Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Capital

This week, the creators of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge invited a guest challenger. Viveka allows us to explore the word “capital” in our own way. As I’ve reviewed challenge responses this week, I noticed many of them focused on one or more capital cities. My first thought was to feature a collection of images from our nation’s capital, Washington DC. I will include a shot from there, but I am going to focus also on some of the other meanings of the word capital. In any case, you can read Viveka’s original challenge post here.

In my opening shot, I feature an image captured at the Money Museum, conveniently located in Colorado’s capital city, Denver. The stack of bills behind the thick glass walls represents 30 million US dollars, a princely sum and plenty of capital to start almost any business. (By the way, I don’t believe all of the bills behind the glass are real. Just the $100 notes that you can see in the top of the stacks.)

Another definition of capital is associated with criminal activity. A capital crime is one that is punishable with the death penalty in those jurisdictions that still have capital punishment. Near the Arizona town of Wickenburg, a gold mine was in operation from 1863 to 1942. The mine is back in production today making this capital business the most productive gold mine in Arizona history. A large tree on the mine property was the implementation of capital punishment for those who attempted to “borrow” some of the mine’s proceeds. Those discovered in the act of gold theft were tried, convicted, and brought to their demise, often on the same day. I’m sure the vision of a colleague swinging from the tree kept many a miner on the straight and narrow.

Probably the most beautiful building in Washington D.C., (our nation’s capital), is the Library of Congress. In the Great Hall, many columns support the multiple arches that, in turn, support the beautifully designed ceiling and roof structure. The top part of a column is known as the capital of the column.

In 1905, the Diamond T company was founded to build vehicles. In 1967, that capital company merged with Reo Trucks and formed an independent company named Diamond Reo. Their trucks boasted a hood ornament in the shape of a diamond with a capital T in the center.

Nashville, also known as Music City, is not only the capital of Tennessee, it’s the undisputed world capital of country music. If you don’t believe me… just ask Google. The image above was captured during a short but heavy downpour on Music City’s Honky Tonk Row.

Featured above, an ornately carved scroll at the top of a violin captured at the Musical Instrument Museum. According to the Cambridge Online Dictionary, there is one more definition of capital. It’s an old-fashioned adjective from the United Kingdom. In Arizona’s capital city of Phoenix, Robert J. Ulrich and Marc Felix had a vision to build a world class musical instrument museum. The museum’s collection of over 13,000 instruments (more than 6000 are on display at one time) is a draw that has won multiple awards, both locally and nationally. The museum’s success proves that the two visionaries indeed had a capital idea.

Thanks to Viveka for allowing me to put on my thinking cap and come up with a response that provides a picture dictionary of the word ‘capital.’

John Steiner


  1. John, thank you so much for playing … and for your take on the topic!! Money museum????!!!! Very interesting. What I have learned from this challenge is that every US state has its’s capital city … Canada the same. We don’t have that … our country has a regional city. That library is stunningly beautiful. The Diamond T company – never heard of .. but that is my favourite image. Learned something new today too.

  2. Great stuff as always.

    While doing research for my third book I “had” to go to the Library of Congress. It was difficult to actually do the research and not just marvel at the building.

  3. Oh my John, you’ve outdone yourself (and the rest of us) with your many capital ideas! Loved your play on the word and especially liked your Nashville image. The hanging tree made me wince and the scroll work on the instrument was gorgeous. Well done!

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