Fall foliage at the Audubon Naturalist Society

Some of the most striking fall foliage in the DC area can be found at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Bethesda, MD. It’s not majestic, like the kind you find in certain spots of Rock Creek Park, or sweeping, like the kind you see in Shenandoah National Park, but it is striking, and I’ll let the photos explain the term for me.

Do you now see what I mean? Good. Let me just add that you can have a wonderful time walking around their grounds on a Saturday afternoon, especially with your loved one by your side.

Go ahead, click on the thumbnails! You’ll get a full-screen lightbox-view of each photograph, and you can scroll in-between them. It’s pretty cool!


First snowfall of 2008

As I drove home from work yesterday, a light snowfall started coming down. I took out my mobile phone and recorded this video clip. I was at the Georgetown Rd exit off I-495, in Bethesda, MD.

See this video on or SmugMug.

If I am to be accurate, I should say it’s not the first snowfall of the season, but the second. It is, however, the first I managed to capture on video. We had another brief snowfall earlier in the week, which, much like this one, melted upon contact and didn’t even wet the ground.

I see that others are getting much more snow [via], but given what they have to go through, I’ll take my little snowfall over this dangerous winter morning any day:

YouTube – Car crash in snow


I bought gas for $4.45 a gallon tonight

That’s the going price for premium gasoline (93 octane) in these parts (Bethesda, MD). Back when I advocated the use of a heavy gasoline tax three years ago, I had $4-5 per gallon in mind, but I envisioned about $2 of that to be the actual tax itself.

What we’ve got now is a puny 14 cent tax on $4.45 per gallon. I suppose we’ve got our current administration to thank for this fine pickle. Weren’t we supposed to get cheaper oil from Iraq once we invaded liberated them? At least that’s what was sold to us as part of the rationale…

Thank goodness my commute is fairly short. And even though the price for gas is high and will likely get higher over this summer, at least it will encourage certain productive behaviors on the part of some people, not to mention that it will also spur more research into alternative fuels or transportation methods.

If you’ve got another couple of minutes, this guide to efficient energy use I put together back in 2004 is relevant to our situation.


Photos from the Bethesda photowalk

On 2/9 at 2 PM, Ligia and I attended the Bethesda photowalk, an event organized by Mark Anderson. It was our first group photowalk — up till now, I took photos by myself and only Ligia accompanied me. The only other similar event I ever attended was the Alexandria photowalk last year, organized by Keith McCammon. I felt much more comfortable there, mainly because there was only one other person in attendance besides Ligia and me: Keith.

I discovered, or rather remembered certain things during the Bethesda photowalk:

  • I don’t like group events. I tend to feel alone and isolated in large groups and feel the need to draw apart and be by myself.
  • I don’t like shaking hands with people when I can’t wash afterwards. This is part of my obsessive-compulsive personality. Even more so, I don’t like shaking hands with people when I’m using my camera and I can’t wash my hands because there’s no bathroom nearby. It’s because I feel their hand germs on my my hand and on the camera, and I can’t concentrate on taking photos. I know it’s odd and probably wrong, but that’s what it is and I have to cope with it.
  • Taking photos in large groups is pretty weird for me. It’s not my bag. I end up feeling like a paparazzi, and that’s not what I got into photography to do. It also breaks my concentration to have all those snapping cameras around me and I don’t end up taking good photos.

None of this has anything to do with the event itself or with the people who attended. The event was a trigger that helped me realize certain things. Everyone was nice, Mark did a great job of organizing the event and mapping out the route, and if only I could enjoy myself, there were plenty of opportunities. But, like I said, large group photowalks aren’t my bag.

Overall, I’m grateful for the photowalk. It got me out of the house and taking photos, and that’s always a good thing. Let’s call this my Week 8 submission for the 2008 Community Challenge.