If you live in Washington D.C., at some point in the last few months you must have driven by the Washington Monument and seen it all covered up in scaffolding, as part of the repairs required after the earthquake cracked the structure about two years ago.  If you don't live in D.C., maybe you saw the monument during the broadcast of the national fireworks on the 4th of July.  Regardless, two things about this temporary Version 2.0 of the monument.  First, some people may disagree, but I love that they are now lighting up every section of the scaffolding at night.  It's tourist season, and instead of having photos of something ugly, now they have a neat looking photo that is unique to this year and a memory of their trip.  Second, I finally realized why I'm liking the look of the monument right now.  It looks like it's made out of giant Lego blocks!  Anyway, for those two reasons, I made a point this weekend - with all its gloriously stifling humidity - to head down to the National Mall to take some photos.  This photo tour also served the dual purpose of helping me to break in my new tripod.  As a bonus, we had a neat sunset that provided a great backdrop for the Lincoln Memorial as well, so I did a 180 degree turn with my tripod and shot that as well. Last night reminded me that I should force myself get out more at twilight and take pictures because the light is fantastic.  So, I'm expecting this post to be one of several as I get out on the Mall and Tidal Basin to shoot more and practice my night photography.  Here are some of my favorite shots from last night:

Also, right before I got off the metro in D.C., a big and quick rain storm hit the area - it actually started before I got on the metro and fortunately had passed over during the train ride.  Here's a neat photo of the storm's wake of beautiful blue sky.