Photography by John Michael

"Preserving the memories so others will remember"™

Water Lilies Gallery

From my work at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: Here’s a gallery of waterlilies on my new hosting site. Click on the badge and go there…


Posted 8 years, 6 months ago at 6:34 am.

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3+ Wonders of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

The Gardens are heading for a long winter nap, as you can see in the photo below, the ponds are bare of the summer greens and colors of the waterlilies and lotus

except for the tropical waterlily – Victoria (those lilypads reach up to 8 feet in diameter!)

a “flock” of turtles out in the sun trying to overcome the cooling of the ponds…

A big splash of purple from one of the waterlilies …

Wait ’til you see the calendar I”m composing about this wonderful place…

Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 6:09 am.

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3 Wonders of Arlington National Cemetery…

Find A Grave -  Contains a growing number who's buried at Arlington National Cemetery

I’m a regular contributor / volunteer for a website called FIND A GRAVE that has the largest collection of memorials to those who have passed on. My focus on Arlington National Cemetery has been augmented by participating in this activity.

I was on a mission today to capture a few of the photos of gravestones as requested by friends, family or interested parties. It was the end of the mission day when I arrived at ANC after trying to meet with a local card shop who originally had expressed interest in carrying a selection of my greeting cards / notecards. I was attempting to show off the new calendars that are being developed. But I digress.

Even after all these years of traversing the hallowed grounds of the United States’ shrine to it’s military heroes, I still need to get an orientation at times when I’m heading into a Section of Arlington National Cemetery that I rarely frequent. My first direction was to head to Section 3, a very familiar place since that’s where I spend time with the Presidential Salute Battery when they execute their missions. When I saw one of the caisson teams slowly making their way back through the cemetery to the stables on Fort Myer, I decided “to roll” along with them. The soldiers looked a bit tired, since their day began by showing up at 4:00 AM at the stables to go through their preparation for their four-plus missions that they probably participated in during the day. (They spend their entire day in the cemetery…)

I clicked off a few photos as I followed them up through the McClellan Gate (one of the original entrances to Arlington National Cemetery) as they reached the intersection, the team and the section sergeant turned left towards the Tomb of the Unknowns…

Caisson in Arlington National Cemetery

The warm autumn sun, shone brightly this day as the sunbeams broke their way through the overhead trees. One of the last final honors of the day was still in progress as I headed along the road in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns. I had the pleasure of spending a bit of time with one of the ANC security guards as I waited for the ceremony to conclude.

Signs of the change of season were evident and the harbinger trees were already turning their fiery colors. I headed up the road that borders Section 3 and the Tomb of the Unknown and the sun dancing among the crimson leaves of a maple caught my eye.

Porter Drive  in Arlington National Cemetery

Porter Drive in Arlington National Cemetery

After my Section 3 work was complete, I traversed to the opposite side of the cemetery and headed to Section 30 (The original layout of Arlington National  Cemetery followed no rhyme or reason as they assigned the numbers to the sections. Some layout within the sections are completely confusing to me also!)

When I reached Section 30, I decided to “take the walk” and paid my respects to MG G.M. Barnes, the visionary who’s forward thinking has led to many of the things we take for granted today. I’ve called the man “The Father of Modern Computers“, since he was instrumental in funding the ENIAC – the first computer (Pennsylvania University claims its theirs, but without the funding from the US Army, they would have had NADA!) General Barnes was the head of research and development within Ordnance of the US Army during WW II. Another distinction is that he is the “Father of the M5 Guns” – the artillery that the Presidential Salute Battery uses to fire salutes to the President, Heads of State/Countries, and salutes for wreath layings and final honors of Flag officers of the US Army, US Coast Guard, US Navy and US Marines.

The 3d wonder that I absorbed as I headed to the last photo of the day was a rare blooming of crocuses (they normally bloom in the Spring!) in front of a US Army’s CWO’s resting place.

Fall Blooming Crocus  in Arlington National Cemetery


Why don’t you explore more of my work in the Gallery?  It has many more photographs of Arlington National Cemetery and a whole lot more, such as the US Army’s Golden Knights – the Parachute Team which are the Army’s “Ambassadors from the Sky” … the flowered beauty from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and other explorations.


Posted 9 years, 4 months ago at 6:57 pm.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

I took a new friend to the gardens – 14 acres of ponds with waterlilies, water hyacinths, lotus – to see what was left after a very vibrant summer growing season. The ponds were winding down and most of the blooms were gone. What did remain were a few lotus that pushed out the last bursts of color. There’s one below.

Went to the back of the ponds and among the tropicals were the “pricklies” and they are known for pushing their flower buds through the lilypad. The vibrant pink flower sat on top of the deep green pad.


Posted 9 years, 5 months ago at 10:46 pm.

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Significance of ’08

Yes it’s a presidential election year and they’re out there tossing mud at each other and among the Democrats, you have to wonder is “she” running or “he”.

However, there is a more significant list of “anniversaries” that are more important that will occur this year-

  • 110 year Anniversary of the sinking of the USS Maine Battleship in Cuba
  • 100 year Anniversary the first military flight at Fort Myer, Virginia
  • 70 year Anniversary of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens becoming a US National Park
  • 60 year Anniversary of the re-constitution of the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard”
  • 55 year Anniversary of the establishment of the Presidential Salute Battery – 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard”
  • 50 year Anniversary of the laying to rest of the Korean War Unknown at ANC’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Posted 10 years ago at 1:51 am.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS… Praying for Peace…

For the past several years, I have designed and printed my own Christmas Cards to further personalize my wishes for one of the most special days of the year.

I put nearly 100 of these cards into the mail and here is a virtual view of what others have received via the US Postal Service.

The second page of the card has a number of my photos highlighting some of the results of my photography.
The top line of four photos show a sequence of the Victoria waterlily captured at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC — A night blooming variety, it’s lilypads are up to 5 feet (yes FEET!) in diameter. The bud of this species resembles and is the size of a football and when it first opens, the flower is a snowy white. The veins of the petals begin to turn pink and finally the flower heads into a pink to almost red color before fading over the two days that this takes. The fourth photo on that line is a purple (a fave color of someone special) waterlily. This gem in the national park system also has ponds and ponds of lotus.

The second line of photos are captured from spending over a dozen final honor missions and the rigourous training of the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” and the distinction on the third line of the challenge coin that I was awarded when made part of the platoon and their photographer in October.

Finally, the last line of photos contain two photos from my other work in Arlington National Cemetery.

On a regular basis I have photographed the final honors at ANC as my way of “giving back” to those who have served to keep the United States free and allow those who live here to enjoy things the rest of the world envies. From those photographs, I then produce a memorial book that is presented to the next of kin – A fitting tribute to their loved one.


Posted 10 years, 2 months ago at 1:17 pm.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Slideshow

If you haven’t seen them, I’ve got a growing album of the waterlilies and lotus that I’ve captured over the past four years at this gem in the crown of the National Park Service System in the United States.

Please enjoy —

I have created greeting cards – Notecards and Print enlargements are available for purchase. Please contact me for further details if you’d like to purchase any of what you see.

Thank you.





Posted 10 years, 4 months ago at 4:22 pm.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens – The VICTORIA Waterlily

I returned to the gardens and because of the warm weather, the tropicals were still much in bloom and growing. Despite the other ponds being stripped of their vegetation (the Lotus ponds were BARE … what had been waving “elephant ear” leaves and seed pods was now short “stumps” poking out of the mud, since these ponds were drained)

Alas, my quest that I had been in pursuit of the last time I had visited, was going through it’s changes. The exterior of the bud, the size of a football (or a coconut still in its husk) had peeled away to reveal the snow white bud still tight. Now the flower was open and the center lines of the petals were pink. Another flower had totally turned nearly red in color signifying it’s end of cycle of the two day blooming.

Victorias are “night bloomers” so one must get to them before the midday sun forces the bloom to close its petals.

Enjoy the photos…


Posted 10 years, 4 months ago at 6:38 pm.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in October

A day off – I have been following the prescription of my girlfriend, and decided it was time for some R&R – After a week of editing, cropping and posting photos, I decided it was time for a bit of a change. I needed to recharge the batteries and my eyes were strained. The weather here in the Washington, DC area has been just wonderful. Last week seemed more like summer than October with temperatures in the high 80s and into the 90s. So finally with a sunny day and cool temperatures, it was off to see one of my favorite places — that gem of the National Park Service – Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens located in Southeast Washington DC. There are 14 acres of ponds that one can stroll among and take in the natural beauty of the park as tended to by the friendly staff of the park.

This day is also a milestone in that it was 4 years ago this weekend that I first visited the park — as a result of a somewhat of a bittersweet situation.

Autumn has reached the gardens with the ponds mostly bare of the colors that summer brings. The ponds that were teaming with color during the summer are now getting ready for their winter rest. The lily ponds were nearly just smatterings of lily pads with only a few “last lilies of summer” poking their colors out into the bright sun. The ponds where the lotus have grown have been “sheared” of the vegetation and looked as if they had been drained. A few flatbottom boats were in the mud — I wondered where the vegetation went, since only a month ago the same pond had been stuffed full with 3 – 4 foot high plants with the seed pods hanging bearing the hard shelled lotus seeds.

In the pond nearest the park buildings, a flock of Canada geese had taken up temporary residence and were feeding — often disappearing down into the water — they appeared “headless”. They eyed me warily as I stood and watched them disappear beneath the surface only to snap a few photos of these now headless fowl.

As I meandered to the back ponds on a quest to get photos of the Victoria waterlilies — the ones that have lily pads that are HUGE — 3 to 4 feet in diameter, I came across a rather novel scene of lily buds poking their way through the a lily pad (shown to the right) Seems that this sight bears another trip back to the gardens in a day or so to catch this rare sight in photo form as the buds open finally into color.

I encountered a husband and wife couple who were visiting from Michigan and we spoke a while. It seems that she had been in the US Army in the 1960s and was stationed at Fort Myer – South Post in what she referred to as the “WAC Shacks” — At that time, Fort Myer had a section called “South Post” before Arlington National Cemetery absorbed that land to lay to rest the United States’s military heroes. I shared with them some of the work I’ve done at ANC photographing the final honors of the military. I’ve been blessed to have the privilege of doing this work – “The Old Guard” executes their missions within those hallowed grounds in such a spectacular way.

The pond with the Victoria had two blooms. I learned from one of the rangers that the flower lasts only two days, and that the colors change during those days. Sadly I had missed the peak bloom of these two. Beneath the surface and poking their tips up above the water were several more buds that looked as if they would burst into bloom within the next two days. So a second reason to return.


Posted 10 years, 4 months ago at 7:00 pm.

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Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

One of the hidden gems in the National Park System and in the Washington DC area — it’s over 100 years old and one of my favorite places to photograph and explore and relax — it’s away from the crowds and the 14 plus acres of ponds are filled with the work of nature (with a little help from the park rangers) — known for the waterlilies that grace the ponds, there are also lotus that are rather majestic.

It was begun by a Federal officer returning from the US Civil War. The park has a rather interesting background — if you check out my website, you’ll find a small selection of the numerous photographs I’ve collected there since 2003. Many people who are lifetime residents of the Washington, DC area have never visited this wonderful place.


Posted 10 years, 5 months ago at 12:02 pm.

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