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Focus on a Photo #3

Our September travels in British Columbia were fantastic, but took an unexpected twist when my wife suffered a serious fall our last night there. Her resulting injuries pre-empted much of our lives over the past two months. Thankfully, she’s much improved now and continues to recover, enough so that I'm again making photographs and blogging about them.

I will be adding some new photos from that BC trip soon, but today's FOAP post is prompted by the calendar and history.

November 11th is Veterans Day, known as Remembrance Day in the U.K, and Armistice Day in France and Germany. The guns of World War I fell silent at the 11th hour on November 11, 1918. This Sunday marks the centennial of the Armistice that ended the "war to end all wars." While a century has passed, we live in a world that is still very much a legacy of that tragic conflict and its consequences.

The Capitol Campus in Olympia features beautiful monuments to Washingtonians who served or fell in four 20th-century conflicts – WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam. If you find yourself in Olympia, I urge to visit the capitol grounds and seek out these memorials. Read their inscriptions, walk around them, appreciate them aesthetically, and ponder the events and sacrifices they commemorate. And maybe make a photograph of them.

On a recent October morning I did just that, photographing the bronze "Winged Victory" (WW I) monument, and the adjacent Medal of Honor obelisk, from a position near the Tivoli Fountain. I wanted to somehow combine all three in the frame, using the falling water of the fountain as the foreground element. Here are two images from that shoot.

With the camera on a tripod, I chose a Tamron 70-200mm lens to compress the distance between the subjects; it was about 50 yards from fountain to obelisk, and maybe another 25-30 yards to the monument. The first image, with the lens zoomed slightly to 80mm, at F16 for 0.6 seconds (using a 3-stop ND filter), includes more of the fountain. For the second, I moved to the right a few yards, zoomed to 200mm, and refocused on Winged Victory itself (at 1/6 second, F14) for a more shallow depth of field, hoping to get more visual separation between the fountain and the monument. Does either image work for you?

I honestly don't know which one I prefer. Maybe I'll try again using other techniques, in another season. What approach might you take to photographing this or any one of the campus monuments? There are lots of possibilities - come to the capitol and give it a try!

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