The Raised Bones of Arlington National Cemetery

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Silver Efex Pro

The shot below is a black and white HDR that had some treatment in Silver Efex Pro.

Daily Photo – The Raised Bones of Arlington National Cemetery

My friend John P from One Man’s Blog suggested that I visit this place while I am on my little trip to DC. It was already on my list, but he bumped it up! I went there to shoot at sunset, and got back to the hotel in enough time to process.

To be honest, it’s quite difficult to make 365 images per year that pass my quality standards! Really! Maybe it looks easy or something… but I assure you it is not! Hehe…

Anyway, it was just my young son and I wandering around the cemetery for a few hours as the sun was going down on a dreary and rainy day here in Washington, D.C. Arlington National Cemetery is considered hallowed grounds around here, and it was a life-changing experience for my son.

After a long walk in a nearly empty cemetery, we made our way to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The entire facility was closing, and the guard told us it was time to leave. I talked to him for a moment, and he let my son and I through. We went to the steps of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and sat there for a long time. We were totally alone except for the solitary Honor Guard who was guarding the tomb. There was a light rain and not much day remaining. The Honor Guard walked towards one end of the path, clicked his heels, checked his gun, stood guard, then strode back and forth along his short route. It was completely amazing to be there alone in the rain… just watching this happen again and again.

The Raised Bones of Arlington National Cemetery

  • Moving experience! Thanks for sharing!

  • Facebook User

    I love Arlington and this is absolutely striking Trey… brings a whole new feeling to this place of honor for those who gave their life for the freedom we now enjoy. Superb capture – thanks for sharing!

  • Such an eerie look to the picture, yet such a sad sight to see that many people have died fighting for this country. Excellent work as usual!

  • Breathtaking….

  • Facebook User

    Very dramatic and moving. Thanks for posting.

  • Correction Trey: It is the Honor Guard of the Army that watches the site. Not Marines. Big difference!

  • casusan

    Touching story and moving shot Trey – you did it justice!

  • Thanks all

    Matthew – you are right! Fixed that up – thank you

  • I think it is crazy to produce 365 pictures a year for your blog, really. Maybe you want to reduce it to one each week in the future? But then again… you would miss your daily walk ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I think HDR is especially interesting for black & white – shots. And often it also does look more natural. I like yours… Recently I created also something in black & white: – I think it is hardly visible that it IS actually HDR, what I do prefer ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I just love the capture here. Both in spirit and in light. Really special

  • What a great visit for you and your son, teaching him an important lesson in the history of this country. Remembering all who are buried there that either served or gave up their lives for our country. Wonderful photo and thanks for sharing the touching story about you and your son’s well spent time together!!!

  • Joann

    Usually a big fan of your work, but I don’t like this one at all. Arlington is a place of honor, a place where fallen heroes are laid to rest. This picture depicts it as creepy and eerie. I think you could have done a much better job with this.

  • Wow….what a moving picture. I have been to that site many, many times, but never been able to capture it the way you did. The clouds in the background really add so much to the picture. You’re making want to start shooting in the rain after all your excellent wet conditions pictures!

  • Superb shot, Trey. A wonderful story to go with it and a powerful experience to have shared with your son.

  • I love all the detail in the branches. This photo makes the tree look like it is standing guard. Great shot!

  • Patrick

    I like the shot but prefer your colored ones.
    Also I have to admit that it looks a bit creepy.
    But Cemeteries usually are, especially in the rain
    and when ist gets dark.

    Something completely different:
    Can you tell us what kind of bag you use to transport all your gear?
    I looked at your Equipment page but it sees you don’t mention it.

    Also I egoistically ask you to keep up posting a photo per day.
    Don’t want to wait a week or so for a new masterpiece. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Wow, this is a dramatic B&W shot. The only thing I find distracting is it looks like all the tomb stones are leaning in. I guess it is just an artifact of the lens. But the contrast in the image is eerie and great.

  • Trey, Thanks for posting this. It is an exceptional image of truly hallowed grounds.

  • I prefer to put a brighter perspective on most of my Arlington cemtery photos. Once in awhile I do go for the eerie look, but for most of my work I’m looking to convey that Arlington is a place to celebrate the lives of those who are honored there. ANC is a place of pageantry and geat colors most of the time even if the background can go monochromatic in the snow and rain.

    Just my take:

  • Great work Trey. Though I am a color guy normally I think B&W works great here, especially in light of (no pun intended) the subject matter. Sort of black and white, life and death, all that stuff. Well done.

  • I felt the emotion in the photograph. I enjoyed the story of you and your son. What a great memory the both of you shared!

  • Of all my travels, Arlington Cemetary is one of the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. There are similar but smaller American military cemetaries scattered around Europe that I’ve been traveling to and getting photos of like this one near Florence Italy: Arlington is a powerful place so it’s fitting that you’ve shared such a powerful photo from it.

  • great photo! i don’t know how you do it, one great picture a day. it’s amazing

  • Lisa Bradley

    Trey, my daughter traveled with a group of students from her school in Austin to visit D.C. during last year’s Inaugural. We visited Arlington Cemetery and had the privilege of attending the Tomb of the Unknowns changing of the guard ceremony as well as participating in a wreath-laying ceremony. It is all done in complete silence except for the few short commands the soldiers give at specific times. What struck me was the realization that these soldiers do this every day, 24 hrs. a day, rain or shine, crowd or not. They do it for their fallen brothers and will never leave them alone. We were told that on 9/11 all personnel were ordered to evacuate the cemetery, but the soldiers guarding the Tomb refused to leave and continued to stand watch on their own. It is a testament to their commitment to give honor and respect to those who have given their lives for our freedom.

    Your image may evoke differing opinions and emotions, but it’s possible that for someone who has buried a loved one there, this particular image may have some meaning for them. It’s definitely an unusual perspective! Thank you for the story, your son will remember that day forever….

  • First of all, thank you Trey for capturing this image of a place I consider to be one of the most sacred on Earth. As a former serviceman when I visit ANC I feel a connection to all of the men and women who gave their lives to provide the delicate freedoms that we so often take for granted.

    As far as I am concerned, those people who label this image as “creepy” and who prefer the beautiful and peaceful imagery of a bright green carpet of grass broken with straight white pickets of marble are missing the point of the memorial.

    War is a bloody, dirty business, and the servicemen who give their lives in defense of this country sacrifice in ways that none of us can imagine. We should never forget, and we should never attempt to glorify that sacrifice. Honor yes. Glory no.

    Glory is something we bestow on great accomplishments, but there is no glory in war. Only death. Honor is reserved for those who nobly defend freedom, and the ultimate price is clearly evident here – in this place.

    John P.
    Former USMC

  • Joann

    I disagree John. I am a veteran myself and have 2 family members buried at Arlington. War is bloody and dirty and painful. No one knows this better than my family. The battle field can be an ugly, horrific place. A place where lives are altered, destroyed, and ended. No one should have to endure the ugliness of a warzone, but it is a reality of life. Arlington is not one of these ugly places. Arlington is a chance for these service members, who have suffered so much in life…who’s families have suffered so much…to finally rest in peace. TO be given a place of, if not beauty, then serenity. WHen I think about the horrors suffered by loved ones who are buried there, for all who are buried there, I don’t want a creepy, disturbing image lingering in the back of my mind. I want to know that they are in a place of peace and beauty.

  • Fantastic image! Great composition and colors!
    I fully understand that 365 good images a year is almost impossible. I started a blog with this promise but I went to one image every two days, which I already pretty hard.

    Your HDR book just came in today, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jack Rice

    I think photograph is excellent, if not maybe a bit controversial, but to an extent I think photos of such subjects ought to be – provoking thought, but at the same time a recognition of the deeper subject that the photograph’s about. I think the black and white processing is very fitting, and a suitable tone. Agreeing with John, these cemeteries both remind us of the awful amount of lives lost, marked individually like this across the world – striking and powerful reminders of the brutality and losses over these times, but also marking the individuals that were lost. Capturing such a scene in this way, in my opinion, reflects more upon the honour of those lost rather than seemingly glorified view of it. Symbolised in the solitary white stones and that the memories of those lost are better remembered in personal memories of those people closest to them.

    A few years ago as part of my history coursework we took a trip to France and Belgium, visiting a few similar cemeteries of varied size and surroundings. The one that I found the most interested was relatively small one, yet it was placed very humbly behind a row of houses in the middle of a field and you could understand the widespread and tragic loss of life even in such a tiny place; was all very impacting. Though one of the most interesting things to notice was, almost stereotypically; when comparing the Allied graves – these rows upon rows of white, standing markers, the Axis cemeteries, or at least the ones we visited, were marked by flat, square slabs of black rock. Was interesting seeing the contrast in remembering the lost.

  • One of the best shots I’ve seen in a while Trey. I’ve been after a good shot of a tree with no leaves myself for around 4 years no. Never quite found the right one. You’ve nailed it here and the headstones are a brilliant touch.

  • Scot

    Trey, this is not a not a criticism, but why didn’t you correct for the lean of the tombstones using the lens correction filter in Photoshop. Seriously, this is not a criticism just a curious question. I have had a few photos over the years with this fish-eye effect and have always wondered how important it woudl be to correct them. Sometimes it flles ok to leave it uncorrected. Was that the case for you here? With the tree in the middle NOT leaning then I can see that it would be ok to not correct the tombstones. however, if the tree also had a little lean then I can see where that would be a different story. Your thoughts?

    Thanks AGAIN for GREAT pics, always so very insperational and enjoyable!

  • Scot

    sometimes I spell FEELS “fles”. Not sure why. Maybe artistic license…

  • Gary

    An addict to TWiP and TWIT/Photo, that’s how I found you and a host of other pros that inspire me every day! I want to join the fun at GooglePlus, but it’s always locked to new folks! help a fellow Texan and GET me in…Please!!!! Where are the invites???

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