From The Southwest Lawn

The United States Capitol building…another favorite of my week in D.C.  This building (along with most others in this town) is huge!  Dad, Eric and I took the tour inside…it’s sad how bad security checks are getting these days.  They weren’t allowing people to bring in empty Nalgene bottles.  We saw one guy leave his sitting in a trashcan in hopes of getting it back when he finished looking around inside.  Anyway, after having the second most ridiculous security check of the week (the most ridiculous being at the Library of Congress), I must say the tour was nice…but, a bit too fast-paced though to really enjoy and take in such obvious grandeur.

The Capitol Rotunda was by far the coolest part of the tour.  There is a large fresco beneath the top of the dome called The Apotheosis of Washington painted by Constantino Brumidi, who basically hung upside-down almost 180 feet in the air for 11 months in order to finish it.  In it, George Washington is seen surrounded by 13 maidens in an inner ring with many Greek and Roman gods and goddesses below him in a second ring.  The frieze is located around the inside of the base of the dome and is a chronological, pictorial history of the United States; beginning with the landing of Christopher Columbus to the Wright Brothers’s flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The frieze was started in 1878 and was not completed until 1953.  The frieze was started in 1878 and was not completed until 1953.  It was therefore painted by four different artists: Brumidi, Filippo Costaggini, Charles Ayer Whipple, and Allyn Cox.

Another fun fact:  The Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol dome is made of bronze and stands 19½ feet tall and weighs somewhere around 15,000 pounds.  Her crest peaks at 288 feet above the east front plaza of the building.  She’s a female allegorical figure whose right hand holds the hilt of a sheathed sword while a laurel wreath of victory and the Shield of the United States are clasped in her left hand.  The heraldic shield is the same as in the Great Seal of the United States, with thirteen stripes, except that the chief has stars (again, thirteen). Her chiton is secured by a brooch inscribed “U.S.” and is partially covered by a heavy, Indian-style fringed blanket thrown over her left shoulder. She symbolically faces east towards the main entrance of the building which means that incidentally, the sun never sets on the face of Freedom. She wears a military helmet adorned with stars and an eagle’s head which is itself crowned by an umbrella-like crest of feathers. Freedom stands atop a cast-iron globe encircled with one of the national mottoes, E pluribus unum.

  • Camera: Nikon D90
  • Lens: Nikon 18-55mm
  • Focal Length: 29mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Bracketing: 3 exposures with EVs ranging from -2 to +2 at 2 stop intervals
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Shutter: 1/200s
  • Aperture: f/11
  • Tripod Sunpak 6200DX

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