Hive

Earlier this week, on Wednesday night, July 12, 2017, I was allowed early access to Studio Gang and the National Building Museum’s summer spectacle, Hive. You should definitely put this on your summer bucket list and see what the buzz is all about.

In the summer of recent years, the National Building Museum has brought some sort of spectacle to DC and this year looks to be no exception. An enormous installation by Studio Gang, Hive  is “composed of more than 3,000 wound paper tubes, a construction material that is recyclable, lightweight, and renewable. The tubes vary in size from several inches to 10 feet high and will be interlocked to create three dynamic interconnected, domed chambers. Reaching 60 feet tall, the installation’s tallest dome features an oculus over 10 feet in diameter. The tubes feature a reflective silver exterior and vivid magenta interior, creating a spectacular visual contrast with the Museum’s historic nineteenth-century interior and colossal Corinthian columns.
The form of Hive references familiar structures such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Brunelleschi’s Dome at the Florence Cathedral in Italy, and vernacular Musgum mud huts in Cameroon, and the curvature of a spider’s web. The tall yet intimate forms allow visitors to inhabit the installation at the ground level, and experience it from the Museum’s upper-floor balconies, providing a variety of exciting perspectives.” – nbm website.
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Hive runs through September 4, 2017. Visit the National Building Museum website for information about Hive-related activities for all ages, including Late Nights, Ward Days, unique experiences with local creatives, concerts, and lectures.
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ARTECHOUSE

Certain art cannot be described; it must be seen and experienced.

This is the concept behind the newly opened art space ARTECHOUSE in Washington, DC. ARTECHOUSE opened June 1st with its first exhibit “XYZT: Abstract Landscapes”. On June 21, 2017 I went with the photowalking community Walk With Locals, and it was an amazing experience.

ARTECHOUSE is located in Southwest DC close to the L’Enfant and Smithsonian metro stations and steps to the National Mall.

When we walked in we were greeted by one of the docents who talked briefly about the exhibit and then we were shown inside. I have heard friends and others describe it as a digital playground and that is the best way I can think of to describe it. The exhibit is an immersive sensory art exhibition created by Adrien M. and Claire B. Composed of 10 interactive and immersive digital installations, the exhibit is a virtual playground of technology and light. Images are projected onto walls, the floors, onto screens, in aquariums, and all of them can be manipulated with the touch of a hand or foot, movement, or sound.

Why is it called XYZT? The letters X, Y, Z and T in the title are meant to represent each of the four dimensions: X (horizontal), Y (vertical), Z (depth), and T (time).

I am already planning my next visit!

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XYZT: Abstract Landscapes runs through September 3, 2017.

Tickets are available on the ARTECHOUSE website.

How to Improve Your Black and White Photography

On June 14, 2017 I attended a Photography Meetup with the Montgomery County Photographers Meetup Group. The meetup was hosted and organized by Lester Picker.

Picker started off the evening talking about why even bothering with black and white photography. He mentioned the historical case for it — it started a long time ago. However, it wasn’t really until the Civil War photographer Matthew Brady that it took off and became popular. Then, he mentioned several pioneers in black and white photography. Those pioneers included Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, and Ansel Adams.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams

Picker then mentioned some of the modern masters of black and white photography. Those include Sebastio Salgado, Nick Brandt, and Patrick Demarchelier.

Picker also talked about color as a distraction, abstraction in black and white images, how black and white photography reveals the soul, and how black and white images are evocative.

Finally, he gave some tips:

  • Immerse yourself (read, go to exhibits)
  • Practice shooting in black and white
  • Practice looking at the light
  • Go way too far; have fun
  • Make “Test Prints”

 

Glen Echo Park – Atop

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Yesterday I went to Glen Echo Park with a photography meetup group that I belong to. Glen Echo Park, located not far from Washington, DC, in Glen Echo, MD, was first developed in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly, “to promote liberal and practical education.” The Chautauqua lasted for just one season, and by the early 1900s, the site had become Glen Echo Amusement Park — the premier amusement park serving the Washington area until 1968 when it closed. These days the site hosts arts programs, but many of the art deco amusement park structures are still in place.

While I was exploring the grounds I found a spot where I could walk up a ramp to a roof and take a picture.

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Cherry Blossom Time in DC

Photographers, charge your batteries, clear your memory cards, and get out your tripods! The cherry blossoms are nearing peak bloom along the tidal basin in Washington, D.C. and I know you’re just itching to get that perfect shot, just like I am.

The National Park Service has announced the peak bloom date and has projected peak bloom, when 70 percent of Yoshino cherry blossoms are open to be March 19-22, 2017. 

This year’s Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 15 through April 16, 2017. With amazing bursts of pink and white the cherry blossom trees create a dazzling array of color.

Over the next few weeks, more than a million visitors will flock to the nation’s capital to see the city’s famous cherry blossoms and take photos of them. With the tidal basin being so crowded, how does one get that perfect shot without several dozen people in the frame?

Here are some of the lessons I learned from going last year:

  1. Get to the tidal basin early, at dawn, or late, near sunset, to avoid the crowds and get the best light. This cannot be stressed enough.
  2. Go on a weekday. Weekdays are your best bet, as the Tidal Basin is swarming with people on the weekends. This also cannot be stressed enough.
  3. Bring a tripod. Photographing at dawn or sunset makes for beautiful light, but requires slower shutter speeds.To reduce camera shake and allow for longer exposures, be sure to bring a tripod or a monopod.
  4. Go beyond the basin. If you want to avoid the crowds, there are plenty of cherry blossoms at the National Arboretum and the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. You can even go to the National Cathedral. Additionally, visiting the cherry trees in the Bethesda neighborhood of Kenwood is another alternative to the crowds on the tidal basin.

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August is Fair Time

August may mean still sweltering temperatures and the approach of the end of summer, but it also means time for the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. A multitude of food vendors, lots of carnival rides, animals, home arts, arts and crafts exhibits, and assorted livestock shows make this event one of the outstanding affairs of August. The fair runs now through August 20th.

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