It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s….. The POTUS

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My wife and I view hotel rooms as a refuge from a storm and as a place to sleep. During daylight hours, we spend very little time (none) just relaxing in the quiet comforts of room 412, 218 or 1046. We fully utilize our days on the road exploring and experiencing as much as we can. And so it was on a recent Sunday morning when we had a few more hours to use in Washington DC.


While Mommy Points was at a conference, we were in full grandparent mode with our almost 7 year old and our 1.3 year old when we hit H Street and headed west to The White House. It was less than a mile and we were there before we knew it. The north side of The White House had some inauguration construction going on and the viewing was less than optimal. We normally like to go to the north side first as you are able to be a little closer to The White House and it is fun walking through Lafayette Park and imagining that you might run into Olivia Pope and some of the cast of characters from SCANDAL.


This was days before the election so it was also interesting to view all the TV networks broadcast positions on top of the nearby buildings and trying to guess who might be on air at that moment. The White House background shots that are commonly seen are mostly done from these venues.

We slowly made our way to the south side of the presidential residence and as we neared the best pathway to access The White House, we (and everybody else) were advised (ie politely ordered) by the Secret Service to retreat from the area as it was being closed for about 30 minutes. We assumed that there was some sort of a shift change as it was now close to noon. So, we bided our time by letting our grandkids play in the open field and climb into a multi trunked tree.

As the time extended, we decided to drop down further south to another open field where people were congregating and playing. Just as we arrived, we heard the noise of a large aircraft approaching.

There arose such a clatter that we looked up to see what was the matter.
And there in the spotlight of the afternoon sun was no less a sight than the real Marine One.
I picked up my camera and zoomed on the flight knowing the South Lawn was where it would light.

My adrenalin was flowing as the shutter was pressed to capture the image of this special guest.
It was bigger than big and more powerful too as it slowly descended from out of the blue.
The bird had a mission its purpose now evident it was coming to pick up our 44th President.


We watched as the huge helicopter sat silently and still on The South Lawn. We were about a half mile away but thankfully our trusty Nikon has a powerful zoom so we were able to get some great shots even from that distance.


After less than ten minutes, the majestic machine cranked its rotors up and slowly lifted off ,


then hovered,


and then gradually rose and came right toward us.



It was loud and impressive and beautiful. What a thrill!

This was one of those classic “right time, right place” serendipitous moments. We were so glad that we were out and about because you just never know what you might see and what you might get to experience. You just never know….

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    • Thanks for adding your sentiment. It was quite a rush to see Marine One come in and go out right over our heads. Maybe you will be as fortunate when you least expect it. Seasons Greetings to you!

  1. Great post !!!
    What zoom do you have on your camera? I am looking at getting a new lens so a capable, practical lens would be nice.

    • Thanks so much for the generous comment. My wife and I are both using an inexpensive Nikon with a built in super zoom. The model is the CoolPix 510. It has a 42x optical zoom. I have had high dollar cameras in my professional career but I have found this model to be very sufficient and efficient for our travels. It is small enough to fit into my coat pocket and I have blown images up to 30×40. We bought refurbished models a few years ago for about $250. I suspect they are even less now. Thanks for writing in and we hope you have a great holiday season.

      • Very cool experience. It was “the right place at the right time”… but you’ve got to be in the right place for that right time to happen.

        I agree on the camera philosophy. We have nice (now older) Pentax, and took 1000s of pictures of the kids when they were babies and toddlers, and I used to haul it on travel as well. I picked up an Olympus Tough which is somewhat hardened and submersible. Great for water photos (though actually submersing it tends to leave water spots on the glass.) We wife has a nicer Canon point-and-shoot which is our go-to camera when conditions are not hazardous.

        The kids (now 7) each have a Coolpix as well, but a lesser model I got for $50 each. They enjoy it, get pictures that we can’t take, see things we don’t see, and most importantly it has taught them to look for beautiful scenery and good family moments. And for $50 each, it is OK if they get broken (or should I say broken-er?)

        The only downside is that I have 3 separate cartridge type batteries, and chargers, that need to go with, in addition phone/tablet chargers, and (sometimes) AA and AAA rechargeables. ­čÖé

        • Thanks for adding to the discussion. It is handy that my wife and I use the same camera so that the charger and battery packs are interchangeable. It is pretty cool that your kids have their own camera to capture the world they see and interpret. At this point in my life, camera wise I am into simplicity, versatility and ease of transport. I have given my ego in this area a rest. Thanks for the comments and we hope your family enjoys safe travels and a Happy Holiday season.

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