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The past four days have been incredibly packed. My government class began its Thanksgiving Break early, taking a field trip to Washington, DC. We took two college tours; visited two Smithsonian museums; toured the White House, Capitol, and Library of Congress, watched the changing of the guard at Arlington; and saw at least 9 monuments. Probably needless to say, we’re exhausted. Now that we’re on the bus home, most people are sleeping soundly.

As far as DC itself goes, nothing really extraordinary happened on this trip. What made it an experience for me was that it was the first trip I’ve taken since I truly started thinking about photographs. Accidentally deleting all my pictures of Shanghai back in July has made me carefully consider more of the pictures that I take; I’m always worried about living through a camera lens. Visitors to new places are often so concerned with capuring every moment that they forget to LIVE the moments. They take the wide-angle, Google Images photos of famous, impressive sites and forget to seek out the details – forget to read the inscriptions, to look around the back, to get closer and then farther away, to see how the scenery can be included in the frame. It just seems kind of silly to me that whenever we go someplace, we become essentially human Mars rovers: visiting without exploring; looking without seeing; being without experiencing; taking pictures to prove that we were there, but, when we return, not really KNOWING where we were. Walk a little slower. Take a different path. Stand on stuff. Sit down… or even lay down. If you have to take a picture, zoom in. Change the color, the focus, the angle. Photos that everyone has seen before don’t tell any stories. Family and friends will want to know about YOUR trip; don’t make it generic.

And now it’s time to nap. 🙂

-伊芬
P.S. Good luck to all NSLI-Y applicants waiting for semi-finalist notifications!

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