Arlington Revisited

By Mark

It has been a bit, since we have written.  Unfortunately, it is proposal season again and real life interferes with our photography work.  As both of us are military retirees, we take the honor of supporting veterans funerals very seriously.  We went down last month to Arlington, to photograph a family friend of Roger’s internment of their father, a Vietnam era F-4 flyer. 

The Army’s “Old Guard” 3rd Infantry Division is most well known for their role as the keepers of the Tomb of the Unknowns, and the funeral caisson mounted troops.   Less well known is that each service maintains an honor guard who support the services for their members. 

These young men and women demonstrate honor, dignity and respect for each family and they do this, multiple times per day.  

These services go on in regardless of the weather.  Our day was overcast, damp and breezy, but the day before was pouring rain and just miserable.  Yet, the Marines were there laying Senator John Glenn to rest.  You can see the rain pouring off the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ cover in this photo by Rachel Larue.

(C) Rachel Larue

(C) Rachel Larue

There is something that grabs you when you hear the three volleys from the 21-gun salute.

The sun managed to come out and touch the colors at the right time.

I won’t pretend that the sailors march with the same precision as the Army and Marines, but there aren’t too many parade grounds at sea. 

This is Armed Forces Day weekend and next week is Memorial Day.  Take a moment to think of those who are serving, those who have, and those who never came back.   

Why Not Photoshop World?

By Mark

Usually about this time of the year Roger and I start beating the drum for people to go and attend Photoshop World.  I’ve been 11 straight years and Roger for 10.  This year, we made the difficult decision not to go.  Enrollment is open, and if you haven’t been before and really want to pack a lot of learning into a few days, it is a good place to begin.   We have watched it change over the last few years and this year are going to do something different.  We have watched with concern as the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) transformed into Kelby Media Group and then into Kelby One.  Scott is a fantastic instructor and author, but the organization really started to shift and be all about Scott, and not about the training.  

This spring, they made a radical shift and terminated all of the Photoshop Guys, who really carried the creative load.  RC Concepcion, Pete Collins, Brad Moore, and Corey Barker, all were let go on the same sad day.   The Original crew of Matt Kloskowski and Dave Cross had already departed.   Some of the best instructors had also stopped attending or announced they were choosing to not come this year.

o what are we going to do instead?   Well one of the things both Roger and I loved about PSW is the chance to get out and shoot things you normally don’t have access to.  Events such as the live model shoot, put on by Westcott, the Precon photo shoots with heroes like Moose Peterson and Joe McNally were the highlights of the week.

Last year, in Vegas we even went out a day early in order to visit the Neon Graveyard museum, just to force ourselves to take the camera out and use it. 

We knew that Bill Fortney, another renowned photographer was holding a seminar in the Great Smoky Mountains in the fall.  What we didn’t know was just how fast it would sell out—our mistake.  Well he leads photographers out into the woods and they shoot at both the dawn’s early light and at twilight’s last gleaming.  They process and critique photos during the day and then start over the next day.  We figured, heck we can do that ourselves.   We are going to head off into the fall woods and try to capture the magic of the changing colors.   

We also are going to do some people photography, but haven’t quite figured out where yet.   For us, it is a matter of just spending a few days concentrating on making better pictures.  After all this time learning Lightroom and Photoshop, what we have discovered over and over again, is that you have to dedicate time to practicing what you have learned or it goes away. 

Catching Up

By Roger (21 December 2015)

Mark gave you our sad story of corporate transition in the last blog. The good news is we, both, still have a job and can afford to keep our cameras.

Since my last blog, I haven't made many photos. I had some time to work on the photos from the photowalk we took, after visiting the Irving Penn exhibit. One of my street shots was this group of tourists on Segways, in front of the National Archives. They actually have their own lane for these tours. I just thought it was an interesting juxtaposition to the historical statue, behind them.

New stuff, in front of old stuff

I usually have a camera with me, in my vehicle, just in case I see something, when I can take a photo, when I'm not in a hurry to get to another appointment. Occasionally, I'll even take it out to lunch with me. Yeah, it doesn't get used very much... But, every now and then, I can catch a quick photo. This man was dressed like he was in the 60s (if you ignore the cellphone), so I felt compelled to convert the photo to monochrome.

Street photo

Finally, we took the grandkids to the National Harbor, just into Maryland, across the Potomac River. They have an exhibition, made entirely of ice, you can walk through. ICE! is an indoor winter wonderland, telling the story of Santa Claus (link). The kids loved it. The attraction is kept at 9 degrees and is packed with ice sculptures. They even had some slides, made of ice, for the kids. We'll do a blog, in the near future, about taking photos in these cold conditions. Everything went fine, although I had to push the ISO to 2,000.

North Pole mail

An ice sculptor creating a new piece.

Happy grandkids

I'll get back to normal after the holidays. Thanks to Mark's Halloween photobooth, I will have to shoot some photobooth shots of my own, while the family is here. We will be making a quick trip to Williamsburg, so maybe I'll get some interesting photos there. I hope you'll get out there and make some photos of your own.

Happy Veterans Day

By Mark

On the 11th hour of the 11th Day of the 11th month the guns fell silent across Europe marking the end of fighting in WW1.  Today we celebrate that day as Veterans Day, honoring all those who have served.  As a second generation sailor, it is sometime hard to realize that only a small percentage of the population has made the commitment and sacrifices required as part of being in the military.   

CDR Robert B. Segal, USN--My Dad

CDR Robert B. Segal, USN--My Dad

For many of our parent and grandparent’s generations almost everyone “did a hitch”, or served because of the draft. 

Bill Altman, USA--Sarah's Dad WWII

Bill Altman, USA--Sarah's Dad WWII

I got to see a lot of sea.  Some of it was very picturesque such as sunset in the Surigao straits in the Philippines.

Some of it much more industrial and less fun; as in the “joys” of living in a shipyard for months of repairs.   

Throughout my career, the one universal constant was the dedication and quality of the young men and women in the service.  Whether they were in for one tour or a full career, each and every one of them learned that there are things more important than self.  Dedication to the mission, the unit and the country were a unifying force. Whether you served in the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Army, the Air Force, or the Coast Guard be proud of what you accomplished.

Today, lots of places are offering “Free” meals or coffee to Vets all across the country.   Most of the Vets have in one way or another already paid a pretty high price through being deployed again and again.  When you thank a Vet for their service, stop and actually talk to them about what they most remember about their time in uniform.

Ens Segal, USN--1983

Ens Segal, USN--1983

Please also remember that this holiday is about those who served and made it back, while Memorial Day recognizes those who served, but whose lives have ended.