Yesterday my sister and I visited the beautiful Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in northeast DC for a photo class. Even though we got there at 6:45am to get the best light, the air still felt like a wet diaper.
Thanks to doing so much summer gardening these past few years, I think I’ve built up a tolerance to working outside in the heat. However, yesterday’s high humidity combined with temps of 105 degrees (heat index=666 degrees!) made this excursion somewhat taxing. It was sort of amusing to watch my fellow photographers try to concentrate on the instructor’s suggestions about aperature and film speed as they stood there pretending they weren’t excreting 5 quarts of sweat every minute.
But besides the brutal heat, it was a great outing! The lotus are just coming into their full glory, and there are many other beautiful plants to enjoy (other water lilies, hibiscus, buttonbush, baldcypress, etc.) The place teems with insects, too, and since there are dragonflies and carnivorous plants all around, the mosquito population is kept in check. I brought bug spray but didn’t need it.
Even though Kenilworth is most famous for its water lilies, it is actually the park’s overall layout that I enjoy most. Its matrix of ponds connected by grassy paths and dotted with the occasional swampy looking willow or cypress is very appealing to me. I imagine being 10 and playing games of hide and seek among those paths and ponds on a summer twilight. Crouching down behind clumps of cattails or creeping along behind stands of marsh grass, the air awash in insect hum. How sweet would that be? I think, in addition to opening the park early for photo classes, the NPS should open it for games of Hide and Seek.
(Remind me to post sometime about a real memory — an epic game of hide and seek with my brother and sister at a practically deserted US Botanical Gardens during a thunderstorm when I was about 6.)
Anyway, here are a few more pictures I took yesterday. I think they came out well, considering that I am still at the level where I had to ask the instructor how to put my camera back in Manual mode. (Embarrassing!) All the photos are handheld with a “regular” lens.