He sent his first views instantly from 500 feet above city. Quintano chosen for 'Instameet' at Washington Monument

Gene Robbins

When the Washington Monument was reopened May 12 following repair of earthquake damage, Hillsborough resident Anthony Quintano was one of the first people to ride to the top.
 
The federal Department of Interior turned to modern media to help publicize the event, hosting its first-ever Instameet. Twelve of the department’s Instagram followers from across the country were selected to be among the first to go to the top of the iconic monument — before it opened to the general public.
 
One was Mr. Quintano, a social media mega-user. He said he was considered an "Instagram influencer."
 
The professional photographer and news content producer has 29,000 followers on Instagram, 17,000 on Twitter and 140,000 on Facebook. He says he tries to post at least one shot per day on his sites.
 
Mr. Quintano applied to the lottery to be selected. "To have somebody notice my work appreciate it is very flattering," he said.
He said the day was "a little hot but with a perfect clear sky." His group stayed about 45 minutes to an hour, and he photographed vistas from the four directions, with postcard-perfect shots of the White House, Jefferson Memorial and reflecting pool.
 
Still, one of his favorite photos, he said, was the group of 12 posing on the lawn with the monument behind them. Mr. Quintano extends the camera on a pole, using a GoPro app triggered by his cell phone.
 
"It’s a technically advanced selfie," he said.
 
Mr. Quintano said he was one of the first people to latch onto Instagram when it was launched to about three years ago, he said. He doesn’t claim to be a journalist, but he trains them in how to use social media.
 
His sites are filled with dramatic and beautiful photos, with several New York City sites. He recently posted the "fly by" when a million rose petals were dumped around the Statue of Liberty.
 
At the Washington Monument, park rangers pointed out cracks and shifted blocks at the top of the 500-foot marble and granite structure at the center of the city. The monument was damaged by the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that rattled the Washington, D.C., area on Aug. 23, 2011. Though structurally sound, internal and external structural damage was discovered in many areas.
 
The repair was a public-private partnership. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recognized philanthropist David Rubenstein for his gift of $7.5 million, or half the cost of repairing the monument. She said the gift continued a tradition of public-private partnerships dating back to the initial construction of the monument in 1848, which was funded by a citizen’s group led by Chief Justice John Marshall.
 
The day’s first elevator ride to the observation area at the monument’s 500-foot level was taken by a group of wounded veterans.
 
"It is only appropriate that those who have sacrificed for our nation should be the first today to reach the top of a monument dedicated to George Washington, a man who reluctantly left private life to serve his country, first as a soldier and later as president," Ms. Jewell said.
 
"Repairing the Washington Monument included the painstaking process of inspecting more than 20,000 stones, repairing cracks, securing loose stones, installing steel supports and repairing extensive damage to the elevator, in addition to completing a thorough seismic study," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said. The job was completed on time and on budget.
 
Public tours of the Washington Monument are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8:30 a.m. each morning at the Washington Monument Lodge on 15th Street, between Madison and Jefferson Drives. Tickets can also be obtained in advance at www.recreation.gov.