I was up on the old abutment for the C&O Canal viaduct that connected the canal from Georgetown to Alexandria over the Potomac River and looked down to the boat dock for the Georgetown Boat House and caught this composition. I had been photographing Key Bridge with my 5×12 (previously described here) when I looked down and saw this scene which cried out to be shot in the format.
The simple geometry and the contrast between the rigid lines of the dock broken up by the deck chair contrasted with the smooth water of the river really makes the image. Without the deck chair, it would actually be pretty boring. But adding that one small compositional element makes it go from so what to interesting.
Key Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in Washington DC and a major attraction in its own right. It spans the Potomac between Georgetown and Rosslyn, and carries a tremendous volume of traffic between DC and Virginia every day.
The view of the underside is one most people never get, of this or any bridge for that matter.
Key Bridge is chock full of strange hidden nooks, like this service door to something in the infrastructure. Despite being sealed off behind chain-link fencing, people have managed to get in and graffiti it.
The prototypical view of Key Bridge, from the West side. I’m fascinated by how someone managed to get to the bottoms of the piers and graffiti them. You’d have to either have a boat, sail up to the foot of the pier, then climb up 20+ feet from the waterline, or somehow rappel down from the pedestrian deck of the bridge. Not a recipe for success on either front, as I’d imagine you’d be spotted very quickly and arrested.
Here’s a view of the underside where the bridge crosses the C&O Canal.
This is the tower of the old Trolley Barn, which used to house the streetcars that plied DC in the late 19th/early 20th century. Now it is office space on the upper levels. The view is from under Key Bridge, where the on-ramp to the Whitehurst Freeway (really just an elevated bypass to get around the street traffic of Georgetown) splits off of Key Bridge.
Here’s a few shots of Georgetown from below- another vista most tourists don’t see, and heck, even most Washingtonians don’t know exists, because they never continue on Water Street past the piers for Key Bridge, if they even go that far.
Cafe Malmaison is a recent arrival under the Whitehurst Freeway, in the section of Water Street that still feels a bit seedy and disreputable.
This is the view of the off-ramp to the Whitehurst looking up from Water Street/the Capital Crescent Trail, with the moon hanging in the sky over the buildings of the Potomac Boat Club.
And Key Bridge’s western elevation, lit by the setting sun.