Saluting the United States Military on Memorial Day with Two Photographs 

What does this image invoke in you?

I found myself working very late last night (until 5am) on images for my new stock photo agency. Images that I have taken over the years. I ran across one photograph I took back in 2004 in San Diego at the military cemetery on the bluff overlooking the harbor. Every time Monica and I visit San Diego we go there. For some reason the place draws me like nothing else. I was never in the military. I have had controversial views about our country and its role in the world but that is all beside the point.

I have always wanted to take a photograph that would do justice to the peacefulness and beauty of its location but more importantly what it represents. I had forgotten about my images of that place until now. After studying this photograph I decided to use a photographic technique called HDR. I then applied it to this image.

The result was totally unexpected. All I could do was stare at it. As I began to adjust the controls to tweak the image further I found myself being drawn into it like no other photograph I have ever done before. I found myself going back to it over and over as I worked on other images throughout the night.


Saluting the United States Military on Memorial Day with Two Photographs

The first color photo was taken using High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to bring out the colors and high lights.

Saluting the United States Military on Memorial Day with Two Photographs 


I found myself crying and a number of occasions. Why I asked myself? What is it about this image? When you go to the location itself your are immediately over whelmed by the size and scope of the place and sheer numbers of grave markers.

On more than one occasion I have found myself walking among the markers and reading the small short story of that person’s life. I try to imagine what their life was all about and who they were.

Not all that are buried there died in combat but a great many did. What does that say to me? So very many! 

Saluting the United States Military on Memorial Day with Two Photographs

The second B&W photograph was taken with a digital camera that was set to shoot infrared.

Many more cemeteries like this one dot our country and different locations in the world. So many! What price did they pay? As I think about that, I think about the condition of our country today and what they would think? Would they say it was worth it?

I am sad today because of the scope of the question and their ultimate sacrifice. It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat. Liberal or conservative or any shade in between. The real question is what have we become as a nation at this moment in time. Who are we and where are we going. What does the future bring as I look out over the past of this photograph?

Only God knows. This all is not a surprise to him. That, I take much comfort in.

What do these image invoke in you?


Both photographs were taken at the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego on the same day in 2004.


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