American Cemetery, Brittany, France, 1993

American Cemetery, WWII

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

Visiting these cemeteries fills me with sadness, humility, respect, and immeasurable pride in those who gave “…the last full measure of devotion.”

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Glasgow, Scotland, 2008

Glasgow, Kelvingrove Museum and Gallery

We were supposed to be in eastern Europe, but that trip had fallen through. Since we had the time blocked out anyway, Barbara and I picked another destination, a place we had not visited–Scotland. Starting in Glasgow, we wandered the city a bit and happened on the Kelvingrove, and this fascinating, and slightly disturbing, exhibit. Moving on, we drove through the scenic Trossachs, seeing the famous Loch Lomand, and winding up on Islay, an isle in the Hebrides At the time Islay had seven Scotch distilleries, including one of my favorites, Lagavulin. Their 16 year old single malt is so peaty it’s like drinking dirt. The ferry ride over was smooth, like the scotch. The ride back was not.

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Tybee Island, GA 2000

Tybee Island

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!” Henry David Thoreau

That also is advice E. B. White gave for writing. It works for photography as well. So often, pictures attempt too much information, sacrificing emotion or clarity. On this morning at Tybee the haze in the distance made the exposure of the sunrise more manageable. Taking the exposure and editing to a darker tone helped emphasize the graphic intent.

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