Nikkor 28-300 f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Surf’s up dude!!

So we’ve made our way down to the San Francisco Bay Area to do a little exploring.  Spending a few days hosted by a wonderful family at their beautiful house on Stinson Beach.  It’s just so peaceful and relaxing here, the smell of the sea and the crashing of the waves along the shore.  I went out early this morning to snag this shot of a surfer doing his thing.  I was experimenting a bit with long exposure to get a more painterly effect in the shot.  Also blend in some a nice blue texture to give it an almost canvas painting like look.  What do you all think?

Dam… what a morning!

I was hoping to give you all something really tasty for my first shot from Northern California, but this will have to do for today; light is not the best, but that’s what I get for sleeping in past sunrise!  Maybe I’ll get out somewhere early enough tomorrow to get a sunrise shot.  Been in the Redding, CA area for a few days now, and LOVE it!!  The people here are sooooo friendly, it’s scary (in a good way).  And if you’re an outdoors kind of person, this place has it all.  Definitely think I could live here permanently.  At the moment, we are staying in a hotel (kind of close quarters for four peeps and a dog, but nice), but moving into a great ranch-style house with a pool (my girls are excited about that) and lots of room for the girls (and the dog) to wear themselves out.

…beyond the call of duty

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
Abraham Lincoln

The American Cemetery, at Colleville-sur-Mer, France


(Creative Notes:  I shot this with the Nikon D700 and the Nikkor 28-300 F/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens.  Post processed the image to the moving Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams.)

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.)


Little River

Still on my non-Urban Exploration kick of late, and I’m still diggin’ the fun I’m having hunting for good photographic opportunities outside of my usual subject matter (abandoned buildings and such).  Here is a shot of a cool old barge along one of the small rivers coursing through downtown Berlin.  When I looked at this scene from the near bank, I figured I’d shoot with the intention of turning this into an image that reminded me of some of the cool old toy dioramas I loved seeing as a kid.  I don’t know what it is, but I still love cities and towns in miniature. I have plans to visit a really cool miniature world in Hamburg soon, though there I’ll be shooting with my macro lens a bit.  Really look forward to it, as I heard it boasts more than 14 kilometers of mini railroad track.  Sounds like an all-day visit to me!

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