Photo Finish: Images from 2023

Each year, we ask members of The Uncommon District community to send us some of their favorite photos from the previous 12 months. And, each year, we are delighted with what DMV photographers share. This year, we marveled at migrating Monarch butterflies, icy vistas, dramatic portraits, dynamic concert scenes, and even the occasional Stormtrooper.

Cheryle Alexander

(Cheryle’s portfolio)
This photo captured the successful migratory arrival of the current and fragile Monarch butterflies in Monterey, California. Their numbers and gathering were so hopeful in the knowledge that they are able to continue to find their long journey’s way in such a gathering although their numbers are in such jeopardy. This image was awarded first place in an art exhibition in 2023 for recognition and observance of Mother Earth.

©Cheryle Alexander

This image is of the Wild Horses of Carova, NC where they thrive and occupy the Outer Banks regions in dwindling but strong numbers despite the influx of development and the growing intensity of weather, factors that they must face in their ever changing world. Their offspring have evolved from the early arrival aboard old Spanish shipwrecks along these beautiful and disappearing shores. They continue to exist as totally wild and free in existence despite all.

©Cheryle Alexander

Maria Helena Carey

(IG: themadamemeow; Linktree)
It was a frigid March day but the Spanish steps in Dupont Circle is a great meeting place for dogs and their owners.

Spanish steps at the end of winter. ©Maria Helena Carey

A low angle makes the metro pylon look extra ominous.

Capitol South stigmata. ©Maria Helena Carey

Rodney D. Cunningham

(IG: rodneydcunningham)
This picture is meaningful to me because it reminds me that nature always provides something to uplift the spirit. And who doesn’t need that?

©Rodney D. Cunningham

Joe Flood

(IG: joeflood; Website)
Ever since January 6th, I’ve wanted to see justice meted out to the Trump mob. At the Women’s March, I saw it as MAGA rapper Ron J Spike was arrested by the Secret Service after assaulting a woman. I was in the perfect spot to get this photo and I love how he’s looking at me with resignation.

The Arrest of Ron J Spike. ©Joe Flood

We’ve had some spectacular skies this year. Not good for the environment but great for photos, like this one of the Smithsonian Castle at sunrise.

Smithsonian Sunrise. ©Joe Flood

Aurelia Glenn

This photo is of a group tap dancing at the Takoma Street Fest on October 1st. An annual event where everyone’s welcome, and has a blast.

©Aurelia Glenn

A quiet stroll at the Tide Lock City Park, part of the Alexandria Waterfront Walk. A popular area to walk and bike, walking distance from Old Town.

©Aurelia Glenn

Makeeya Hazelton

(IG: hazelnutmea)
This photo was taken in celebration of the new Luna Hall food court in DC Chinatown, where I saw a demonstration of how these delicious soup dumplings were made.

Focus and Concentration. ©Makeeya Hazelton

As a District resident, I really embraced early strolls along the Tidal Basin during the 2023 cherry blossom season, away from the large crowds you usually find during peak bloom.

Quiet Reflection. ©Makeeya Hazelton

Shannon Heaton

(IG: nekosandpiper)
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, in June during the midnight sun season. This place was the most surreal thing I’d ever seen, and if you turn and face the other way, you see a “diamond” beach of icebergs and black sand.

©Shannon Heaton

A white horse shot on Polaroid yellow duochrome film on Black Friday in November, nearby the Underground Railroad experience trail in Sandy Spring Md.

©Shannon Heaton

Roland Johnson

I’m grateful to the people who brought lights to the Cosplay PortraitMeet, and the models for posing so gracefully. This is going to sound silly, but this kind of photo has been in my bucket list, and in the back of my head since … the early ’80s, maybe? I saw a lot of well-lit subjects with a sunset in the background and always wanted to take a photo, and the opportunity arose.

The Backlit Models. ©Roland Johnson

I’ve gotten interested in long exposure photography, especially with the ND filter I got in late 2022.

Ghostly at Gallery Place / Chinatown. ©Roland Johnson

Gloria Jones

One of my favorite photos from 2023 was taken in Seattle this summer. I happened to capture this woman who was training her dog as the sun was about to set behind Pike’s Place Public Market Center. 

©Gloria Jones

Country roads while they may lead you home; they led me to another favorite photo that I was took at the end of 2023 while road tripping through West Virginia. 

©Gloria Jones

Miki Jourdan

(IG: mikijourdan; Flickr)

I love it when I can capture a person’s true emotions when taking their photo. This first shot was taken during Fiesta DC, and I think it captures a bit of apprehension experienced by this young performer.

©Miki Jourdan

In contrast, the young dancer at the front of this line, performing at a recital at Dance Flamenco DC, seems ready to take on the world.

©Miki Jourdan

Kim Keller

(IG:; website)
I love finding the unusual among the ordinary and seeing people enjoy themselves. The solo Stormtrooper in his unexpected t-shirt surrounded by ordinary people was a find.

Awesomecon. ©Kim Keller

I was looking at the skaters when I took this, but I really enjoy the faces of the audience members. It’s wonderful to see unguarded joy and wonder on the faces of adults as well as children.

Adams Morgan Day. ©Kim Keller

Rob Klug

(IG: osoikame)

Two of my favorite places to visit in DC with my camera are Freedom Plaza and Rock Creek Park.  When not being used for a demonstration or rally, Freedom Plaza is home to some of DC’s most talented skateboarders.  I especially love the challenge of trying to capture a skateboarder during a jump. 

©Rob Klug

I hike through Rock Creek Park several times a week and am always on the lookout for my two owl friends, “Teo and Portia”.  I was very lucky to get this photo of them together a few weeks ago.

©Rob Klug

Marci Lindsay

(IG: marcislindsay; website)
This was taken in NYC in January, in the theater district (‘Hamilton’ fans will know this!). I thought it seemed an interesting door to perhaps juxtapose with a passerby. To get the scene, I would have to stand in the middle of the street, so I stood across the street and carefully moved into the street when I could. I waited there for a bit, which is hard for my impatient self to do, but it paid off this time when I got a delivery guy who looks like he’s dancing with the door. I call it ‘Broadway Number.’

©Marci Lindsay

This photo was taken in Tokyo in March. It rained nearly the whole time we were there, but I was there to make pictures, dammit, so make pictures, I did. And not surprisingly, most of them feature umbrellas! After walking around in a cold rain for a few hours with part of the gang from VoidTokyo, and while patiently (and thankfully) standing around waiting to go inside for the rest of the workshop, I took this photo on famous Takeshita Street.

©Marci Lindsay

Angela N.

(IG: angelaon; Flickr)
I loved watching the Andean bear cubs this year!

©Angela N.

Van Ngo

It was rather hard to decide a favorite image for 2023. As with past years, there are plenty of bad, plenty of acceptable and plenty of “Oh wow, I took that?” moments. This one best represents my persona with a camera. The curiosity of what’s in my line of view and the execution of a quick snap.

©Van Ngo

Kelly Paras

(IG: flipflopcaravan)
From architectural details to a new farmyard friend, these are two of my favorite images from the past year. The precise repetition of the south-facing facade of the US Capitol Building can be difficult to see, but it comes to life at just the right angle.

©Kelly Paras

In the spring, I took myself on a solo retreat to a working farm and equestrian center in rural Pennsylvania. Virgil the mini donkey stole my heart and a significant amount of space on my memory card.

©Kelly Paras

Victoria Pickering

(IG: vpickering, Flickr)

This photo of cleaning and repairing the Statue of Freedom on top of the Capitol dome is my favorite of 2023 because of the complex history it represents. The statue has been a symbol of freedom since it was raised on top of the Capitol in 1863, but Philip Reid, an enslaved man, was instrumental in its construction, and Jefferson Davis was in charge of the project when he was Secretary of War.

©Victoria Pickering

Russ Rumelt

(IG: llkoolwhip)
A Foggy Day at the Reflecting Pool.

©Russ Rumelt

Mark Schneider

(IG: markschneiderphoto)
I’ve wanted to photograph the 395 overpass for quite a while and felt that the location was perfect for a large format film photo. The underpass photo was shot on a Tachihara 4×5 field camera and because of the high contrast, I needed to utilize zone development processes. When I pulled the negative out of the tank, I was stunned. These two are by far, my favorite images of the year, if not ever (for black and white, that is).

©Mark Schneider
©Mark Schneider

Rimma Tsyhichko

[Editor’s note: Rimma is a reader of this blog from Ukraine.]
(Viewbug profile)
The first photo shows one of our metro stations. It was dangerous to install a Christmas tree in our main square because of the war so our local authorities decided to decorate some stations and to give us the chance to feel the holiday atmosphere.

©Rimma Tsyhichko

In the second photo, you can see our beautiful winter.

©Rimma Tsyhichko

Jeff Vincent

(IG: jeff.vers2.0; Flickr)
Here is my favorite photo from last year. It was taken at DC’s Rubell Museum and captures a woman focused on the giant canvas “Sleep” (2008) by artist Kahinde Wiley, who later painted a famous portrait of Barack Obama. I love the contrasts between the two figures: One is larger than life, very casually posed and barely covered; the other appears much smaller in comparison, stands with good posture and is conservatively dressed. Nonetheless she is fully engaged with her subject!

©Jeff Vincent

Lisa A. Walker

(IG: shotsfromthedark)
At this show the artist, Griffin Washburn, asked for a volunteer to “raft surf” across the audience, as opposed to just crowd surfing, and it was amazing. The volunteer, floated around/above the audience in a watermelon raft for a good 15-20 minutes while the artist and the audience cheered and sang songs.

Goth Babe. ©Lisa A. Walker

The Foo Fighters opening of The Atlantis (a younger sibling of the 9:30 Club meant to be a replica of the original 9:30 Club) in a 450-capacity setting. It was insanely incredible, and I was one of two photographers lucky enough to photograph it. (As an IMP photographer, they did a random drawing/selection to determine who would be shooting the show because so many wanted to shoot it.) Even though I was only able to shoot for about two songs, I was able to stay for the whole show and I am a huge fan.

Foo Fighters. ©Lisa A. Walker

Joe Willmore

(IG: willmorephoto)
This is my very first shot of 2023—taken at Mason Neck District Park—fungi on a tree in winter.

©Joe Willmore

This is my very last shot of 2023—a sunset on Broomes Island, MD.

©Joe Willmore

Join the Conversation


  1. What an amazing array of subject matter and photo styles! Every shot is a real winner. I feel honored to have been included. All the best to my fellow photographers in 2024. Thanks.

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