Photographer's Note


The United States Capitol Building was originally commissioned in 1792 by the first President of the Nation, George Washington. A contest to select a design was organized by the Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. (Jefferson himself would later serve two terms as President.) Initially, a much lower dome was built that pleased very few people. Finally, in the 1850s a new architect was hired, who journeyed to Europe to visit some of the great domes, including those of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. Knowing both domes fairly well, I am convinced that it was St. Paul’s Dome that provided the inspiration for the Capitol Dome. It is made of cast iron and stands 88 m (288 feet) including the “Freedom Statue,” crowning the lantern that serves as a capstone for the dome. The Rotunda below the dome is frequently used for National Leaders to ''Lie in State." In the 20th century, this honor was extended to President McKinley (1901), President Harding (1923), President Taft (1930), General John Pershing (1948), President Kennedy (1963), General Douglas MacArthur (1964), President Ronald Reagan (2004).


Many will remember the senseless events of September 11, 2001, when a pair of commercial airplanes were flown at full throttle into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, and a third plane was flown into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane that was hijacked by a team of terrorists was initially allowed to fly west to Pennsylvania, then it was turned around to fly toward Washington. The target of the terrorists, it is believed, was the majestic Capitol Dome. A heroic group of passengers, who received calls on their mobile phones about the other three planes, realized that their own plane was intended to be used as a missile also to bring down a building. They overcame the terrorists who had manned the cockpit and flew the plane into the ground. Everyone onboard was killed. The tragic events of that day represent a total death count of around 3000, but, in leading to the Afghan and Iraqi Wars, the total number of casualties is a hundred-fold.

I had to reach deep into my archives to retrieve and scan the slide of United States Capitol Dome, originally shot as a slide in January 1977. It was a cold and crisp day just as it is now in January 2011. I was using a very good camera at the time, a Nikon F, and Kodachrome 25 (ISO 25) slide film, to my mind, the sharpest slide film.

Finally, an excellent image of the dome was posted two weeks ago by the talented photographer Betty Jones (BWJ) as The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. In her photo, the great dome serves as the backdrop to a christmas tree.

More about the history of the dome is available at Wikipedia.

This image will be placed in a new group theme, DOMES. I Welcome others to contribute.

Photo Information
Viewed: 6206
Points: 122
Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
View More Pictures