Washington, DC – 2013 Inauguration “On the Scene”

Apolitical is how I would describe my lack of engagement until a decade ago, when I finally registered to vote after many election cycles had passed since I was age-eligible. An invitation from a politically savvy friend to go to the inauguration provided a chance to participate in a moment of history, meet people from around the world (I was to learn after getting there), and the opportunity to capture photographic images. It proved to be a fascinating experience that will always be an important memory.

71 - Seal of President (for inauguration)

Seal: erected temporary seating for inauguration

My friend is an educator and had previously been to inaugurations, and had a friend who had been to a few before, and offered his place in Virginia where we could camp out during our stay there. It was great to be with people who knew their way around DC and learn how to navigate the wonderful Metro subway. It is an amazing transportation system to get everywhere and the people who work for Metro, especially during the inauguration with a multitude of visitors pouring in from all corners of the world are to be commended for their courtesy. I found the people in DC very giving of directions in finding places to eat, and which could be a quick route or the more scenic route depending on one’s available time.

68 - Williard Hotel - Peace of Convention

The Willard Hotel is breathtaking and worth a look inside

On inauguration day, the three of us were up and out the door at 4:45 am to get to the Metro station in Virginia and board with others who were already waiting for the 5:00 am, first train. I spoke with a woman who was from North Carolina who said she could not forgive herself if she did not travel the distance to be present for the inauguration. I loved listening to her talk with a soft Southern accent much like how my new friend in Virginia spoke. It was only one day earlier at a Sunday open market, where I heard accents from two Australians, a father and son, who we gave passes to as one of the people who was to fly out and join us came down with a horrible cold. They were pleased to have extra inauguration passes so they could get a close up view. The son had written a paper in college which won him the trip.

83 - the Aussies #2 best

Australians who knew a lot about American politics

It was quite a bit colder in DC for the Australians as this is their warm season, but was relatively mild compared to the inauguration four years before, as told to me by my friend who I traveled with this time from Portland, Oregon. We were prepared for the weather. I had gloves and wore a full length, lined, and hooded coat and was warm all day. It was hard not to be with the body heat of people who you stood by for five hours, elbow-to-elbow, shoulder-to-shoulder from Atlanta, Georgia and KU in Lawrence, Kansas. The ground where we stood had bark on it and we tromped down grooves for each foot. No beverages were allowed, not even water, but I was glad I brought a Clif® Bar and a couple of ounces of dried fruit.

98 - no drinks allowed

All drinks left behind

The section where we got passes was just behind the railing and just behind the seating. We had a view of the red arch where each of the speakers and singers presented their part of the event. There are a lot of pictures that will show the inauguration in its glory, but mine show people in the scene, and the close proximity where ordinary individuals could position themselves to view the happenings.  Nobody, not even a nearby ten year old, complained about anything. The exception was about a guy who had climbed up in a tree with a sign that supported his position on a divisive issue and ranted about it during the entire program. He was so high up in the branches that a ladder brought by officials and propped against the tree could not reach him. He was arrested at the end of the inauguration when he descended his perch.

92 - view of Obama on screen #1 best

Camera stretched to screen to capture Obama speaking

Many people had stood in line starting at 4:30 am that morning to get an advantageous viewing position even though we were not let in to the security areas until 7 am. It was there I downed my half bottle of water, had my purse and camera checked, and merged with the crowd while trying to keep my friends in sight. The people moved quickly but did not push and shove. It was just as amazing how considerate everyone was when it was over and we moved again as a wall of people to exit the crowded grounds.

106 - crowd shot #8 best

Amazing spirit after the inspiring speeches and music ended

The days before, during, and after the inauguration will remain a part of my history as an American who came reluctantly to a point of involvement and am glad I made the decision to do so. It is my hope that what I have written and the images I share will be a source of inspiration to motivate the reader to get involved in the process because without each of you – how can we have hope for the future? The next four years as President Obama and the lovely Michelle Obama work to make the desired improvements here will be appreciated by all who took the time to vote and contribute to the democratic process.

101  - crowd shot #3 best

The young people are the next generation decision makers

69 - street scene - the Button Man

The button man — one button $3 including picture

You can reproduce the photographs with a notation of my name. D.L. Livingston


Forest and Waterfalls

Forest and Waterfalls – a Natural Delight

Diva Livingston

November 30, 2012

The palest of winter skies reflected soothingly in her eyes and the woman’s introspective gaze altered as she stepped from the fertile forest into a clearing to continue on a well-worn foot path with its puddles and high ground littered with gravel. The northwest sky typical at this time of year was gray and heavy with clouds that moved ever so slightly. A breeze felt miles below caused the physically fit woman to look up in the event it darkened with the advance of rain. The pensive mood which occupied her wandering senses while among the magnificent trees changed to keen observation upon entering a meadow with its grasses and shrubs. Might there be plant material to gather?  A few days ago while reading a book about floral arrangements, her interest was piqued in the discovery of a Japanese designer who used only foliage, no flowers in his arrangements. This could be a possibility in all seasons then, she sagely mused.

A favorite season of this wayfinder was spring because of the newness of life that comes forth from the earth with a variety of colors, textures and shapes, and the pungent smells of nature. It was a playful time with scurrying and leaping of lively insects and furry creatures — a time of wonder. Whenever the adventuress was  alone in the forest or in other natural environments, she was attuned toward a contemplative mood more so than what seemed to be revealed in most people. Then again, the lone hiker determined with a smile, she wasn’t like most people. Most people wouldn’t notice the shade of green in grasses that changed with the seasons or the rocks that glistened in the stream but were not so vibrant once dried and lying on a sandy bank. The “not so pretty any more rocks” made fascinating miniature Stonehenge creations where balancing the stones was a fun, idyllic activity. The woman made them when she went out on walks and noticed that adults and children made them too. There must be something magical in the pensive ritual that keep people’s interest in doing such a task. Maybe this was the key – simplicity in a multi-task, time line driven, hurry-to-the-next-thing, and far too distracted world of automatrons.

Water saved the woman from being an automatron.  The magnificent waterfalls close to the Columbia River Gorge, where she had been living only a few months, were indeed salvation to her soul. Getting to them required a more invigorating walk but was entirely worth it. It was peaceful and an enjoyable realization to be removed from bustle of the city, even with its delightful activities, she readily determined. Renewed and with a creative mindset, she advanced with her camera toward the cascading waterfalls. Voluminous water pummeled over the peaks and bounced against the ground with fierce velocity invigorating her. It was almost unbelievable and incredibly fascinating to watch. This cost-free entertainment could be enjoyed by anyone willing to take a hike. With a trained eye for photography and composition, she moved her body — bending down and climbing up, to the left or the right — peering through the lens and wiping it dry, after a few seconds, as  the water lightly sprayed her face. This was what she loved — Aliveness! A superior moment brought by an adventurous walk and an open-minded attitude toward the possibility of all seasons having something to offer to those who sought joyousness in nature.


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Diva Livingston, Photographer – Oregon, USA

Watermark (#3 image) Photoshop enhancement  by Jon  Livingston

Please ask for use permission!