000 people. It’s also beautiful and vibrant. I decided to make a photowalk one weekend morning through the area.

This time I decided to just take one camera and one lens—but which lens? It’s always a touch choice when you don’t know in advance what you’ll encounter. So why not bring a whole bag of equipment? Because then it turns into something else entirely: no longer a quiet and contemplative stroll, but now full of focal lengths and lens changings and WAY too much photo/technical jargon jangling around in my head. I wanted to keep it simple technically because then I knew my thinking and enjoyment could stay simple. I put on my Canon 50mm macro and headed out the door.

Capitol Hill is the most urban of neighborhoods but it's full of gardeners! Every bit of ground is used. Here day lilies grow along an old wrought iron fence. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Capitol Hill is the most urban of neighborhoods but it's full of gardeners! Every bit of ground is used. Here day lilies grow along an old wrought iron fence. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

The neighborhood is full of wonderful old brick apartments and townhouses, most from the mid to late 19th century. It’s also full of gardeners! It seems most patches of ground have something interesting growing in them, whether flowers or vegetables or herbs. Many people had taken the bit of ground between the sidewalk and street in front of their homes and turned it into garden space.

Eastern Market booths, Washington, D.C. Working with just  one lens forces you into a 'box' which is also liberating in a strange way: you play the photographic hand you've dealt yourself. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Eastern Market booths, Washington, D.C. Working with just one lens forces you into a 'box' which is also liberating in a strange way: you play the photographic hand you've dealt yourself. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

My general walking destination was the Eastern Market, D.C.’s oldest fresh food market (opened in 1873). On the weekends it’s transformed into a venue that sells handmade furniture, fresh organic vegetables and beautiful artisan jewelry. There are dozens of tents set up to supplement the regular vendors in the Market’s main building.  It’s alive with crafts and art and the delicious smells of a bunch of different ethic cuisines, all made to order as you wait. And a great place for photowalking!

Two hats over breakfast, Capitol Hill restaurant. I loved the shimmer of the hats through the plastic. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Two hats over breakfast, Capitol Hill restaurant. I loved the shimmer of the hats through the plastic. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Roof detail, Eastern Market, Washington D.C. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Roof detail, Eastern Market, Washington D.C. (Copyright 2012 / Andrew Boyd)

Hi, I’m Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. The Discerning Photographer, and I hope this post has been interesting and informative. Please leave me a comment about it, let me know what you’d like to see more of on the site! You can also sign up for email delivery of all future articles or my RSS feed. Or subscribe to our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. Thanks!–DiscerningPhotog

Posted in: Gallery

About the Author:

Photographer, videographer and photo editor. Host and creator of The Discerning Photographer web site. Currently a Canon shooter.

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