The Battery of Longues-sur-Mer

During a recent trip to France, I had the opportunity to spend the day on a guided tour of Normandy.  It’s hard to describe the emotion one feels when standing on such ground, so I won’t try to do so.  What I will do is to show you some photographs of the area, and give you a little back story, beginning with this shot of the batteries at Longues-sur-Mer.

Built in the first months of 1944, the at Loungues-sur-Mer included four 150-mm guns, housed in casements, located in the middle of the assault sector on the top of a 65 meter cliff overlooking the Channel, and with clear line of sight and in range of  Omaha (American sector) and Gold (British sector) beaches.  In the very early morning hours of 6 June 1944, the French cruiser Georges Leygues and the U.S. battleship Arkansas opened fire on the batteries.  The batteries returned fire, forcing the headquarters ship HMS Bulolo to retreat to a safe distance about one kilometer from the shoreline.  The German guns ceased fire briefly, but then reengaged the allies, continuing to fire until 1900 hours (7pm for you civilians).  While three of the four guns had been disabled by the British cruisers HMS Ajax and Argonaut, the batteries, along with 184 men, did not surrender to the British until the following day.  (Creative notes:  For inspiration, I post-processed this photograph and wrote the post while listening to the awesome Band of Brother’s score.  I shot the photograph below as the sun was still rising over Normandy, using my Nikon D700 and my “travel lens”, the Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 ED VR.  The shot above, from inside the gun casement, comes courtesy of the Nikkor 14-24 F/2.8 lens.)


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Really great story accompanied by two great images. I really like the tilt/shift effect on the second shot.

Fantastic post and photos! Amazing way to capture a piece of history. Really great work man!

Top notch stuff, Jacques. Thanks for the background story to go with the great pics!

Awesome post! Those are done big’ol guns!

Brilliant post Jacques – really got the spirit of the place from your writing, and the images speak for themselves. Really well done.

Fantastic images. Thanks for sharing a them and thanks for reminding us of the history.

Thanks a heap, guys. That first image is a cross between HDR and Digital Range Increase (aka digital blending), which I found gave me the look I was after. I find myself using that technique more and more, rather than straight HDR tonemapping.

I can’t even describe how your images make me feel. I’ve studied a lot about WWII and I can’t image how it feels to be there. Great capture, these really bring me a feeling of awe.

Woah! Hot stuff, thanks for the great shots and the back story.
The early morning sun gives the scene a surreal feel, or is it the gun encasements in the green hills…
Really cool, Jacques.

I love both photos.. But the second one wins in my heart. Did you use onOne tools to create the T-S effect?

Thanks again, friends. I guess I’m finally getting around to post-processing some of these shots from France.

Hector: Yes, I did use the software you mentioned to get the tilt-shift effect. It works quite nicely, with lots of control.

Oh boy, that sounds like an experience and a half …. love the lighting in these, it’s magical.

[…] Jacques Gudé has posted some very powerful images from Normandy Beach. I have studied quite a bit about wwII in the past and this images gave me chills. Be sure to check both of these posts here and here. […]