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Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 84

On Tuesday, we posted our eighty-fourth challenge to see how well you knew Metro. I took photos of five Metro stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 29 guesses. Twenty of you got all five. Great work to the winners!


Image 1: King Street

This week, all of the stations featured are stations that are adjacent to active railroad tracks. The first picture was taken along the walkway to the Commonwealth Avenue entrance at King Street. This entrance was added long after the station opened, and it's far enough north that the platform had to be extended. But the extended platform doesn't serve trains (they still stop in the original location), so fences along the tracks keep people back from moving trains.

The presence of this fence, plus the three-track railroad bridge in the background are both clues that this is King Street. Nearly all of you (26) got this one right.


Image 2: Brookland

The second image shows ancillary rooms at the north end of the Brookland platform, viewed from the Michigan Avenue bridge. The main clue here is that the Metro tracks are straddled by a single freight track on either side, which happens only along the Red Line between Brookland and Silver Spring. That means that this could only be one of four stations.

At Fort Totten and Takoma, there's no way to get a view like this, since there are no bridges nearby. At Silver Spring, there is a bridge over the southern end of the station, however, from that bridge, the MARC platforms would be visible, as would many tall buildings, since Silver Spring is so urban.

One final clue is the cleft in the blockhouse at bottom right. That cleft is home to the base of a bridge support from the older Michigan Avenue Bridge. That bridge was still in use when Brookland station was constructed, so the ancillary rooms were built around the bridge support. However, the current Michigan Avenue bridge was constructed and opened shortly after Brookland station opened to passengers. The old base still exists, though.

Twenty-one of you knew this one.


Image 3: Rockville

The third image shows the view northward from Rockville station. Given that many Metro stations are next to railroad tracks, this one was harder to narrow down, but there were some clues. One is the new platform pavers, which are present now at most Red Line outdoor stations, but few stations on other lines.

The buildings around the gentle curve in the distance also may have helped you narrow this down. The one closest to the station is 401 Hungerford, home to Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services. Another clue is the adjacent railroad bridge over Park Road, which is fairly distinctive.

Twenty-one figured this one out.


Image 4: Minnesota Avenue

The fourth image shows a view westward from the platform at Minnesota Avenue. There are a few clues. The most distinctive is probably the bridge over DC 295 at center. That bridge leads to a long ramp down to the station's mezzanine, the top of which is visible as well.

A second clue is the catenary masts with missing catenary. The railroad line between Landover and L'Enfant Plaza (via the Virginia Avenue Tunnel) was electrified just like the rest of the Pennsylvania Railroad between Washington and New York. Back then, not only were passenger trains hauled by electric locomotives, so were freight trains. For that reason, electric wires ran above this freight bypass of Union Station, all the way south to Potomac Yard, where the Pennsy handed off freight trains to the Southern Railway and the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac (RF&P).

Conrail stopped running electric-hauled freights in the mid-1980s, so the wires are long gone. But the supporting masts survive. These wire-less masts run alongside the Orange Line between Cheverly and Minnesota Avenue. So that should have helped you narrow this down.

One more clue that may have helped narrow this down is the parked coal hopper. This stretch of track leads into CSX's Benning Yard, where many of the coal hoppers bound for the Morgantown Generating Station and the Chalk Point Generating Station are stored. Parked coal trains are a common sight on this portion of the Orange Line.

Twenty-two got the right answer (dontcha know).


Image 5: Landover

The final image was taken looking south from Landover station. From this vantage point, you can see the electrified Northeast Corridor. Since it's impossible to tell whether the catenary here is still present (due to the foliage), this could be any Orange Line station between New Carrollton and Minnesota Avenue.

With the Amtrak corridor to the right of the image, this must be a picture looking south. It can't be Cheverly, since that station has side platforms. At New Carrollton, the Amtrak/MARC station would be visible at right and there's a bridge within sight of the southern end of the platform.

Additionally, the southern ends of New Carrollton, Deanwood, and Minnesota Avenue have blockhouses with ancillary rooms (like seen in image 2 at Brookland), so the view to the south is not possible. Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood also have freight tracks on both sides of the platform, which aren't visible here.

That leaves Landover, which twenty-two of you were able to correctly deduce.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


Think you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 84

It's time for the eighty-fourth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are photos of five stations in the Metro system. Can you identify each from its picture?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun. Please have your answers in by noon on Thursday.

UPDATE: The answers are here.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


There be dragons in the Flickr pool

Here are our favorite new images from the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool, showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region.


Dragons installed in the Chinatown Barnes Dance. Photo by Victoria Pickering.


Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Photo by Beau Finley.


Navy Yard. Photo by John Sonderman.


Arena Stage. Photo by Shamila Chaudhary.


Zodiac signs in the Barnes Dance. Photo by Victoria Pickering.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos!

Photography


Streetscapes across time in the Flickr pool

Here are our favorite new images from the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool, showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region.


14th Street NW, from Florida Ave. Photo by Tim Brown.


A newly replanted Vermont Avenue, NW. Photo by Ted Eytan.


G Street. Photo by Mike Maguire.


DC Funk Parade. Photo by Rob Cannon.


Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 9th Street facing east (c. 1905). Photo by StreetsofWashington.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos!

Photography


Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 83

On Tuesday, we posted our eighty-third photo challenge to see how well you knew Metro. I took photos of five Metro stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 21 guesses. Eight of you got all five. Great work, Peter K, Solomon, FN, Stephen C, AlexC, dpod, Travis Maiers, and We Will Crush Peter K!


Image 1: Navy Yard

The first image shows a platform pylon at Navy Yard station. Many of you decided the cherry blossom sticker must mean that this was Smithsonian station. But during cherry blossom season, these stickers appear all over WMATA on faregates, station booths, pylons, and any other surface they easily adhere to. So in this case, it was a bit of a pink herring.

There were two real clues. The first is the word "Transportation," which in this case is a snippet of the name of a major destination at the New Jersey Avenue end of the station: Department of Transportation. This led some of you to guess L'Enfant Plaza, where USDOT used to be headquartered.

The other clue was the fact that there are two wheelchair icons and arrows pointing in opposite directions. There are only two underground stations in the system that have two entrances that are both wheelchair accessible. The two are Friendship Heights and Navy Yard. We talked about stations with redundant elevators in a post last year.

Twelve figured out that this was Navy Yard.


Image 2: Morgan Boulevard

The second picture is looking up at development adjacent to Morgan Boulevard station. These residences are fairly distinctive, and if you were able to narrow this down a bit, could be spotted on Google Street View.

To narrow it down, note the style of the concrete matches the style used in the three stations opened in 2004 (Largo, Morgan Boulevard, and NoMa). The concrete is split into these rectangles, unlike at other stations.

The white fencing atop the wall is also indicative of newer stations. Up until 2001, when the Adopted Regional System was completed with the opening of the Green Line extension to Branch Avenue, Metro mainly used brown for all metal surfaces. The stations built in 2004 and later have silver finishes.

Fourteen guessed Morgan Boulevard.


Image 3: Twinbrook

The third image was taken at Twinbrook. It's the fourth time we've featured this station in the series.

You can tell from the image that this is a low-lying station with a Gull I style canopy with lots of surface parking.

There are 15 Gull I stations. Seven of those stations are elevated, so that eliminates them as possibilities. We can eliminate Cheverly since it has side platforms. New Carrollton, Deanwood, and Minnesota Avenue have catenary supports behind them (for the Northeast Corridor and formerly electrified Penn Central freight line). Brookland is in an open cut, so it's out as well.

That leaves Van Dorn Street, Shady Grove, and Twinbrook. At Van Dorn Street, the parking lot is on the opposite side of Eisenhower Avenue (and downhill) from the station. At Shady Grove, from this angle, the parking garages would be visible. That leaves Twinbrook.

Additionally, you might have recognized the buildings in the background. The Maryland license plates may have also helped you narrow this down.

Sixteen guessed correctly.


Image 4: Huntington

The fourth image shows unique signage at Huntington's southern entrance. As shown in week 14, Huntington has two narrow escalators on either side of a regular-width escalator. And this is the only place in the system to have narrow escalators.

In a usual arrangement, the station probably would have had three (regular-width) escalators that could be running with two in the peak direction and one in the reverse direction. But in order to make the station wheelchair accessible to the south, Metro built an inclined elevator. That left room for only two regular-width escalators.

The problem with that meant that the demand would be uneven, but the supply would be set at 50/50. A regular-width Metro escalator has room for two people to stand side-by-side. So, with three escalators, Metro could be running two down in the morning (4 people across) and one up (2 people across). But with room for just two escalators, there'd be one down (2 people across) and one up (2 people across). That's inefficient.

The narrow escalators allow for better balancing. In the morning, one narrow escalator and the regular-width escalator are going down (3 people across) with the other narrow escalator going up (1 person across). That actually gives a better split (75% peak direction) than the three escalator option (67% peak direction), but still has a lower overall capacity (3 of 4 people width versus 4 of 6 people width).

Fifteen came to the correct conclusion.


Image 5: Clarendon

The final image probably looked harder than it really was. It takes just a little synthesis to put together that the correct answer was Clarendon. Virginia Square was also a very good guess, but it's not the correct answer.

What do we know from the picture?

We can see that this is a "Waffle" station [32 possible stations] that has side platforms [12 possibilities] and is served by either the Orange or Red Lines (you can see a swatch of orange in the destination sign), which leaves nine stations.

What else can we see? The far wall doesn't have a mezzanine. That means that this is a station that does not have entrances on both ends, which eliminates all the downtown and transfer stations. That leaves just three possibilities (or five if you didn't notice Pentagon City and Crystal City aren't served by the Red or Orange lines).

The three stations that are left are Ballston, Clarendon, and Virginia Square.

It can't be Ballston because at that station, the mezzanine is at the far eastern end of the platform, with its "tuning fork" style mezzanine pointed west. From this perspective at Ballston (and Pentagon City, for that matter), the mezzanine above would appear concave, not convex, and the escalators would be visible.

This perspective, with the convex shape of the mezzanine means we're under the end opposite from the escalators, so this has to be a station with a central mezzanine. Both Clarendon and Virginia Square have this attribute.

There were two ways to get the right answer from here. The first is that at Virginia Square, the mezzanine is much closer to the western end of the station than at Clarendon. At Virginia Square, the far wall would be very close to the vantage point.

The other way to figure this out is to know where the exit is. At Clarendon, the exit is to the north (to the right if you're facing Vienna). At Virginia Square, it's to the south. The bridge from the mezzanine to the street escalators is visible at the top right corner, meaning this is Clarendon.

But wait! There's one more detail. Virginia Square has a bridge like this over the Vienna platform, too. The platform elevator on either side has a bridge between the vault wall and the mezzanine. How do you know this isn't it? Because it's farther away from the convex point of the mezzanine. There's a good deal of straight mezzanine railing before it starts to curve over the tracks.

Ten of you got it right.

Note: Some of you mistook electrical conduit on the far wall for knockout panels. Many stations have conduit like this, which are metal tubes with wires inside mounted on the station walls. I apologize that the photo quality wasn't sufficient to make this clearer. But it couldn't be Pentagon City because of the reasons outlined above.

Great work, everyone! We'll be back in two weeks with the next quiz.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


Think you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 83

It's time for the eighty-third installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are photos of five stations in the Metro system. Can you identify each from its picture?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun. Please have your answers in by noon on Thursday.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


Rainy in the Flickr pool

Here are our favorite new images from the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool, showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region.


View from Silver Spring Civic Center. Photo by Aimee Custis.


Pike +Rose, White Flint. Photo by BeyondDC.


U Street Metro. Photo by Ted Eytan.


Howard University. Photo by ep_jhu.


Photo by Brett Young.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos!

Photography


Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 82

On Tuesday, we posted our eighty-second photo challenge to see how well you knew Metro. I took photos of five Metro stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 27 guesses. Nine got all five. Great work Peter K, JamesDCane, Justin..., Chris H, AlexC, Dillon the Pickle, FN, Solomon, and Stephen C!


Image 1: Tysons Corner

The first image is the view of Tysons Corner station from the plaza adjacent to the Vita building. Given the unique Silver Line architecture, you should have been able to easily narrow this down to the two "Gambrel" style stations. But Tysons Corner station isn't in a median, like Greensboro is, so this can't be Greensboro. All but one of you got this one right. Great work.


Image 2: Fort Totten

The second picture shows the top of a memorial plaque in the mezzanine at Fort Totten. The "Y OF" that is visible is part of the phrase, "in memory of," and is a memorial to the nine people killed in the 2009 Metro crash just north of the station.

Additionally, the windows and angles here are indicative of the mezzanine shape of Fort Totten. From this vantage point, we're looking toward the two escalators connecting the mezzanine to the Green/Yellow platform.

Twenty knew the correct answer.


Image 3: Van Dorn Street

The third image shouldn't have been too hard if you know the architecture of the system. The presence of three Blue Line trains on the PIDS tells you that this is almost certainly a Blue-only station, of which there are only three in the system. This picture was taken on a Saturday, but even though you didn't know that, there are times (weekends and off-peak), when Van Dorn and Franconia are not served by the Yellow Line.

Two of the three Blue-only stations can be easily eliminated. Arlington Cemetery is depressed in an open cut (so the trees wouldn't be visible) and doesn't have a canopy at all. Instead, it's only covered where Memorial Avenue crosses it. Week 8 gives you a sense of what that looks like. Franconia/Springfield, on the other hand has a very different canopy and the PIDS signs have a different format at terminal stations (BLUE LINE | LARGO CENTER | LEAVING 3 MINS).

But even if there had been only one Blue Line train on the board, you still could have solved this. That's because the canopy visible here is a "Gull I" design. And the only Gull I station served by the Blue Line is Van Dorn Street.

Twenty-five figured it out.


Image 4: Wheaton

The fourth image was a little trickier, and required you to take a second look to figure out that this was Wheaton. Many of you went with your first instinct, but closer inspection should have revealed this to be a twin-tube station. One clue is the presence of "can" lights hanging from the vault, which aren't present at the higher single-vault stations.

The perspective here is clearly looking through the doors of an elevator. Some downtown stations do have side platforms with the elevator in an alcove off to the side like this. But all of those stations have the "waffle" design, not the taller coffer "arch"-style. None of the "Arch I" or "Arch II" stations have side platforms. And that means this has to be one of the twin-tube stations.

It can't be Forest Glen because, as several of you noted, the elevators there all land in a common lobby and are farther from the tracks. At Wheaton, however, the solitary elevator lands not in the escalator lobby, but in an alcove at the far northern end of the Shady Grove platform.

Ten came to the correct conclusion.


Image 5: Capitol Heights

The final image was even more challenging, but there was enough information to figure out that it's Capitol Heights.

Like with image 3 above, you can tell that this station is served only by the Blue and Silver Lines (since the Orange Line isn't listed on the sign). There are only two underground stations that are served by the Blue and Silver, so even without additional information, you could have made a guess with a 50/50 probability of getting the right answer. Some of you did that and got lucky.

But there was a way to be 100% certain, and it involves knowing that while Benning Road and Capitol Heights are nearly identical, they're mirror images of each other. In week 56 we also ran a set with a similar signage clue and noted in the answers post the difference between the two stations.

At both stations, the single mezzanine is at the far end of the platform. At Benning Road, the mezzanine is at the east end. At Capitol Heights, it's at the west end. That means that when you descend to the platform at Capitol Heights, you're facing east. And if you're facing east, trains going eastbound to Largo are on your right, and trains going west toward downtown are on your left.

One final note: The reason you know this sign is at the bottom of the escalator when you arrive is because this is a fairly typical application of WMATA's signing in this case, since this is a decision point and because anywhere else on the platform, the column would also include a strip map of farther stations reached on the appropriate track.

Nineteen came to the correct conclusion.

Thanks for playing! We'll be back in two weeks with our next quiz.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


Think you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 82

It's time for the eighty-second installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are photos of five stations in the Washington Metro system. Can you identify each from its picture?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun. Please have your answers in by noon on Thursday.

UPDATE: The answers are here.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Photography


Monotone in the Flickr pool

Here are some of our favorite black and white perspectives, inspired by this week's new images from the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool.


Metro. Photo by John J Young.


Convention Center. Photo by Beau Finley.


Fort Totten Metro. Photo by Mike Maguire.


Union Station. Photo by Beau Finley.


Union Market. Photo by Jill Slater.


14th & U Street NW. Photo by Mike Maguire.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region!

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