An annual favorite for me is a trip to the National Botanical Garden in Washington, DC. at Christmas. Christmas is when a large garden railroad is installed. There are seven lines carrying steam, diesel and electric trains. Bridges and tunnels add lots of interest to the display. This year, the 100th anniversary of the National Park service was celebrated with many park scenes depicted.
Part of my joy with the holidays is seeing and capturing the Christmas light displays. I live in an area with many public displays such as the National Zoo, Meadowlark park, Bull Run park, the National Mall, etc. I got to visit most of these this year and have a pile of nice shots. When choosing images to post, it’s hard to single out one or two to share. The above image depicts a strawberry patch with a burst of fireworks. The image of the bears just makes me smile.
Once a year there is the opportunity to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on foot. It takes the form of a 10 K race/walk. I chose to walk with my camera. It was a perfect day for the activity i.e. sunny, mild and not much wind. I would have liked to spend more time but I (and some 20,000 others) had a time limit of 2 1/2 hours to complete the crossing. I made it in 2 hours and 52 seconds. That was a record for me – my first 10K.
A 10K race in the morning and a drive through Blackwater NWR in the afternoon. It was a perfect weather day, warm for November. Bald eagles are common at the reserve but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. This one is sitting on the former site of an osprey nest. Eagles enlarge their nest every year and it is not uncommon for eagles to steal the sticks from osprey nests. Next year when the osprey return, they will construct a new nest and the eagles will be raising their young in the newly expanded nest.
I like steam locomotives – who doesn’t. I lean more toward the non-streamlined engines, but the J-611 is mighty impressive. Last weekend, the J-611 made three excursions through the Virginia countryside. She was pulling 20 passenger cars, all fully occupied. I wanted to get some shots of her in the distance, but couldn’t decide on a location. I ended up at a crossing where the 611 roared by. She was going up grade which accounts for the extra smoke. Several crossings made for lots of whistles and bell clanging. Some fun. Some day I hope to perfect my panning skills enough to blur the wheels and rods while keeping the engine in focus.