Vacations, DC, Airbnb, Dave Brubeck, Mobile Photo Labs, and How Flickr Lost Me

Late Thursday night Mrs. Blankenship and I boarded the Amtrak Crescent Line in Clemson, SC toward Union Station in Washington DC. We arrived in our nation’s capitol Friday morning, took a Metro train six stops up the Red Line to Dupont Circle and walked two blocks to the condo we’re rather affordably staying in thanks to Airbnb. A half a block around the corner I had one of the best meals I’ve ever had at Firefly. I ate truffle fries. Our bill came in a mason jar with a tiny light inside. Surprise and delight abounded.

Later that evening we walked a mile west on M Street into bustling Georgetown, down an alleyway to a tiny blue door and into Blues Alley, a jazz and dinner club the size of a living room, going strong since 1965. We saw a wonderful set by a living legend, playing a few sold out shows to celebrate the fact that he’s 90 and still playing a few sold out shows. “I guess I played a little…” Brubeck said, after introducing the rest of his quartet. “They’ve got me on oxygen. I made it through the whole damn set without having to use the damn thing.”

Yesterday we walked 88 blocks of DC proper, including the National Mall and its amazing collection of somber memorials, weighty words etched in stone, and dozens of adult kickball games and kite fliers. I took 180 photos. Leisurely. With my phone. I didn’t even bother bringing a “real” camera with me on this trip.

Thanks to the iPhone and great apps like Mill Colour, Picture Show, and FilterStorm (all AppStore links) I can capture, edit, and post-process my photos from one tiny device. Thanks to Instagram I can easily share them from the same device with a great, growing community of friends and not-friends. Why didn’t Flickr build this? Why do I visit Flickr so rarely now? The answers are related.

We’re staying a mile from the White House. We don’t have a rental car. I have a photo lab in my pocket. Make your next vacation whatever you want it to be.