Friday, April 30, 2010

Centreville at Night

So some of you know that a few weeks ago my bloody camera dropped off my tripod as I hefted it over my shoulder. I was incredibly upset at the time, it was as though I'd lost a limb, and it actually shocked me how much this chunk of metal and plastic means to me. Well, the wound has healed, the camera works fine, the UV filter's been replaced and I finally got round to looking at the photos and editing them.
 Setting up the camera as the light disappeared and grabbing a last shot of the sunset.
 As the colors disappeared, a beautiful cobalt blue washed the sky and the trail of a jet passing over left a streak. 
 The restaurant where we hung out. The staff was really cool about us setting up here, but then we did drink a few beers and wolf down some excellent wings. 
 Another jet passing over the restaurant. The white dots were the wing lights blinking on and off.
A jet passing by the moon.
 Red rear lights from passing cars.
It was here the camera dropped to the pavement with an audible clunk. It actually took me a couple of seconds before I could turn and look down; I was so scared of what I would see.
 This was the last image of the evening so I can only assume the camera shutter got knocked on it's way down to the tarmac. Thanh God it wasn't a swan song!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Spring Hike

Sunday was too beautiful a day to be stuck indoors. I had been shattered on Saturday but after recuperating on Saturday evening, I was raring to go so Barb and I went to the Battlefields with Arde. The sun was warm, there was a mild breeze, it was perfect hiking weather.
We saw some dogwoods in full bloom and the paths were active with insects scurrying back and forth on errands, but thankfully there weren't too many humans.
  We crossed a pretty creek where Arde took a moment to cool off.
I was ecstatic to see a clump of English bluebells sheltered underneath a tree. These are my favorite flowers and the scent is divine. The Virginian bluebells were almost finished so it was wonderful to spy this vibrant splash of blue. I felt a little homesick thinking of the carpets of bluebells that were blooming in English woods at this time.
It was lovely to see all the trees finally getting their leaves and so nice to be able to enjoy the hike without being hounded by bugs. Not much longer to enjoy that freedom!
 We passed the Stone Bridge which crosses Bull run. It was destroyed during the Battle of First Manassas on July 21, 1861, the first major land battle of the American Civil War. Some years later, a new bridge, apparently similar to the original design, was built on the site of the old bridge.
 There were so few people hiking that those who were here could enjoy some peaceful reflection, just enjoying the quiet surroundings.
We probably only covered 5 or 6 miles but it was great to be outside again and not inside a derelict building, although we have some great explorations coming up soon. This coming weekend is urbexing free for now, so nature, here I come!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Abandoned Tug in DC

On Sunday, Steve and I spent an afternoon on the water with Tim. We set off with Tony and Gene to explore an abandoned tug on the Potomac. It was a beautiful sunny day but a little blustery but we had plenty of beers and endless conversation, it was grand.
We passed this little boat which according to one guy at the marina is the woosiest boat on the water so far in 2010. We all agreed.
We were soon moored up alongside the tug and eagerly clambered aboard to explore. There wads an osprey nest up front (the bow?) of the boat and two birds circled watching us cautiously. We kept to the stern not wanting to disturb them any more than necessary.
It was evident others had previously partied aboard the tug as bottles and pizza boxes littered all rooms, but most of the rooms were in good order still and we even found the log book.
I spent a long time down in the engine room, treading carefully as the metal floor was slick with spilled oil. Gene was a walking encyclopedia and explained all parts of the machinery. I loved the brass plate here behind the wheel, the brass mouthpiece of the communication system and the can of starting fluid.
Gene having a bit of a pose on top of the boat.
 Cobwebs and cables.
 Another boat from the marina joined us and after having a nose round, we all settled down to the business of eating french bread with chunks of cheese and tomato, along with corn chips and jack cheese, all washed down with beer. The lunch of a mariner!
Tim and Tony having a chat.
 I spent some time walking around the outside of the boat grabbing shots from every angle.
Walter and his friends left on their boat taking Gene with them, leaving just four of us behind. We sat and chatted enjoying our surroundings, when we suddenly became aware of a coast guards boat heading towards us and then turning its flashing lights on. They approached rapidly and through a loud speaker told us to remain where we were. What, and not jump in the water? Duh! They came aboard and grilled us, demanding I.D. Both men were gruff towards us but eventually loosened up when they realized we were doing no harm and had taken nothing. Once we were checked out, we were told to leave and not return.I had to chuckle as I noticed Tony continued to guzzle his Miller Light throughout the whole interrogation.
They watched as we climbed back onto Tim's boat; we were relieved to be on our way. 
A photo of the main man reflecting on why the hell he hooked up with a girl that gets him into these scrapes.Get used to it, boyfriend, life's an adventure!
Tim at the tiller.
Lola, Tim's woofer was tuckered out after her big day out.
We got back to the marina before dusk and hung out on a couple of other boats until it was time to head home. After a wonderful curry cooked by Tony, Steve and I headed home. So when's our next adventure?

Friday, April 16, 2010

A DC Capitals Hockey Game

On Sunday, Steve and I went down to watch the final game of the Capitals season. A good friend of mine had given me the tickets as she would be on a cruise instead. I was very excited, having never seen an ice hockey game before. I had caps embroidered at work while Steve got us both shirts.
 I was wearing a Semin shirt and was stoked when he got the first goal. This sport was fast and furious, I loved it. Everyone was constantly getting up and then sitting back down howling along with the chants and clapping.
There was a little bit of a scuffle here! Awesome!
 Semin and Steve's player, Ovechkin, working together here. We had superb seats and I was able to get some relatively good shots of the players, although quite often by the time I'd got my camera ready, the moment had passed. They moved so fast.
Actually got a good view of the puck here; I rarely saw it during the game.
The game ended with the Caps losing in sudden death. i was totally deflated and actually couldn't take it in for a while. In one minute, the crowd had been on their feet screaming, "Unleash The Fury", and then suddenly they were quietly walking out.
The cheerleaders and mascots came onto the ice but there was little interest and people starting leaving quickly. I was still stunned that we had lost so quickly. The Caps are through to the play offs though so it wasn't such a hard loss to swallow.
To avoid getting caught up in the rush to leave, we decided to walk in the sunshine for a few blocks. Outside the National Portrait Gallery was this cowboy sculpture.
The courtyard inside was beautiful and unfortunately I have to admit, more interesting than the exhibits. This was added in 2006 during extensive renovations. The building is the 3rd oldest federal building in the city, built between 1836 and 1867.
This sweet pigeon was happy to pose for a photo and actually waited while I fiddled with the dials. We got back to an empty parking lot and left easily, happy we had avoided the crowds. Thanks Pam & Sue for a great experience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Electrical Endeavors ending with an Exploration

On Saturday, we got up super early and went with Barb to the Gaff 'n' Go Linesman's Rodeo in Doswell, VA. Barb works for NOVEC so we went to support their team while witnessing something most folks wouldn't really be aware of. Highly skilled line workers compete in various challenges, their program called them 'high flying cowboys'. For single women, this place is paradise, it's oozing with testosterone and I was amazed that more females weren't present. The rodeo also raises money for a scholarship foundation that helps deserving students from VA, MD and DE.
Here's some of the NOVEC crew, these guys were incredibly polite and charming. I loved the way they referred to my friend as 'Miss Barb'.
 These linemen are changing out a suspension insulator and are being timed as well as noted on safety procedures.
There were some very cool hard hats to be seen and many of the men had shirts as well as jackets with their trade emblazoned on fronts and backs.
Some more of the NOVEC crew watching a team member. Joe in the middle is the coach.
 Anthony deep in concentration. Those gloves protect him against thousands of volts during a work day. There was no power during the competition but safety guidelines still had to be followed.
Anthony being supported by his crew members.
This was the rescue competion where the linesman were timed on putting on all equipment, climbing the pole, retrieving & rescuing a 'man', lowering him to the ground, and then climbing down safely. The belt that Jason is wearing is called a 'buck squeeze'. When these were first introduced, the guys misheard the pronounciation and for a while called them a 'butt squeeze', which personally I think is better!
  This dude was all about his image. He saw me point my camera and immediately struck a pose. I seriously thought he was going to light a Marlboro...
Even the spectators take this seriously.
We saw this awesome Chevelle in the parking lot. Note the linesman graphic.
After leaving, we headed towards Fredericksburg to drop into the old Renaissance Festival site. We'd left it a bit late, the bullfrogs had finished courting but the ticks were rife.
We wandered about in the increasing heat but after a while, the ticks and the distant call of beer was too much so we went into town. We tried to de-tick as we got to the car, but during the journey and even in the restaurant, we were still picking them off. Eeew.
On our way out of town, we stopped at an abandonment which aptly was an old electric power station.
We weren't able to get inside so just scoured the perimeter and peered through the fence. It was getting late in the day and everybody was scratching furiously as we constantly fretted about our tick dilemma, so we were all ready to head back for home and a shower.