Well, the last ones we likely will post ’til the next Tulip Frenzy! Don’t worry, we have Azalea Frenzies, and Rose Frenzies, and other delights of the season yet to come. Leica M, 50mm Noctilux, ND Filter, Dumbarton Oaks, of course.
Archive for Dumbarton Oaks
Leica Monochrom, 50mm Noctilux, ND Filter
A few weeks back, we expressed great interest in Bill Clinton’s essay on Dumbarton Oaks, included in Catie Marron’s book, City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts. Having now bought the book, it is a lovely read, with writers ranging from Jan Morris (Giardino Pubblico, Trieste) to John Banville (Iveagh Gardens, Dublin), from Sir Norman Foster (Grosse Tiegarten, Berlin) to Pico Iyer (Maruyama Koen, Kyoto). The short essay by Bill Clinton on our favorite local urban oasis, Dumbarton Oaks, which is a short distance from our home, is wonderful.
Interestingly, the photographer Oberton Gili illustrates the book with images from each of the gardens, and in this we were disappointed. He must only have had a single day to photograph Dumbarton Oaks, because it is so much more mysterious, beguiling, quirky, and enigmatic than the photos let on. We say this not simply because we have made a long, photographic study of it, but because as a regular visitor, we were frustrated by how it is depicted. Perhaps fans of the Presidio, or Park Guell will say the same thing about their favorite parks. To us, though, we bought the book for the writing, and on that basis, it’s worth buying.
All photos Leica Monochrom.
If we had to choose a single favorite urban oasis in the world, we would take Washington’s Dumbarton Oaks. We have photographed it, and written about it, many times.
There is a magic to this estate at the top of Georgetown, especially on a hot day in a city that was built on a swamp.
A walk through its large interior is a wonderful place to collect one’s thoughts, to be away from the call of the bustling city.
It has certain magical features that one wouldn’t ordinarily expect to be able to visit in a public, urban garden.
We know there are great parks in Paris and London — in all cities, surely. But measure for measure, we’ll take Dumbarton Oaks.
Which is why it was such a delightful surprise yesterday to read in the New York Times Magazine that Bill Clinton has added an essay to City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts,
in which he offers his thoughts on a favorite park. Yes, Dumbarton Oaks. The book is out tomorrow.
All pictures Leica M and Noctilux wide open with an ND filter. Raw conversion in LR4, sharpening in Nik Sharpener Pro 3, and then some fooling around in either Viveza or Color Efex Pro 4. As always, click on the photos, especially if you are reading this on an iPad with Retina Display, to get the fullest sense of the image.
It has been our experience that if you want to find the tulips in frenzy, you need to head to Dumbarton Oaks. Now some may remember that we love Dumbarton Oaks in the autumn for the way it can can be rendered in black and white, as we did last fall with the Leica Monochrom. But if you really want to find the tulips at their most colorful, especially in what seems to be a bit of an off year, you have to go to the Oaks…
We found them in full riot, though importantly, only in those portions of the garden that got lots of sunlight.
Where they were bright, they were very, very bright. And we found ourselves drawn to the cooler parts of the garden, which are just now coming alive.
Leica Monochrom, 35mm Summilux FLE, ISO 3200, f/11, 1/350th of a second, at sunset, October 10/23/2012
Let us all agree that Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city. With monuments and vistas along the Mall, tucked as it is in a bend on the river, it is arguably the United States’ most beautiful city. For me, the most beautiful corner in our small but lovely metropolis is the Dumbarton Oaks estate, which sits on the hill above Georgetown. Wending over hills and valleys across 57 acres, approximately half of that deeded to Rock Creek Park, but with a sizable portion still part of the original 1701 estate, it is a genuine urban oasis. On a hot summer day, or a lovely autumn afternoon, it is a glorious spot to walk around, with follies and mysteries tucked into the gardens. Since late August, when we received our Leica Monochrom, we’ve wandered the hills and gardens, camera in hand.
For a collection of images taken in the most beautiful spot in D.C., click here.