Arlington National Cemetery in infrared

On January 1, 2011 by DaniLew

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After listening to the Keynote speaker, Bruce Dale, at the 2009 Meadowlark Nature Photography Expo (March 2009) where he presented some of his famous cemetery panoramas in infrared, the seed of an idea was born. I had just received my infrared converted camera and was thrilled at the possibilities in front of me: one of which was to try to shoot the same scene in both color and infrared.

One year ago this coming Monday, on probably one of the coldest days on record for the DC metropolitan area (20 degrees with a windchill of 1 degree), a crazy… an intrepid foursome of NikonCafe.com photographers/friends drove to Arlington National Cemetery to make pictures of headstones where Christmas Wreaths are laid every year since 1992 by Morrill Worcester and his Wreath Company.

Our initial date was scheduled for December 18-19, 2009 weekend and even though the weather forecast called for snow our group was absolutely ecstatic as picturesque possibilities danced in our heads. Little did we know that the snow would turn into 20-30 inches across the region. Our plans to see the freshly laid wreathes came to naught and postponed until 2010 since the next two weekends were going to be filled by family Christmas and New Year activities.

Pulling into the visitors parking garage before 8:00 am in travel-warmed cars gave us little to no indication on the bitter cold that awaited us until we greeted each other and began to don our gear. Wow! I knew within the first five minutes that I wouldn’t make the half-mile trek to the Women’s Memorial let alone the first section of military gravestones. Fortunately, we were able to procure a pass that allowed us to drive through and around the cemetery at our leisure. With finger-numbing temperatures, jumping out of the car, setting our shots, and taking pictures within a 5-minute cycle seemed to work best for all us with few exceptions.

The stark winter morning at Arlington National Cemetery seemed to provide a perfect pedestrian-free landscape to document a comparison of color versus infrared.

Close-up of Christmas wreath on a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery - a color image - taken with a Nikon D300 camera and a Tamron 17-50 lens

Close-up of Christmas wreath on a headstone at Arlington National Cemetery – a color image

Image above made with a Nikon D300 camera and Tamron 17-50 lens

Christmas wreaths decorate headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia - an infrared image - taken with a Nikon D200 IR-converted camera and Nikon 18-200 VR lens

Christmas wreaths decorate headstones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia – an infrared image

Image above made with a Nikon D200 IR-converted camera and Nikon 18-200 VR lens

I was reminded of this adventure when one of my friends, Kristin, recently went back to recapture those headstone wreaths. In her beautiful gallery of images, there was snow on the ground that added beauty and serenity to the scene… and that just made me want to revisit the cemetery again on a cold but much warmer day than last year.

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