O

ne of the benefits of having software finding old files is that they are almost new to me, and certainly to you.

I made this picture on Memorial Day 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

No worries. To me this is just about the picture, nothing more.But I do want to tell you about what I think is a very cool tradition.

Yes. Memorial Day still means what it should mean to the rest of the country. We honor our war dead. The troops that gave their all. The ones who never came home.

But, New Mexicans do something different.

They bring a blanket and a picnic and they sit near the grave of their loved on and enjoy a meal with them. There are toasts and offerings and prayers.

There is one thing which makes New Mexicans like New Orleanians. As I walked around photographing — and you know me, I want people in my pictures — they would ask me to eat with them.

I think refusing a small bite would dishonor both the living and the dead. So, I ate with whoever I photographed. Besides, we got to know each other. And, they were able to enjoy a few pictures that I sent to them.

T

his photograph was made with a Canon G 11. It was my picture a day camera. It was a great little camera. I wore it out. It did everything that I wanted it to do.

Many pixel peepers (folks that go too far in their technical evaluations) say that cameras like this one are not good for much more than just snapshots.

Does this picture look like a snapshot?

Besides, these days most clients want images for online projects. The few who want images for paper uses aren’t using them much bigger than a magazine cover. A camera with a good sensor and processor, no matter it’s classification, is just fine.

That’s the real world.


Way inside.

Memorial Day. If you’ve been around for a while you know what I think. There is no “Happy” to Memorial Day. There are only thoughts of those who never made it home. Those who paid the ultimate price. For freedom. For your hot dog. For your hamburg.

Generally, I feel guilty.

Instead of a flag or cemetery picture I thought that I would post a picture of pure light, pure color. A picture once made in New Mexico.

It’s the food stands at one of the International Balloon Fiestas. In Albuquerque. New Mexico.

That’s not what this post is about. It’s about going deep inside. Finally. Ironically, on a day the we mourn our war dead. My war dead. Your’s too.

It started as a dream. A dream that won’t let go. A dream that’s come back to me four times on two different nights and mornings.

The dream that began in New York. I was returning from a trip with a bunch of other people. The vehicle was so filled up with stuff that I had to stand outside and hang on to he back end.

That was just as well. When we got into the city traffic was so backed up that I just jumped off and walked faster than the cars were going. I needed a way out. I came to a hole and I jumped into it.

No comes the wired part.

I started walking down, down, down. I walked past piles of junk. I walked past abandoned vehicles. I walked until I came to the bottom where everything was just a brownish-gray mud.

I made my way to the surface slowly. Very slowly. There were broken down and used up military vehicles. Some people were working on them. They ignored me. I watched them. The tanks and cannons weren’t blown up. They were used up. They no longer ran because they couldn’t be repaired.

I eventually came to the surface. I was covered in mud. I was gray. I was brown. I went to a locker and changed into newly washed clothes. They were old fashioned dungarees. I had to pass through a sort of check out where I was sent onto the street… in Los Angeles.

I started walking. I knew where I wanted to go. Home. Home was in Long Beach. I started walking in that direction. I passed through all sorts of neighborhoods, all of them run down and broken. The people looked mean but ignored me as I walked.

Eventually, I came to a river…

I awoke.

Making this picture was easy. Maybe, too easy.

Slow the shutter speed down. Set the aperture for F 5.6. Stand tall so that everything doesn’t move. Hit the button.

Done.

Keep things clean in post production and everything is golden.

What I can’t figure out is how my dream lead me to this picture. Or, was it the other way around?

I think the grays and browns lead me here. No matter. There is more of the dream to come. Maybe you’ll find out. I’m still not sure that I did.

Maybe it’s just my reaction to so much drab color. After all, this picture is the antithesis of that. It’s all color.

And, it’s simple. As simple as gray and brown, but the other way around.

There is one thing I sort of understand about my dream. The worn out tanks and cannons come from reality.

The Nazi Germans built a couple of huge tanks. The Tiger and the King Tiger. Allied armament couldn’t penetrate them yet they were defeated.

There were three reasons.

The US armed forces sent five smaller M4 Shermans to attack them. Four were blown up. The fifth got through and was close enough to destroy them.

The Tigers were gas guzzlers. Something like eight gallons to the mile is what it took to move them.

Worse. After about 10 miles they needed an overhaul. They broke down in the field of combat and needed to be repaired.

They were used up.


Katrina return.

Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after
you

Hear the past a callin’, from Armegeddon’s side
When everyone’s talkin’ and no one is listenin’, how can we
Decide?

Do we find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground

Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
(Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground)

Written by Stephen Stills/Wixen Music

Preformed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Battered and broken. We persisted. The Lower 9th Ward. New Orleans.

Memorial Day.

27 May 2019

 


Flowers for the fallen.

Memorial Day.

Flowers for the fallen.

I participated in a couple of events today, so I’m a bit late posting. No matter. Those that I honored are late every day. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.

After a quick scan of Facebook, I saw about a million posts of flags. And, crosses. And, memes. So, as usual, I wanted to do something a little different. I offer these flowers to our fallen heroes.

Two things about service member heroes. Today’s honorees are the only ones who you can legitimately call heroes. It is for those who died in combat. I’m still amazed at the numbers of posts that want to thank a vet or a service member. There are days for that. Today is about those who never made it home. Full stop.

I wish them, as I wish you… Peace.

 


The cost of freedom.

“Daylight again. Following me to bed. I think about a hundred years ago.

How my fathers bled. I think I see a valley. Covered with bones in blue.

All the brave soldiers that cannot get older. Been asking after you.

Hear the past a calling. From Armageddon’s side.

When everyone’s talking and no one is listening. How can we decide?

Do we find the cost of freedom.  Buried in the ground?

Mother Earth will swallow you. Lay your body down. ” —  (Daylight Again & Find the Cost of Freedom) Stephen Stills

The Picture. Morning at the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. It was established in 1866. It is closed to new burials — unless one has been previously scheduled — because it is full. The owner of the land, Henry Cole donated the land for use by both the Union and Confederate forces. That was not to be. Both sides declined. Eventually a compromise was reached. There are remains of 10,312 Union officers and soldiers interred here. And, the ones who came later. The Confederate Cemetery is about a half mile away. It was established in 1863. The remains of some 3,000 Confederate troops from across the southern states are buried, there.

The songs. Stephen Stills wrote “Find the Cost of Freedom” first. It became the ultimate concert closer. When Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), closed with this during their encore set, you knew the show was really at an end. They would sing the song and very softly say “goodnight.” Stills wrote “Daylight Again” well after “Find the Cost of Freedom” as sort of a prequel. The two songs eventually became one.


On Memorial Day.

This. And, this alone.

The Facebook posts are starting. Twitter is tweeting. And, the wheel turns. Folks are thanking everybody who ever served. There is day for this. Veterans Day. People are thanking their uncle, who was a policeman for 30 years. His work meant a lot. I’m sure there is a day for that in your community. Some folks are thanking firefighters. Reach out. The next time you see a fireman in uniform, thank him. Their work means a lot. Most are heroes in some way. After all, when a building is on fire what do we do? We run away from it. Fireman run into the fire. To save your pet.

Memorial Day.

This holiday is for one particular group. The soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who never came home. The ones who gave all of themselves. The ones who died in some forgotten battle. Or, in an unpopular war. Or, in a forgotten war. Monday is for them. Please don’t cheapen their sacrifice be spreading the meaning of the day. Smoothing it so that it is about everybody you ever knew. Pay your respects to them on their birthday. Or something.

One more thing. Here comes the rant. No. Not really. Just a little sadness.

I just saw reader comments in three different places. The writers were talking about how we are at peace. That there are no wars right now. Tell that to the families of the two marines who died in Afghanistan last week. Or, to the family of the soldier who died in Syria a couple of days ago. And, if you believe that the “War on Terrorism” is a war, tell that to the people of Manchester, England.

And, this picture. One Memorial Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I went there to pay my respects. I went there to work. A little. See that young man holding his son. Open this picture up. Read his t-shirt. He was there. I know that because he saw my reflection in the polished marble and he turned around. So, we talked. Since the picture is still enlarged, look at his neck. Strange marks there. Shrapnel wounds from that battle. He knows how lucky he is. He’s home. Holding his little son. Welcome home Marine.

Think about that.

One more thing. RIH Gregg Allman. You didn’t think that I’d forget that did you?


The Marietta National Cemetery
The Marietta National Cemetery

Memorial Day. In the United States, a day to remember those members of the military who never came home.

“All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin’ after you
Hear the past a callin’, from Armageddon’s side
When everyone’s talkin’ and no one is listenin’, how can we decide?

(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
(Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground)

Find the cost of freedom
Buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
Lay your body down”

— Daylight Again/Find the Cost of Freedom — © 1970/1974 Stephen Stills/Gold Hill Music


I didn’t make this picture. I don’t often post others images on this blog, but the image is very, very strong. USMC 1st Marine Division combat photographer Cpl. William Salazar from Las Vegas, Nevada, did. It was made in Anbar Province on October 15, 2004.

It says about all you need to know about Memorial Day and its meaning..


Not just any red. Fuzzy dice red. With an American flag. I thought I’d post this as a walk up to a long Memorial Day weekend. Originally it was called Decoration Day and it was established to honor the Union war dead who were killed during the Civil War (In The United States — for those of my foreign guests). The Confederate war dead were honored on another day in May. It was later expanded to those military who died in all wars and now it has sort of morphed into a day of remembering all dead. At any rate, it’s become family day when people gather to look at fireworks shows, have a barbecue and generally enjoy the bookmark holiday that marks the arrival of summer.

This picture was made at a car show. It has all of the elements. And, it’s mostly read. As you know, I like red. Technical specs? Not many. F8 and be there. Keep your eyes open. Post production was done using Topaz which gave it that grainy feel. I don’t use Topaz very much these days. I use OnOne, which gives me a little more control.