Painted Desert Inn

While the Painted Desert Inn at the Petrified Forest National Park is closed due to COVID during the time of this writing, the external views of the building do not disappoint. The original building was erected almost 100 years ago as the “Stone Tree House” with the walls made of petrified wood and local stone.

The inn was rearchitected and made into the current adobe style of today in the 1930s through the hard work of men employed by the  Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Blue Ridge Parkway Views

I like to take the slower path, where possible, so I can take get some photos of interesting sites. The trips are always fun and never the same. This time, I took route 40 across most of the way coming back from the West Coast and I visited many new places along the route. One of my favorite sites, however, is very close to home – the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I was close enough to the Blue Ridge Parkway by the time I made it far enough east and picked up route 81. Eventually I headed east along some country roads just outside or Roanoke, VA only to find the Parkway was closed as soon as I entered.

Finally, I picked up the Parkway just above Lynchburg, VA and immediately was struck by its beauty. There are many places to stop and to enjoy nature and some places to observe man’s desire to control it.

Farm fields run adjacent to the Parkway for many miles. It’s nice to get an up close view of an American way of life that is most gone, but visible in certain places like here.

The Parkway is well known for the blueish views of the cascading Appalachian Mountains as you see the hills folding over in the distance.

But I also enjoy the little farm buildings and typical early American homes along the route too.

Modern Day Tysons Corner

Tysons Corner has changed a lot in the last 20 years since I moved to Northern Virginia. Tysons has transformed from an overgrown office park into a small city with as many residential buildings as offices now.

Tysons has become quite pedestrian friendly
The residences from another era have very different architecture from the high rises being built today in Tysons
Tysons Corner has always been a wealthy area, more or less. This little red Ranger Rover is being prepared for delivery to some happy customer on this morning in March 2021.

New construction is everywhere you look all over the area.

The new buildings are magnificent
The new Tysons Corner is also becoming bike-friendly as the boulevards are being scaled down to streets.

Carnival in Dolthan, AL

You see many interesting things as you travel around America. One thing that always catches my attention are the night lights of a carnival. I noticed this carnival from my hotel window when I arrived just before dark. Around 9pm I walked over to catch a few of the shots that I share here.

Fun in Motion
Fun at Rest

Colorful Lights

I was sitting at a traffic light when I noticed the variety of colors ahead. I keep my camera set on manual infinite focus so I can catch what I see quickly, but for this shot I adjust the focus way down to create the blur. It is just what I saw in my mind when I saw these lights and I had to try to make the camera see what my mind was seeing.

This view was spontaneous and I would not have captured these colorful lights had I not been ready. This is why I always carry my camera.

Black and White

I always use my photos for business presentations and a recently created one called for black and white images. I’ll share some here.

I think everyone appreciates the natural beauty of a rocky central California Beach.
Subway between terminals at Washington International Airport
I’ve taken so many photos that sometimes I forget where a particular shot is from. I think this might be Chicago.
Some places are un mistakable such as the sprawl of Los Angeles.
The U.S. Capital on a stormy afternoon also strikes a well known silhouette.
The grandeur of the Federal buildings in Washington D.C. is always noteworthy to me.
Few cities in the USA have architecture as amazing as Los Angeles.
The modernist architecture of IAD seems out of place in conservative Northern Virginia.
This fairly atypical building in D.C. caught my eye due these odd decorations on the columns.
Sometimes the photos almost compose themselves such as this photo I took from the back of an Uber heading into Chicago.
One of the few buildings in good shape in the slowing dying town of Death Valley Junction.
A deserted McCormick Convention Center has an entirely different sort of emptiness.
Taking a call outside a conference gives me an opportunity to see the hotel from a new angle.
Las Vegas is not so flashy when rendered in black and white.
Whimsical circus tents mask the Tysons Corner skyline.

DC Protects Against Insurrection

As of 16 January 2021, news reports are indicating over 21,000 National Guard troops are stationed throughout Washington DC to protect the U.S. Capital from further insurrection activity similar to the 6 January attack on the Capitol building that resulted in the death of 5 U.S. citizens.

Every road leading to the National Mall was blocked with no access to that area either by car or by foot. Heavy duty military vehicles and armed soldiers set the tone for all those entering DC from the bridges leading from the Virginia side of the Potomac.

When on roads outside of the no-go-zone, D.C. seemed ordinary in every other way.

However, anywhere within the vicinity of the White House, National Mall, U.S. Capitol, or other important buildings, you are always under the eyes of trained U.S. soldiers ready to protect America from the home grown MAGA terrorists.

Eyes on every vehicle passing through this choke point.

Every route approaching the heart of the U.S. Government was blocked.

Unmarked Secret Service details were everywhere as were marked cars stopping vehicles for reasons unknown to us.

With not much more to see, we left DC, missing the sights of our Nation but fully understanding why they were on lockdown given the dangerous climate in America at this time. It looks like the trash has been cleaned up ahead of the Inauguration – not a single Trump flag or MAGA hat was in sight today. America is on the path back to normal. Time to return home and enjoy the rest of the day.

Back home to Great Falls, VA, where Trump insurrectionists are in a distain minority.