The National Cathedral, Washington DC

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Our honeymoon was winding down; our last major stop would be The National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The night before we arrived, I plotted our path into the city to maximize our coverage in a short period. Our first stop would be the small cafe just outside the entrance.

First impression; Amazing.

I have been through most of the cathedrals and major churches in Rome, and they were absolutely beautiful but nothing prepared me for the scope and size of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. We were lucky, the weather was perfect, a little warm and sunny, we were delighted to be here. Washington National Cathedral-1

Each tiny little alcove was just one more place to lose yourself in the art and history, as the overwhelming beauty washes over you, just standing there in awe of your surroundings. That’s how I felt as I walked through the main Sanctuary and noticed how this one space was so beautifully illuminated.

Washington National Cathedral-3 Washington National Cathedral-6Going Deeper

At first, I felt like all I could see was “the big picture” wanting to capture the grandeur of the environment and realized I was overwhelmed. Three hours later, I found my interest moving to the tiny little sections of the architecture, where the nuanced creativity and the stone cutter’s craftsmanship of this American landmark shines through.

The hidden angles and intersections of the sweeping columns and flourishes begged to be discovered as I carefully moved, sometimes inches at a time, to discover the delicate balance in the ebb and flow of stone rivers and canyons.

 

Every detail was like a perfect symphony of shapes and textures, while the natural color of the stone glows with the accents of the interior lighting, tastefully done.Washington National Cathedral-5

What Ghosts Wander Here?

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Unlike the classic churches in England, this place was fully accessible. The crowd was minimal, yet visitors moving around freely, enjoying the property. There were levels below the main sanctuary and upper levels too. If you love the majesty and grandeur of artesian marble and local granite from the State of Maine, hewn by masters who produce heavenly structure and flow from tons of raw stone, then you will NOT MISS the upper level with sweeping views of the city.

But for those with a tripod, there’s a wealth of imagery possible everywhere you look. The workmanship was flawless while the ancient influence carefully preserved.

How Old Is This Place?

In 1791, President George Washington spoke of his vision for what Washington DC would become. A Century later, Congress granted a charter allowing the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation to come into existence. But it wasn’t until 1907 that the very first stone was laid as the beginning of the foundation. Then, throughout the years from 1912 through 1969 that the body if the main building was erected and enhanced. Later, in 1990, the west towers were completed marking the end of 83 years of construction.

Today as I stand in awe witnessing one of the beautiful spiritual monuments I’ve ever witnessed, nothing is missing, the National Cathedral is now complete, down to the lovely little restaurant in the parking lot that started this glorious afternoon for my new bride and I. Today, we discovered one of the true jewels of the city and until we arrived, I had no idea just how intriguing and beautiful this experience could be.

The Photography:

If you follow my posts, you know that I switched from Canon to Sony about a year ago. I love the amazing low light ability of the Sony A7rII to see in the dark with over 40 megapixels to define my vision. I also love the amazing Sony lenses, which let me travel with just two; The Sony FE 16-35 and the Sony FE 24-240 zoom. With those two lenses, I have everything I need. And that’s all I had with me when in this magnificent hall. My own system includes the classic but reliable Gitzo Traveler which I have possessed since the mid-1980’s and has delivered flawless service in a myriad of conditions, temperatures and time zones.

The Grand Finale

Did I mention that it was just 2:00 pm when we were packing up to leave? Much more was in store for us, and we make our way through the more famous tourist spots and landmarks in the National Capital of the USA.

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