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Ex President's Homes in DC

Shot for the Washingtonian Magazine for their "Before the White House" article.  It was fun visiting these homes and talking to the owners about what they know and have learned over the years.

This story shows the homes of some presidents before they moved into the White House.  The presidents that I covered was Bush Sr., Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Harding, and Johnson.


John F. Kennedy 3307 N St. NE DC
JF Kennedy's house
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
This House was a bit of a challenge because I did not want to show cars or street signs. Just off the the left of the shot is the street, so I didn't have too much space to work with.  From this angle I was able to keep the composition pristine as possible. Just to the right was a bunch of construction workers moving stuff around.  The wide 24mm with the perspective correction allowed me this shot from such a tight vantage point. I love this lens! 

JF Kennedy's house. Back view.
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
The owner told me that the back of the house was built first then the front was added later on.  Look at that pear tree climbing the wall. 


Gerald Ford 514 Crown View Dr. Alexandria
Gerald Ford's house
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
His driveway had to be reinforced because the armored Presidential motorcade was much too heavy for the original driveway and would have sunk the car.  All of the owners were very helpful and accommodating for the story. Thank you, once again! 

Gerald Ford's house
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
Photo courtesy of Tim and Helen Lloyd
The book shelves you see behind President Ford is the same shelves you see on the current picture.  Despite the upgrades, the owner kept some of the original charm of the house during the era. For instance, the color of the floor is very similar to the original flooring the Ford's used to walk on. It was a pleasant surprise to the current owners that when they ripped up the flooring done by the next owners to Ford, the color was almost an exact match to the color the she had in mind. 

Gerald Ford's house
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
This was the garage that was turned into a big room where the secret service lived.  All these homes had a direct land line to the White House.  Some of them also had some high tech security measures. For instance,  Lyndon Johnson's house had a flooring sensor by the stairs to alert the secret service if somebody was walking up towards the bedroom. 


George H.W. Bush 5161 Palisade Lane NW DC
George H.W. Bush's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
See those tall trees to the right side of the house? That was planted by Barbara Bush to disrupt the view of their neighbors who often complained of the many crazy parties thrown by guess who… Yep, Bush Jr. 

George H.W. Bush's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
I tried this shot with lamps off and on.  I like this better because the cool foreground and the warm background by the incandescent light offered a nice contrast of colors. 


Richard Nixon 4308 Forest Lane, NW DC
Richard Nixon's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24-105 4L
I can't imagine the heating bill for this house!  I couldn't use the 24 TSE for the front of the house because for me to have composed for the house, I would need to be around where that tree is.  I wanted to include that rounded tree, so I back off and tighten the composition with the zoom. 

Richard Nixon's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
This is the back of the house. They sure lived it up, didn't they? The back view was pretty clean, meaning there was no trees I had to shoot around.  These older neighborhoods have beautiful mature trees that is great for shading and what not, but for pictures, it limits the angle.  So what I like to do is use the trees here and there to frame the house with it.  Which is what I did below.

Lyndon B. Johnson 4921 30th Place, NW DC
Lyndon Johnson's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
Getting around trees is tricky to do. Especially when the trees are so close to the house. I got bit lucky because the tree to the left was fairly naked where you can make out the house through it.  

Lyndon Johnson's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II

I had to do some re-arranging to the interior.  This assignment was not about making the interior look as good as possible, but it was more about how the room looks now as the current owners lives in them.  I thought this angle offered the best layout, but the chair that is to the right was where the camera was.  Moving the chair and having the chair pointed toward the middle of the room draws the attention back toward the center of the composition and fills the void in that corner, if there was nothing there. 


Warren G. Harding 2314 Wyoming Ave. NW DC
Warren G. Harding's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
This is a great example of how to use the tree to your advantage.  The house was very square in profile so I knew that there will be a lot of dead space to the sides.  Ha! a wonderfully lit tree! use the crap out of it! I thought to myself… I may have said it out loud. 

Warren G. Harding's House
Canon 5d MK3,  24mm 3.5L TSE II
This piano shawl was a gift from the Harding's family themselves.  Its funny when you look at the picture that you'll never know that to the left and to the right of the frame is moving boxes everywhere. The current resident was packing to move out of the house soon. Pictures are lies! 




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