On Saturday, I was photographing an event located near San Bruno, and my wife suggested that I leave early and shoot images of this amazing location before the evening party. What a great idea! Every Memorial Day weekend, the local Boy Scouts of America go out and put an American flag at every tombstone. I have always wanted to photograph this amazing tribute, but never had the time.
Honestly, I was a little worried about the crowds of people that might be there, but as it turned out, I was one of the only people there. I later found out that the cemetery closes at 5pm (I arrived at 4:58pm) but allowed me to be in there until 6pm.
After shooting photos for 45 minutes, I called my wife and all I could say was "Wow, that was spectacular!"
When first arriving at the cemetery, I saw this tribute and thought that it would be perfect for a fish eye lens. I mounted my Sigma 15mm fish eye lens to my Canon 1DX and started to shoot. Wow! I was just amazed at the beauty of this scene. So moving!
To get a different perspective. I got down low to the ground and shot right in front of the flags.
This shot was taken while standing. You can see how different it looks from the previous photo.
Amazingly, Adobe Photoshop has a feature called lens correction where you can tell the software which lens you were using and it will "correct it". This photo is the same photo as the one above it, only corrected in software. Most of the time, I like to leave the fish eye effect, but in this case, I like them both. (Photographer's note: The lens correction feature is found in ACR, 6 buttons over from the left, and is also available in Adobe Lightroom.)
And to try something even more different, I stood tall, pointed the camera down and shot this photo. (Photographer's note: With wide angle and fish eye lenses, the angle at which you shoot is dramatically distorted. This can be used for effect, like you see below, but be careful to shoot straight to the horizon if you want to maintain the most "normal" photo.)
I also had my Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-200 2.8 lens attached, and used this for most of the other photos. It was so beautiful, and yet so sad at the same time. To see this endless sea of tombstones and knowing that so many servicemen were buried here.
As I photographed some close-up shots, and looked at the names of each soldier, it reminded me that this was not just a name on a stone, but someone with a family and a story that I will likely never know.
Photographically, I have always been drawn towards repeating patterns, and I had a hard time dealing with the beautiful repeating pattern, knowing what this represents.
I took this wide shot to show you how big this place is, and this is just one section of the cemetery.
I dedicate this blog entry to all those who have served in the military. If it were not for them, none of us would have the freedom that we so take for granted. Thank you!