Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lest We Forget

Camera: Canon EOS40D with 17-85mm EF USM

Original RAW file developed and cropped with Canon Digital Photo Professional

Apps used for post processing:
1) SimplyHDR - for a HDR version of the photo.
2) ArtistaOil - for a simulated oil painting.
3) Blender - to blend the HDR version with the oil version 50/50. This added some details to the oil version which was important for the crosses in the background.
4) FilterStorm Pro - I imported the Blender result and the HDR version into FilterStorm Pro where I painted a mask to erase the grave cross and the flowers from the oil layer so that it was coming through from the HDR layer.
5) Blender - I blend the FilterStorm result with the result from step 3 again to smooth the edges of the flowers and cross.
6) Photo fx Ultra - to add a glow effect.
7) Blender - to blend the result from step 6 with the result from step 5.
8) Photo fx Ultra again - to add the Depth of Field effect. This nicely blurred the background a bit.
9) TouchRetouch HD - to remove an unwanted lantern pole from the background.
10) Camera+ - to add the nice Vintage border.
11) ArtisataOil again - to create an oil version with the a maximum of bristle depth and canvas effect. I did this because I wanted some texture in the frame.
12) FilterStorm Pro again - I imported the results from steps 10+11 into FilterStorm and painted a mask over the frame to bring the texture out.
13) TouchRetouch - to touch up the inner border of the frame a bit.
14) Crop 'n Frame - to cut the very large frame to smaller size again. I usually prefer the neat little tool Crop Suey for this but it apparently has some problems with large files because it used to crash.
15) A+Signature - for the copyright watermark.

It was on May 4, 2008, as I visited the US Military Cemetery Meuse-Argonne in Romagne in France together with two friends of mine. It's the largest US Military Cemetery in France, if not in Europe, where more than 14,000 men found their final rest. One of them is Sergeant Bernard L. Pohlpeter (photo) who fought with the L Company of the 126th US Army Infantry Regiment, 32nd Division. He got killed in action in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in October 1918, only one month before the war ended on November the 11th. I did some research about Sergeant Pohlpeter and I found a copy of his regiments history online at this page: The Old Command. His grave is at Plot F, row 12, grave 23.

Although the day of death marked on Sergeant Pohlpeter's cross is October the 12th, 1918, he is listed in his regiments casualties list on page 42 as having been KIA on October the 5th. Reading through the regiment's history I also found no report about combat action of his unit for October the 12th but the unit took heavy casualties in the time from October 4-5. So I now wonder what's the truth is. 

As we walked the beautifully made cemetery in awe and respect, we spoke little because nobody wanted to disturb the silence on that place where so many of those men rest who fought for our freedom. So many graves... so many names... so many individual destinies... It really fills on'e heart with sadness to see so many white crosses on such huge fields.

1 comment:

  1. Gaston, fantastic photo and great job researching to put a story with the pic. I never realized so many Americans were buried over there (14,000, geez!)