Even if the name Laurie Collins doesn’t ring a bell, chances are you know the D.C. native by her social media nom de plume, dccitygirl, as she has more than 132,000 followers on Instagram.
Referring to herself as a city explorer and storyteller, Collins regularly posts gorgeous images of some of the most interesting and beautiful sites around the District, including some of her favorite places in Capitol Riverfront. As a photographer, Collins is always looking for opportunities to take photos of her city.
“There are so many landmarks that make that easy,” she says. “I like to wait on one side of the pedestrian bridge to capture the symmetry of it and look for the right moment when people add just the right balance to the shot. This can take some time, but in my opinion, it is so worth the wait.”
Born in D.C., Collins first became interested in photography when she traveled to Europe in her early 20s. Armed with a Nikon, which she still owns to this day, she created lasting memories of the places she visited. Today, she concentrates most of her work on street photography, capturing city life.
“To me, it’s important to show Washington, D.C. as I see it on a daily basis. I want it to be different than what you would expect, for example, from a tourist site.”
If she had a full day to spend in Capitol Riverfront, while not nearly enough time to enjoy all it has to offer, Collins has thoughts on what the day would entail.
“From my home, I would hop on the Circulator to Yards Park where I would walk along the boardwalk,” she begins. “The [Anacostia] River is always busy in the spring and summer with folks kayaking and boating. [I’d] pull up to a bench and gaze out at the water, keeping an eye out for great blue herons, cormorants, hawks and other waterfowl.”
One of the fun spots for adults and kids alike is the dancing fountains at the waterfront. Collins says she would then challenge herself by trying to take a picture under the waterfall without getting soaked before switching gears to go shopping.
“I always like to make time for retail therapy, especially shops owned by women, so I’d head to Steadfast Supply to see what’s new. As the day progresses, I might stop by Bluejacket Brewery for baked feta dip and an icy cold beer. The kids might prefer ice cream, so if that’s the case, make your way to Ice Cream Jubilee. My personal favorite is a double scoop of raspberry rose and chocolate chocolate in a waffle cone. Don’t forget to add rainbow sprinkles!”
A big baseball fan, if it’s a day Collins is lucky enough to get tickets to a Nats game, she will spend the rest of her day cheering on the home team with a bowl of D.C.’s famous chili from Ben’s Chili Bowl, located right within the ballpark.
By perusing her Instagram, it’s easy to see Collins has a great eye and knows how to enjoy life. And her love of D.C.’s neighborhoods is a big part of that. That’s why photographing the different neighborhoods is one of her favorite things to do in the District.
“The combination of the different architecture, beauty and colors make for delicious photos,” she says. “I love landmarks and memorials, and I try to visit them at different times of day and during different seasons because the light changes and the number of people change with the seasons.”
Among her top spots for taking photos are the Tidal Basin during peak cherry blossom season; McKee Beshers in Poolesville, Maryland, where the towering sunflowers are breathtaking; and Rock Creek Park — especially Boulder Bridge.
All of this exploring and taking photos around the District can get tiring and naturally, Collins can build up quite the appetite. Thankfully, she has some go-to places in Capitol Riverfront she deems as essential that would definitely be a part of her perfect day.
“With all that walking, carbs are essential to refuel. Either sitting at the bar or outside on a cool summer night, Osteria Morini serves up the best cappelletti: truffled ricotta ravioli and melted butter. Top it off with a few glasses of wine and lots of crusty bread, [and] it will provide a good night’s sleep and extra energy for the next day.”
She always finds time for entertainment and is glad that Capitol Riverfront is flush with special events for her to photograph and attend.
“I always look forward to Rosé All Day, which features live music, multiple rosé bars, perfectly pink Instagrammable installations and a garden lounge with flower crowns you can create.”
With so much beauty and fun things to do in the area, no two days will ever be alike, and Collins is happy to be part of the community while capturing its unique moments.
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