Updated: Feb 20
“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” – Robert Frank
If you visit Washington DC in the Summer, it's difficult to believe the city could be anything but hot, humid, and overrun by tourists. This was what I believed until professional pursuits led me to live a few miles outside the city. As fall turned to winter during my first year in the Mid-Atlantic, the cold slowly crept in. Incredulous, I looked out my window and watched as the temperature and snow began to fall. I felt trapped. I had a 2-wheel drive car, balding tires, and no chance of getting out of the parking lot without hitting something. So, I waited.
As days passed, the temperate rose...and dipped...then rose again. There was no logic to this weather roller coaster but I had no other option but to go along for the ride. The first weekend in February (2019) presented a unique opportunity to get out of town (or at least the parking lot). With temperatures in the low 50s and roads free of ice, I embarked on a journey. A 30-mile joyride from my house to the heart of the Nation's Capital. Pulling into the city, it was immediately evident that others were more wary than I of the recent bouts of finicky weather. The streets were empty. Sidewalks too. Although humans made the occasional appearance, compared to its summer edition, DC felt like a ghost town.
After easily finding parking near the Tidal Basin paddle boats, we began to stroll around the water...or rather, ice, which was in the process of melting back into a liquid. It was quite the spectacle and it took every ounce of self control for me not to lower myself onto the ice and attempt running across to the Jefferson Memorial. I won't deny that I likely would have gone under the second I put my entire weight on the ice but to the dismay of the attending physicians at George Washington University Hospital, I would have tried.
Moving towards the Mall, things started to look a little less like I Am Legend and more like a big city hurting for seasonal tourism. While the tourists (and likely locals) were few and far between, city staples such as police, food trucks, and souvenir vendors maintained their presence. Nonetheless, things were weird. HOWEVER. Just as I was about to give up hope, we encountered an oasis full of humans in motion: an ice rink. A frozen utopia of old and young weaving around each other in blissful harmony. It felt straight out of a movie, minus Chazz Michael Michaels. Rather than drag on about the cold and the beauty of the moment, take a look at the pictures.
Camera: Minolta X-370N
Film: TMAX 100
When: February 2019
Where: Washington, DC
Jefferson Memorial, framed by trees.
Lone survivor of the brutal winter.
Humans on the rise.
National Mall in post-apocalyptic fashion.
Tonya Harding's nightmare.
Souvenirs in need of purchase.
Pick your poison.