Features

  • Behind the Scenes of the IGDC Scavenger Hunt w/ Austin Graff

    Thanks to the popularity of our summer scavenger hunt, we wanted to introduce you to the good human behind all that hard work. Community members know Austin Graff as the man who is everywhere at all times. His curiosity and love for the DMV is inspiring and we are grateful to have benefited from these traits with the scavenger hunt. Austin knows so much about this area and we wanted to explore more about his planning and drive. Enjoy a little BTS for the hunt below.

    What inspired the idea?

    The scavenger hunt was born from three ideas. First, the IGDC team (Holly, Laurie and I) wanted to organize events throughout 2021 to celebrate IGDC’s 10-year anniversary. IGDC is a community of local photographers. We wanted to organize a fun event celebrating local photographers through daily features and giving out prizes to our members. Enter the IGDC 10-Year Anniversary Scavenger Hunt. Secondly, as vaccinations went up, cases went down and the city reopened, we wanted to launch an event that encouraged people to get outside and have fun. Photographers are often explorers. A scavenger hunt encourages exploration. Thirdly, we wanted to support local businesses, those hit hardest by the pandemic. Giving prizes from local businesses introduces our community to restaurants and shops across Washington, D.C.

    How did you plan it out?

    Originally, we wanted to do a virtual scavenger hunt hidden throughout the #igdc Instagram feed. As the city started to reopen, we pivoted to an outdoor scavenger hunt. Every day for eight days straight, we’d hide prizes at the locations in our daily features. Once we realized it was risky to hide gift cards at one location, we created an IGDC IOU card. Once found, the winner sent us a photo of them with the card. We’d announce the winning prizes on our Instagram Story. That meant, one of us from the IGDC team woke up early to hide the cards before the crowds formed.

    Were there specific locations that were important for you to include?

    Being a community made of people from all parts of Washington, D.C. and the region, it was important to represent every D.C. quadrant. Being the most populous quadrant, we didn’t want to just focus on Northwest. We hid a card in Southwest Waterfront, East of the River’s Anacostia Park and several in Northeast. We included parks, memorials and off-the-beaten-path spots. Selfishly, I was happy to include my favorite memorial- the Titanic Memorial along the Washington Channel.

    Did you think you’d hide one so well no one would find it?

    Having participated in past scavenger hunts, I was empathetic (probably too much) to people who spent hours searching. The cards got progressively harder, but we made sure we’d drop clues on our IG Story. The longest it took someone was four hours!

    Photos by Adelynn Graff


  • Processes and Permission Slips

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    Processes and Permission Slips

    In collaboration with Phillips Collection’s month-long community project, Community in Focus: Responding to the Year 2020, we asked photographers Birch Thomas and Angela Pan to share a dozen pieces of advice about creating meaningful photos.  The workshop took place on November 22nd and you can watch it in its entirety here.

    In this workshop, you’ll hear stories behind their photos from the front lines of documenting both everyday life and historic moments of 2020. Learn specific methods for using your camera as a tool to observe the changing world around you, create moments of presence, process emotion, and give yourself permission to try new things behind the lens.

    Visualize & Prepare

    Before you even pick up your camera envision the type of photographs you want to take. Be aware of your mindset. Hype yourself up for a great photo session. Photo by Birch

    Remain Present

    Eliminate distractions to heighten all of your senses. Start to observe your environment and notice the changes in your surroundings as you walk around. Photo by Angela 

    Follow Your Intuition

    Let your instincts lead the way. Photo by Birch

    Choose Your Background

    Find a location that speaks to you and frame the scene. Sometimes you choose your background first and wait for a subject to enter the frame. Photo by Angela

    Anticipate the Decisive Moment

    Position yourself to capture the split second that tells a story. Observe life through the viewfinder and let the moment unfold in front of you. Photo by Birch

    Framing

    Wide vs Details. Establish the scene with wide shots or develop intimacy with close-ups. Photos by Angela 

    Ask Yourself, What Caught My Eye?

    Find a way to let the viewer feel what you felt at that moment. This is what caught my eye… 

     

    This is the photo I created to combine the two things that caught my eye. Photos by Birch

    The Emotional Connection

    Capture the energy you observe in others. How does the photo make you feel? Photo by Angela

    Human Moments

    Co-create mutual connections to capture memorable portraits. The type of energy you give is the energy you receive. Photo by Birch

    Resistance

    We all feel it. Push through. You will thank yourself later. Photo by Angela

    Familiar Subject, Fresh Perspective.

    Move your body to find new perspectives. Get low or try a different angle with your camera. Photo by Birch

    When All Else Fails, Follow The Light.

    Photo by Angela

    Thanks again to Birch and Angela for putting together the workshop and creating these tips. We hope you use these tips and give yourself permission to try something new.

    If you have any questions about this workshop or photography in general, feel free to contact Angela at [email protected] or Birch at [email protected]. Birch has also created a wonderful guide on 20 Places to Go to Take Pictures in Washington, DC on Instagram.


  • The Lawn at the National Building Museum

    On Independence Day we had the pleasure of previewing The Lawn at the National Building Museum. This is their 6th Summer Block Party installation and it’s great fun.

    Designed by @labatrockwellgroup, DC’s newest summer destination features one big sloping field (yes, you can roll down—we tested it!) with hammocks galore and spots to sit and relax. One really cool feature is the tower overlooking the lawn. The height offers visitors a view not seen in a typical visit and we loved getting that perspective.

    Grab your camera, plop down on a blanket and listen to the sounds of summer.

    More about the Lawn on the NBM website

    View this post on Instagram

    🌤 #EMPTYLAWN #LAWNDC #DAVIDROCKWELL

    A post shared by kiki (@kipdynamite) on

    The Lawn runs from July 4th to September 2nd, 2019.


  • The 14 Best Cocktail Bars in DC: the Instagrammers Guide

    Beer is to Portland, Denver, Asheville, and Grand Rapids as cocktails are to Washington, D.C. Even as more breweries and distilleries emerge throughout the city, Washingtonians still like their cocktails. Whether it’s the bars on Capitol Hill catering to politicians or the outdoor patios on U Street for young professionals, both worlds center menus around cocktails.

    After living in the city for 12+ years and consuming more than just a few cocktails, I’ve ranked the best cocktail bars in DC around four categories:

    1. Quality of cocktails
    2. Vibe: the atmosphere it creates
    3. Neighborhood: how accessible and entertaining the neighborhood is (afterall, most cocktail bars are just one stop in a long arrangement of evening plans)
    4. Gram-ability: how photogenic the bar it is (since this blog is published by and for the DC Instagram community).

    As you read through the list, keep in mind this is one person’s opinion. I see dissent as a good thing. The fact that people will disagree with my picks means our city has a lot to offer.

    We have such a strong cocktail bar scene that it’s impossible to objectively decide on the top.

    Nonetheless, here is my list of the best cocktail bars in Washington DC:


    CopyCat Co on H Street NE

    Copycat Co. (Photo credit: @hellococktails)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Although Copy Cat’s menu offers a wide range of classic cocktails, many patrons go with bartender’s choice, a sure sign of trust in the quality of cocktails. The bartender will ask you one or two questions about preferences and will return with a drink perfect for you. The wide range of knowledge among the bartenders caters to all types from liquor forward to sweet drinks. It’s often reported that the top bartenders in the city go to CopyCat for a drink.

    Vibes: 4 out of 5

    • The bottom floor is a small Chinese street food shop selling potstickers, bao, and skewers. Take the stairs to the second level to discover the bar. They keep the tight space unassuming by ushering a small bowl of goldfish crackers to each table.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • If you don’t live near H Street NE, it can feel like a hike, but once there, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to hop from. The street offers top rated ramen, delicious pies, and even indoor putt-putt golf. There’s plenty to keep your evening going.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • CopyCat is unassuming. It’s not divey, but there aren’t any colorful mosaics and marble bar counters like other D.C. cocktail bars. It’s small, dark, and not conducive to photography. I love that about CopyCat, but if you’re going for the ‘gram, think again. The only way to get a decent photo is by using the candles on each table to light it.

    copycatcompany.com
    CopyCat on Google Maps
    @copycatco


    Las Gemelas in Union Market

    Las Gemelas by @austinkgraff

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • “The Twins” in Spanish, Las Gemelas is two restaurants- a taqueria and a more fancy restaurant/bar. The taqueria’s menu includes different kinds of margaritas- classic, mezcal, skinny and frozen strawberry coconut. The fancy restaurant/bar crafts eight different cocktails using ingredients like dragonfruit, clarified pineapple and pomegranate. Cocktails are $7 during happy hour and hit all palates.

    Vibes: 4 out of 5

    • Located within La Cosecha, a Latin American food hall and market, Las Gemelas comes with flair. A massive outdoor patio at both, customers enjoy their cocktails while watching the hustle and bustle of nearby Union Market. The design inside and out brings Latin America to Washington, D.C.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • With Union Market, a top food hall, and La Cosecha, the area is vibrant. There are the original mom and pop shops of Union Market like Mexican Fruits selling fresh produce and new restaurants and shops like St. Anselm and Byrdland Records. With large parking lots, bikeshare stations and the NoMa- Gallaudet U Metro Station nearby, it’s an easy area to find.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • With slick tiles and fluorescent lights, it’s always summer at Las Gemelas. Add a spacious outdoor patio and bright cocktails, it’s easy to snap a good photograph.

    lasgemelasdc.com
    Las Gemelas on Google Maps
    @lasgemelasdc


    Trouble Bird in Navy Yard

    Trouble Bird by @austinkgraff

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Ranging between $14 and $17 for their normal cocktails, fourteen cocktails grace the menu, including two frozen and two large format drinks. Most cocktails are organized into two categories- “Breakfast For Dinner” and “Classics-ish.” Classics come with a spin like the avocado and bay leaf in the daiquiri. (It’s refreshingly sour!) 

    Vibe: 4 out of 5 

    • The space is small, but it works. With quirky wallpaper and dimly-lit lights, the space is simple yet beautiful. There’s a small bar with seating, a few high top tables and cushioned seats along the side wall. Service is chill yet masterful in their craft, rubbing confidence off of every patron. One thing to note is that sometimes the music is playing very loudly so plan accordingly. 

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • Rapidly-developing Navy Yard is the bud of every D.C. joke with its high rise apartment buildings and manicured park, but no one can fault them for having many restaurants, an outdoor museum about transportation, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and proximity to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station. 

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • The dim space creates a photography challenge, but if you use the candles on the tables strategically, you’re bound to get a good shot. The quirky wallpaper and plants placed throughout make for good photos. 

    troublebirddc.com
    @troublebirddc on Instagram
    Trouble Bird on Google Maps


    Denson Liquor Bar in Chinatown

    Denson Liquor Bar (Photo credit: @calzasofrench)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • There are nine cocktails on the menu each well balanced and complex. Most are between $15-$16, but the caviar martini costs $26. The bartenders can also mix you any off the menu cocktail.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in the basement of a Chinatown building giving it a speakeasy feel. There’s a long bar in the back with small tables scattered throughout. It can get crowded, but if you get a booth, it’s perfect for a small group of friends.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • It’s not as hip as Shaw or Dupont Circle, but there is plenty to do in Chinatown. Denson Liquor Bar is right next to the Capital One Arena making it a great spot after a concert or game.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The lights are dimmed, but what you can see is gorgeous. The bar itself, with its low lighting and beautiful countertop, is worth photographing.

    densondc.com
    Denson Liquor Bar on Google Maps
    @densondc


    600T in Shaw

    600T Cocktail bar (Photo Credit: @ann_adventure)

    Cocktails: 3 out of 5

    • Priding themselves in creating “innovative cocktails,” 600T’s menu is 30+ cocktails deep, including an entire section for martinis. Each cocktail is an art piece, coming in fancy glasses and garnishes. As you navigate down the menu, notice the symbols noting which liquor comes from minority-owned companies. The “Singani Ice” is a refreshing summer cocktail fruit forward. Where some of the cocktails lack balance, they make up for it in creativity.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • 600T is what you want a cocktail bar in Washington, D.C. to be. In the basement of a rowhouse, you walk into a dark, candle-lit space with speakeasy vibes. There’s an outdoor back patio decorated with a newly-painted mural.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • Right next to the Howard Theater, it’s in Shaw, a lively neighborhood close to the U Street Metro Station and a plethora of bars and restaurants. Being in a popular neighborhood, reservations are recommended.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • Giving off speakeasy vibes, you’ll want to take out your camera to document the evening. However, lighting can be tough at 600T. If you take a photo, use the candles and table lights to light your cocktail. It will make the detail of the cocktail pop more.

    600Tdc.com
    600T on Google Maps


    Cotton & Reed near Union Market

    Cotton & Reed Cocktail Bar (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • The drink menu is written on the wall and changes often. Being a rum distillery, most of their drinks include rum (usually white rum). The bartenders are nice and make you feel part of the Cotton & Reed family.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in a restored warehouse literally across the street from Union Market, D.C.’s beloved food hall. It gives off an industrial feel, and the bartenders are kind. They also offer distillery tours.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • It’s right next door to Union Market, D.C.’s largest food hall. However, outside of that, there isn’t much nearby unless you want to walk to Ivy City to the north or NoMa to the west.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Because it’s well lit, the high ceiling and exposed pipes make for a good Instagram photo. For the real money shot, take it from the outside looking in when the giant window is up during the summer.

    cottonandreed.com
    Cotton & Reed on Google Maps
    @cottonandreed


    barmini in Penn Quarter

    barmini cocktail (Photo credit: @canonhirschler)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Arguably the most innovative cocktails in Washington, D.C., barmini’s menu includes 100 of them, including several cocktail flights. With such a large menu, these are some of the best cocktails DC has to offer and there is something truly something for everyone on the menu. If you’re overwhelmed, asked the bartender to guide you.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Don’t let the sterile building fool you. Once inside, you’re in what seems more like a quirky science lab (cocktails can be seen mixed in beekers). To further the quirks, each chair is different from the chair with antlers to the swinging nest chair.

    Neighborhood: 3 out of 5

    • Penn Quarter is built for day time workers, but more and more restaurants open later are opening nearby. Close to the National Mall and near key hotels, there’s growing incentive to expand the food scene in this part of town, but the boom hasn’t come yet.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • If you want to wow your followers, snap a photo of your colorful drink or the quirky chair you’re sitting on. The bar with it’s science lab feel makes for a stunning photo too.

    minibarbyjoseandres.com/barmini
    barmini on Google Maps
    @barminibyjose


    Morris American Bar in Mt. Vernon Square

    Morris American Bar (Photo credit: @coryandthecity)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Every cocktail is $13 and most use three ingredients creating a simple, yet bold drink. You can’t go wrong from their seasonal menu, but if you’re daring, ask the bartender to make you a drink off menu. You won’t be disappointed.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • If the Great Gatsby visited Washington, D.C., he’d come here. This bar is more fancy than the others, but the bartenders make you feel welcomed (even if you’re dressed more casually). It’s a great spot for an after work cocktail with a colleague.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • At first glance, the neighborhood seems dominated by the Convention Center. However, if you look past that, you’ll find Blagden Alley and Shaw are within walking distance offering some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • This bar is literally inside the Convention Center, which is in need of a design refresh. Despite that, Morris American Bar is shockingly beautiful. The simple tables play well against the blue tiles on the walls.

    morrisbardc.com
    Morris American Bar on Google Maps


    All Souls Bar in Shaw

    All Souls Bar (Photo credit: @graves33)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Their website says they craft “simple cocktails with care.” They may be simple, but they aren’t sparse. There are 34 cocktails on the menu with numbers rather than names. Each for $10, you can order the “No 1” or the “No 34.” If you’re adventurous, the No 11 includes smokey pickled carrot.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • If hipsters built a dive bar, it would be All Souls. It’s no-frills in design and attitude, yet clean and inviting. There’s a wrap around bar and the menu says there’s an open food policy (you can bring outside food in).

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in Shaw, which is home to a number of good restaurants and bars. If you want even more options, U Street is just around the corner offering dozens and dozens of after hour restaurants and bars. On weekends, it’s an especially lively scene.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The no-frills design plays to its favor. The brick walls, wrap around bar, and frosted globe lights make for a good photo.

    allsoulsbar.com
    All Souls Bar on Google Maps
    @allsoulsbar


    Jane Jane in Logan Circle

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Organized by liquor, there are 34 different cocktails on the menu, including two non-alcoholic ones. They have five house cocktails and cocktails mixed with gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka and cognac. Offering a diverse menu, there’s something for every taste. Enjoying more sweet and sour drinks, the margarita came recommended. For a stiffer drink, order the “Saratoga,” a cognac and rye whiskey drink made with angostura bitters.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • In a small space along a busy street, Jane Jane is cozy. The staff welcome you like family and guide you through the menu. Adding to the homey feel is a snack menu that includes favorites like house made pimento cheese and onion dip. From the design to the menu, it gives welcoming vibes.  

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • A short ten-minute walk from the U Street Metro, it’s along Logan Circle’s 14th Street NW. Surrounded by countless restaurants, shops and bars, the neighborhood is one that you can make a night of it. 

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • It’s small, but well designed. The tiles on the floor go up the wall into vintage wallpaper that just works. Booths for parties of four, tables for two in the back, bar seating and window seating, they make good use of the space. Find an excuse to use their all-gender bathrooms. With yellow tiles and vintage wallpaper, they could very well win a bathroom design award. (Do those exist?)

    janejanedc.com
    Jane Jane on Google Maps
    @JaneJaneDC


    Gravitas in Ivy City

    Gravitas (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • In fine dining, you’d assume all the energy goes to the food. Nope, not here. The cocktails are just as good. If you like sweeter drinks, order the Southern Butterfly or the Water Lily. The first comes with origami art and the second is the most complex sweet cocktail in the city. For an excellent stiff drink, order the Chesapeake Rum Runnin’.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • “Stunning.” It’s what you say when you walk into this former warehouse. The bar is in the very front with simple seating in the back. There are a few tables in the loft, and they recently opened a rooftop garden where cocktails are served. Since it’s a fancy restaurant, expect impeccable service.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • The Metro doesn’t go to Ivy City, and parking can be hard to find, but if you do venture out, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. This neighborhood is where most of the city’s distilleries are, including female-owned Republic Restorative and local gin maker New Columbia Distillery.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • The bar’s backdrop is a white washed brick wall, open ceiling, and glasses, bottles and plants perfectly placed on five wooden shelves. If the hanging plants throughout the restaurant aren’t enough, photograph the loft. Every corner is worth capturing.

    gravitasdc.com
    Gravitas on Google Maps
    @gravitasdc


    Silver Lyan in Penn Quarter 

    Silver Lyan (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • From an award-winning mixologist and his passionate team comes a menu with fan favorite cocktails, classy Jell-O shots and a D.C.-inspired menu. If you flip through the D.C.-inspired cocktails, each one honors the local D.C. that many tourists don’t see like the go-go music-inspired drink. There’s even a cocktail celebrating D.C.’s Ethiopian community. 

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Inside the historic bank that helped purchase Alaska from Russia, Silver Lyan is in an old vault. Pass a giant gumball machine into a dimly-lit space with a bar and two dining rooms. The back room is decorated by trophies won by women lining lit glass cabinets. The vibe screams speakeasy with an accessible class. 

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • Located in Penn Quarter, you won’t find as much culture as neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, Congress Heights or H Street N.E. But you will find museums, sculptures, fine dining and several Metro stations, making Silver Lyan accessible to all. 

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Historic bank, giant gum ball machine, speakeasy vibes, Silver Lyan is easy on the ‘gram. It’s dark, but the appropriately placed lights help photos shine. Ask the bartender for the back story of your drink for a more in-depth caption. 

    silverlyan.com
    Silver Lyan on Google Maps
    @silverlyan


    O.K.P.B. in Mount Pleasant

    OKPB (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Every Monday through Saturday, the bartenders at O.K.P.B., Mount Pleasant’s new
      speakeasy write the cocktail menu on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard. The
      menu describes five rotating cocktails and a “bartender’s choice,” each $14. Order
      the bartender’s choice. It’s the truest test of a bar worth their salt. O.K.P.B. hits the
      mark every time. Order one, two, three, each will be different, stretch your palate
      and leave you wanting a fourth.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s a true speakeasy as modern speakeasies come. Above a dentist office, ring the
      doorbell. A bartender will open it, take your name and text you when a table is
      ready. It’s first come, first served. Once inside, you’ll enter a dim, small space with a
      few tables and a bar in the back. The lighting, décor and atmosphere speak intimate,
      yet approachable. It feels like an old friend.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s along Mount Pleasant’s main street surrounded by local restaurants, bars and
      shops. If there’s a wait, walk down Mount Pleasant Street N.W. and stop into The
      Raven, a beloved neighborhood dive bar. Or find the many murals on the sides of
      buildings and down alleys. Or wander the neighborhood finding grand houses built
      a hundred years ago.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The very dim light makes it hard to capture photos, but if you’re strategic about the
      little lighting, a photo will pop. The simple, yet quirky decorations on the walls (and
      in the bathrooms) work.

    O.K.P.B. on Google Maps
    okpbdc.com


    Astoria DC in Dupont Circle

    Astoria (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Bartenders often say they unwind at H Street NE’s CopyCat. When its owner decided to open Astoria, the competition started to sweat. Borrowing from a similar cocktail menu as CopyCat, the drinks are consistent, balanced, and just darn good.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Astoria welcomes all. When you walk in, you’ll notice the royal blue booths the and white tile floors. Before you are intimidated, notice the bartenders are dressed casually. They also cook really good (and spicy) food like the chili wontons.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s along Dupont Circle’s 17th Street with plenty to do nearby. Within several blocks from Astoria DC is a quirky frozen yogurt shop (Mr. Yogato), a Nordic cafe (Mikko), and Thai fine dining (Little Serow). If all else fails, take a stroll through Dupont Circle enjoying the brownstones and embassies.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • The space is small, but the beauty great. It has everything an Instagrammer would want from royal blue booths and chairs that pop to a mosaic sign along the bar. The lighting is not as dim as other bars encouraging photography.

    astoriadc.com
    Astoria DC on Google Maps
    @astoria_dc


    Since DC is full of so many great cocktail bars this list could easily been much longer. While you’re heading out for a cocktail in DC you should also check out these instagrammable spots in DC.

    Let us know your favorite cocktail bar in the comments!


  • Photos from ZooFari: Bite Night

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    Photos from ZooFari: Bite Night

    One evening, every spring the National Zoo turns into a culinary wonderland for their biggest fundraiser of the year.  IGDC had the pleasure of attending Zoofari: Bite Nite for the second year in a row on May 16th.

    The annual fundraiser features dozens of DC restaurants and local beer and regional wines add to the revelry. Adding live entertainment, a silent auction, a VIP lounge and exciting animal encounters with small mammals and great apes, and this is the perfect night on the town for any animal lover and foodie. We had the best time exploring and capturing the event’s fun and highly recommend it as a must-do next year.


  • Spy Museum Expands to a New Building (Photos)

    A week before it debuted the new Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners building in L’Enfant Plaza, The International Spy Museum invited us to sneak a peek at the redesigned, bigger and bolder museum.

    The museum is the first and only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage. Interactive displays, videos and artifacts help explain “why we spy” and “how we spy”. The address change gave the museum a unique advantage to update EVERYTHING all at once; included are updated technologies and new stories and historical accuracies.

    On our visit we received a introductory brief and our new agent badges and were then let loose to explore the architecture and exhibitions. The building is pretty remarkable and brings a modern update to the brutalist landscape of L’Enfant Plaza. Included in the design is a panoramic rooftop view of the National Mall and the Wharf. It’ll be a great spot for photographers. Another highlight is the infinity room where you can stand amid scrolling code and flashing alarm lights which create a mesmerizing Matrix-style experience.

    The new building will engage visitors of all ages and espionage interests and has plenty for photographers to capture.

    https://www.instagram.com/austinkgraff/p/BxBfSbuhlQX/

    In addition to these photos you can experience the new Spy Museum Building in the video below.


  • Photos of the Cherry Blossom Pop Up Bar in DC

    DC’s hottest pop up bar is back! just in time for cherry blossom season. Drink Company‘s latest pop up bar is a festive cherry blossom themed bar. With creative cherry blossom themed cocktails and ramen in the back you’ll want to check out this unique bar.

    Note: These photos are from 2019 and the bar isn’t planned on being open again.

    The pop up consists of 3 unique bars.

    The largest bar in the front is a pink paradise with pink cherry blossoms decorating the ceiling.

    The second bar is similar to the first but with all white cherry blossoms.

    Planning a trip to the cherry blossoms?
    Read: Washington DC Cherry Blossom Guide

    In the back there is a ramen bar that has a massive noodle structure on the wall and the mural ‘send noods‘ on the wall.

    If you’re planning to visit we recommend arriving early since there is typically a line forming for when they open at 5pm.

    You can find the Cherry Blossom PUB at 1841 7th St NW, DC. The pop up will run through Feb 28th thru April 21st 2019.

    Follow the latest from Drink Company on Instagram.


  • The 18 Most Instagrammable Places in Washington DC

    We all know how hard it can be to fill your Instagram feed with beautiful photos. 📷

    After years of featuring photos on Instagram via IGDC we’ve found some of the best places to photograph in DC. From typical places like the Tidal Basin and Washington Monument to less travelled spots like Blind Whino and Blagden Alley there is something here for locals and travelers.

    So grab your camera and hop on the metro;
    here are our favorite places to Instagram in Washington DC:


    1. Culture House DC (formerly Blind Whino)

    DC’s most colorful church can easily turn heads with its incredible mural. In addition to the exterior; Blind Whino also offers art shows inside which can be found on their website.

    700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

    Blind Whino in DC by @golightly

    2. The National Arboretum

    On a nice day a stop by the National Arboretum is a must. With acres of scenic fields, trails, and the Capitol Columns you can spend a couple of hours exploring the Arboretum.

    The Arboretum also holds a collection of unique bonsai trees that can be viewed seasonally.

    3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BQZrQ5_hUIo/

    3. Union Market

    Union Market is full of unique shops, coffee shops, and food stands but the outside is remarkable. Covered in murals that change periodically you’re sure to find something to Instagram (plus you can grab an ice cream at Trickling Springs).

    One of the most popular sights at Union Market is the heart wall full of rainbow hearts that was created by Mr. Brainwash for International Women’s Day in 2015.

    1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BY9dn1llGCI/

    4. US Capitol

    The Capitol is hard to miss, in the heart of DC the United States Capitol looks great at anytime of day. Plus if you’re awake for sunrise the Capitol Reflecting Pool offers a fantastic reflection of the Capitol and sky. If you’ve never been to the Capitol it should be high on your list, take a walk around the entire building for its full affect.

    East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl0cy0kAOXV/

    There is much to explore in the National Gallery of Art. Some of the most notable things to see are the light tunnel in the basement and the giant blue Rooster on the roof of the East building. The west building is also full of stunning halls and historical pieces of artwork.

    6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjDCwmaFhTy/

    6. The Line Hotel

    DC Instagrammers love stopping by the lobby of the Line Hotel with their unique stairway with mirror in the corner. They also have a cute coffee shop in the lobby and occasionally have events on the rooftop.

    1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BdaUC0Gghi2/

    Right next to the Capital One Arena in Chinatown is the National Portrait Gallery. Full of impressive hallways and courtyards the Portrait Gallery has plenty of unique art exhibits to photograph.

    8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Kogod courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery

    8. US Botanic Garden

    If you love greenery the Botanic Garden should be right up your alley. With different rooms featuring different environments and unique series of plants it’s a no brainer to stop by. Plus if you’re visiting the Capitol it’s only a few blocks away.

    In addition to plants the Botanic Garden is also decorated for holidays.

    100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001

    Main courtyard of the Botanic Garden

    9. The Watermelon House

    This colorful house is hard to miss with its massive watermelon mural on the side. Whether you’re just taking a photo of the mural or doing a #watermelonjumps it’s a blast to see this colorful mural.

    1112 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BbErRJ-ASW6/

    10. Love Mural in Blagden Alley

    Blagden Alley is loaded with interesting murals, make sure to stop by La Colombe which is one of DC’s best coffee shops.

    Blagden Alley, Washington, DC 20001

    Love Mural in Blagden Alley

    11. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

    The National Mall is a must stop especially the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial. Open all day and night the Reflecting Pool is a awe-inspiring spot everyone should visit at least once.

    2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20024

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BI-1UVQgZOf/

    12. CityCenterDC

    The main alley of CityCenterDC is always decorated for the season, from winter to fall there is always something to photograph at City Center.

    825 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BimvAT0A4NX/

    13. The Wave Wall in Georgetown

    The huge wave mural on the side of a row home in Georgetown is great for taking a portrait in front of.

    3510 O St NW, Washington, DC 20007


    14. The Bridge at Yards Park

    The Yards park has great restaurants but also an impressive bridge that is perfect for portraits.

    355 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BgqfU5Pnz46/

    15. Call Your Mother in Georgetown

    It’s hard to miss this giant pink building in Georgetown. This colorful building houses Call Your Mother which is known for their delicious bagels.

    3428 O St NW, Washington, DC 20007

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CY_uSQ0LJRI/

    16. Chinatown Friendship Arch

    The massive Friendship Arch in Chinatown is a staggering archway that is impressive day or night.

    H St NW & 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Blqol3QglpP/

    17. Union Station

    The grand hall in Union Station has beautifully painted gold ceilings.

    Union Station, Washington DC

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw1lVTKBUDJ/

    18. Artechouse

    One of the newest interactive experiences in DC is Artechouse which features large displays projected on walls.

    1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

    ARTECHOUSE’s In Peak Bloom exhibit by @golightly

    For more Instagram inspiration in Washington DC be sure to check out the #IGDC feed and to tag your photos.

    Let us know your favorite places to Instagram in the comments!


  • The 13 Best Coffee Shops in DC: | The Instagrammers Guide

    If you excluded Starbucks, Washington, D.C. was a coffee shop desert when I first moved here in 2007. Fast forward to 2021, there’s a plethora of quality coffee shops, most of which are independent. In fact, there’s so many good coffee shops that writing a blog of the top 13 is bound to be controversial. There’s such coffee shop diversity that everyone has their favorite one. It means the DC coffee wave is in high tide. ☕️

    Because I have a coffee problem, I’ve visited them all (literally). I’ve ranked this list of the best DC coffee shops based on coffee, vibe (atmosphere, service, and amenities), accessibility (how easy it is to get to without a car) and Instagram-ability.

    Here’s my list of best DC coffee shops in descending order:


    Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville, MD

    Photo of Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville
    Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Arguably the best local coffee brand in the DMV, they do all their roasting out of this flagship shop. Their coffee is perfectly brewed that it doesn’t need any extra add ins (there’s even a sign that says that at their condiment bar).

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • The baristas are usually friendly and seem to love their jobs. They sell a variety of pastries and breakfast items and even bring your food to your table. There’s Wi-Fi only during the weekdays (though some say it doesn’t work on Mac computers).

    Accessibility: 1 out of 5

    • Unless you have a car, it’s just not accessible. The closest Metro is the West Hyattsville Metro and then it’s a 33-minute walk. If you have a car, it’s a short drive from Capitol Hill. Otherwise, Lyft there.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • It’s perfect. They blend the coffee roastery vibe with wall plants and an open floor plan. It’s industrial while still being very hipster.

    vigilantecoffee.com

    Vigilante Coffee on Google Maps

    @vigilantecoffee


    Potter’s House in Adams Morgan NW

    Potter's House Coffee via @caffeinatethecapital
    Potter’s House Coffee via @caffeinatethecapital

    Coffee: 3 out of 5

    • You can find better coffee, but it’s still pretty good and gets the job done. Their cappuccino rivals most.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • It’s been a community center since the 1960s and the bookstore inside maintains that mission. The books are all about activism and the many couches and tables inside encourage people to gather, to build community. It’s also a wonderful place to work with free, reliable Wi-Fi.

    Accessibility: 4 out of 5

    • Not close to any Metro station, it’s a 10-minute walk from the Columbia Heights Metro or a 19-minute walk across a beautiful bridge from the Woodley Park Metro. Multiple Capital Bikeshare stations are nearby.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • It’s not the most hipster of coffee shops to shoot, but it will make your gram look smart with beautiful books in the background of that perfect coffee shot.

    pottershousedc.org

    The Potter’s House on Google Maps

    @pottershousedc #thepottershousedc


    Peregrine at Union Market NE

    Photo of the outside of Union Market
    Union Market by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Peregrine recently transitioned their coffee from Counter Culture to locally roasted Small Planes Coffee (also from the owners of Peregrine). Some customers have noticed the change, but the quality is still up to par.

    Vibe: 3 out of 5

    • It’s a coffee stand inside one of DC’s coolest indoor markets. If you go on a weekend, it’s crowded and you better pray it’s sunny outside so you can find a seat. However, if you go during the day (except when they close on Mondays), it’s a great spot to work. Free Wi-Fi and pastries for purchase from nearby Bluebird Bakery, you can’t go wrong.

    Accessibility: 4 out of 5

    • NoMa Metro is a 10-minute walk, but most people drive as parking is free at Union Market. If you’re into biking, there is a Capital Bikeshare station right outside the market.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • Peregrine really isn’t gramable since it’s just a stand and chances are someone will sneak in your shot. However, Union Market is very picturesque with a simple white sign, plenty of food stands and soaring ceilings to keep the gram cool.

    peregrineespresso.com

    Peregrine Espresso on Google Maps

    @peregrinedc


    The Wydown on H Street NE

    Inside the wydown coffee shop
    The Wydown Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown has their standard menu (espressos, lattes, etc.), but their baristas are experts and can create just about any coffee drink you can imagine.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown has been called “a modern java bar.” It feels more like a cocktail bar than a coffee bar raising the standard of coffee shops everywhere. Despite not having Wi-Fi, they offer plenty of seating. Grab a spot at the bar or venture into The Apollo, the apartment building that houses The Wydown.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • It’s on H Street NE where the Metro misses, but it’s on the end closer to Union Station. It’s a 14-minute walk or you can hop on the free streetcar to save your walking shoes.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown is straight out of Charleston with its beautiful tiles and wooden floor below you and 1960s lights above you. Extra points if you sip on your coffee in The Apollo connected to The Wydown. It’s the most Instagrammed apartment building in the city.

    thewydown.com

    The Wydown on Google Maps

    @thewydown


    Doubles. in Park View NW

    Doubles. by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • They brew Ceremony Coffee from Annapolis, Maryland, a balanced coffee walking the line between smooth and rich.

    Vibe:  4 out of 5

    • Doubles. is like your best friend. The first floor’s beauty invites you in and the second floor’s ping pong table shows you they know a fun time. The baristas are engaging and friendly and the free, strong Wi-Fi keeps you coming back.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • If you don’t mind a brisk walk through a beautiful neighborhood, this place is for you. It’s a 10-minute walk from the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro and an 11-minute walk from the Columbia Heights Metro.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • It’s mid-century modern, minimalist design mixed with perfect lighting ups your Instagram game. Extra points if you capture that latte art on the ping pong table upstairs.

    doublesdc.com

    Doubles on Google Maps

    @doublesdc


    Swings on 14th Street Downtown NW

    Barista at Swing's coffee shop
    Swing’s Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Swings has been roasting coffee in nearby Alexandria for more than 100 years. It’s not as smooth as Ceremony Coffee, but it’s still a decent cup.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • Swings is in the bottom floor of an office building, but sterile it is not. It’s a very light, clean coffee shop with bar seating and a few tables off to the side. They offer free, strong Wi-Fi and pastries, including a good bagel.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • It’s one of the closest coffee shops to The White House and only a 4-minute walk from the Metro Center station.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • Large floor to ceiling windows and a patterned tiled floor encourages you to get out that phone and gram away.

    swingscoffee.com

    Swing’s Coffee on Google Maps

    @swingscoffee #swingscoffee


    The Coffee Bar in Downtown NW

    Barista at The Coffee Bar DC
    The Coffee Bar by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The Coffee Bar proudly serves Annapolis based Ceremony Coffee. It’s smooth and full of flavor, especially their latte.

    Vibe: 3 out of 5

    • It’s small. Physically small with only a few window seats and one long table in the center. Depending on the barista, sometimes you get served ice (and I’m not talking about in your latte), especially if you ask for the Wi-Fi password (they have none).

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • The Coffee Bar caters to the office workers of downtown DC and their hours speak to that (they close on weekends). It’s a 5-minute walk from the Farragut North Metro and even closer to the National Geographic building.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • They have a neon sign. Once cheesy, it’s now a staple of a good gram. Another mark of a good gram is photo worthy latte art and The Coffee Bar is an expert.
    The Coffee Bar Neon Sign

    thecoffeebardc.com

    The Coffee Bar on Google Maps

    @thecoffeebardc #thecoffeebar


    Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale

    Big Bear Cafe by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Big Bear Cafe brews Ceremony Coffee, from roasters in nearby Baltimore, Maryland. They serve all the usual hot drink subjects as well as cold brew and decaf options. If you’re into lattes, theirs is smooth and comforting.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • Weddings are held here. Do I need to say more? With ivy covered walls and a patio full of plants, Big Bear Cafe is like a hidden garden you stumble upon. The charm extends as you walk inside. Wood floors, wood tables, a wood bar, the atmosphere is cozy.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • Big Bear Cafe is in Bloomingdale, a charming neighborhood, but also one that’s cut off from the Metro. The closest station (Shaw Station on the Yellow Line) is a 13-minute walk. If you bike, there’s a Capital Bikeshare station nearby.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Again, weddings are held here, making it one of the most grammable coffee shops in the city. The ivy covered walls on the outside and the wood theme on the inside provide many photo opportunities. Go when the light is just right for a perfect shot!

    bigbearcafe-dc.com

    Big Bear Cafe on Google Maps

    @bigbearcafe


    Maketto on H Street NE

    Maketto by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Nearby Vigilante Coffee roasts Maketto’s coffee and runs their coffee operation upstairs. It’s one of the best lattes in the city and is home to the most Instagrammed drink in the city, their matcha green tea.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • When Maketto first opened, it was the closest thing DC had to Brooklyn, New York. It’s the most minimalistic coffee shop in the city and in a cool neighborhood like H Street NE. If you want to feel cool, spend ten minutes here. There’s Wi-Fi, plenty of seats, and decently friendly baristas.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • It’s a 25-minute walk from the closest Metro (Union Station). Unless you’re in need of more steps to beat your Fitbit challenge, hop on the free streetcar behind Union Station. It will take you right to Maketto.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Again, think Brooklyn, New York. That alone means it’s super gram-worthy. White washed bricks and wood floor inside and an outdoor patio with perfectly placed string of lights. You’re cool just posting about it.

    maketto1351.com

    Maketto on Google Maps

    @maketto1351 #maketto


    La Colombe in Blagden Alley NW

    La Colombe by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The DC flagship location of Philadelphia roastery, La Colombe brews a good cup of coffee. If you have a sweet tooth, ask for the off the menu “sweet latte.” They’ll put out sweetened condensed milk in it changing your life forever.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • It’s in a historic alley. They give back to the world (They support charities like Charity Water). They are cool. All this makes up for the fact that they refuse to get Wi-Fi. Leave your computer at home and bring a book instead.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Metro to the Mt. Vernon Square Metro station and walk three minutes into the nearby alley. It sounds creepy, but you’ll soon realize you’ve stumbled upon one of DC’s hippest spots with top restaurants and a great coffee shop in La Colombe.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Blagden Alley, the most photographed alley in DC, houses La Colombe. Open pipes, exposed brick wall, and a large garage door makes La Colombe worthy of a gram.

    lacolombe.com

    La Colombe on Google Maps

    @lacolombecoffee #lacolombe


    Little Pearl on Capitol Hill SE

    Little Pearl Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 5 out of 5

    • A coffee shop with a Vietnamese iced coffee, a banana latte, and house made white sesame and hazelnut milks can either be a prodigy or a farce. In this case, it proves they are one of DC’s top cafes.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • Little Pearl did an excellent job in creating an on-brand space using a historic cottage. It means they weren’t able to change the structure or layout of the building. Despite that, they create a clean vibe with a few classy quirks (check out the wallpaper in the bathroom to find the best one). Free Wi-Fi, indoor and outdoor seating, the vibe is fine.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Two blocks from the Eastern Market Metro station making it one of DC’s most accessible coffee shops.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • When our DC ancestors built this building many moons ago, they must have predicted Instagram would be a thing. The light is perfect and Little Pearl offers a large outdoor patio and indoor glass enclosed dining room to capture it.

    littlepearldc.com

    Little Pearl on Google Maps

    @littlepearldc #littlepearldc


    Dua Coffee at McPherson Square

    Dua Coffee Counter by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 5 out of 5

    • Dua Coffee is a brand known throughout Indonesia that roasts and brews Indonesian specialty coffee, which is bold in flavor. Despite a bold flavor, they craft a well-balanced latte that rivals Peregrine’s. They also make unique drinks like the “klavee”- espresso, coconut milk, and lemon.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • This cafe is for the people of Indonesia and there’s a lot of pride in the staff and their most loyal customers. That pride is contagious. You want them to win. Also, the staff are friendly and the decor light and welcoming.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Located in the heart of downtown D.C., it’s easy to get to. It’s two blocks from McPherson Metro Station and next door to a Capital Bikeshare dock.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The front of the house is decorated with pottery, white-tiled walls, and lots of natural light. The back has a few soft chairs and simple wooden tables that pop in photos.

    duacoffee.com

    Dua Coffee on Google Maps

    @duacoffee


    Yellow The Cafe at Navy Yard

    Yellow the Cafe by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Blending French technique with Middle Eastern flavor, they carefully brew Counter Culture coffee and add their own twist to it. The menu includes lattes in these flavors- turmeric, halva and date. The coffee comes hot or cold.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • With everything designed in yellow, Yellow The Cafe transports you out of Washington, D.C. into its own world. Inside, order a warm chocolate halva or pistachio croissant. Outside, grab a table on one of two patios. With the river nearby, it’s the place to gather with friends.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Yellow The Cafe is accessible by all types of transportation. A few blocks from the Navy Yard Metro, it’s also along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail making it a popular breakfast spot for runners, joggers and walkers. A Capital Bikeshare docking station and a parking lot are nearby.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5 

    • Despite being in a heavily developed area, Yellow The Cafe pops on Instagram. True to its name, the design is yellow-forward. The door knobs, walls, menu, it’s all yellow. Even the outdoor patio tables and chairs are yellow.

    yellowthecafe.com

    Yellow the Cafe on Google Maps

    @yellowthecafe


    This list of the best coffee shops in DC could easily be a top 25 list so leave a comment with a photo of your favorite coffee shop in the DMV! plus if you’re looking for more places to Instagram in DC read this list.


  • In Bloom: A Photographic Celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

    Every year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival ushers in spring by commemorating the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Japan to the United States of America. The festival celebrates the enduring friendship and close relationship between our two countries with a diverse and creative program which promotes traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community.

    Shop Prints from the Exhibit

    IGDC and Blind Whino SW Arts Club are thrilled to showcase this celebration through the incredible work of local photographers. Each year, the IGDC community tirelessly documents the blossoms and events happening around Washington, DC. Depictions of beauty and style, landscape and environment, and media and programming; come see how do these images define the wide variety and diversity of the festival.

    Come see the beautiful images, as well as a display of local photographer Dagmara Weinberg’s captivating creations, on the walls at Blind Whino between March 24th to April 29th.

    Please support local DC artists with these limited edition prints.  All are priced individually.