I was honored to participate

I have seen images, and even news stories, but I never imagined that I would participate in such an event. It was an honor I will not soon forget.

I was at the VA, moving from one appointment to another when a voice came over the loud speaker. “There will be a Walk of Honor on the second floor.” It was to begin in just a few seconds. In fact, I was on the second floor and rounding the corner of the hallway when I see nurses and doctors emerging to the hallway from behind closed doors. They lined the hall. I asked if I could participate, and they said, “Yes.”

Walk of Honor 01-28-2021

I decided to grab a quick photo. More nurses and doctors emerged, and the hall seemed full of healthcare workers. Then from around the corner came a gurney, covered in white with a folded American flag on top. The hallway was completely silent.

The gurney was pushed by an attendant, and four VA police officers escorted the honored Veteran, two in front, two in back. They silently proceeded down the hallway and disappeared. The hallway cleared almost as quickly as it formed.

I chose not to take a second photo, one of the gurney and the escorts. It did not seem right.

It was an honor to participate in this seemly simple event, but was so profound. These healthcare workers of our VA Medical Center taking the time to honor a Veteran who has passed was a very moving experience. And, these dedicated healthcare workers of our VA system do this not out of duty, but out of compassion for the Veterans in their care. Even for one last time in a hallway with strangers in their midst.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A Quilt of Valor in Progress

Quilt-of-Valor_02-11-2019-1

There is a mixture of pride and amazement watching my wife make a quilt. And, I am honored that she will ask me to lend my eye to the design and layout. Perhaps it is my photographic eye, or just that she enjoys having me participate.

I have asked her on several occasions if I could write a story of her making a quilt from start to finish, and she has agreed, but this one quilt, this Quilt of Valor, is not that one. This quilt was started a year ago before I asked.

Lin had attended a Quilt of Valor workshop to learn more about these special quilts. A Quilt of Valor is made for loved ones who are members of the military or veterans. At that workshop, she cut strips and sewed blocks. Later, at home, she put those pieces in a box to store the quilt pieces. After a while, it became a UFO, that’s Unfinished Object in sewing speak. Over the weekend, the pieces came out of the box, and were laid out on the floor to start the process of quilt making again. This is where the actual layout comes together and corrections are made. Ideas for borders are contemplated and different fabrics and designs tested.

The quilt pieces laid on the floor for a day or so before going back into the quilt box. How long will it be before this one is finished? Don’t know. But some veteran, somewhere, is going to enjoy the comfort of this quilt. Stay tuned.

You may be asking if this quilt is for me. No. I have seen Lin’s design idea for my Quilt of Valor. It’s going to be incredible because it will be made with a whole lot of love.

See you on the highway.

Brent

History Laying in the Ground

I have always been fascinated by history—a student of historical figures, places and highways—and it often gives me pause for thought. Some years ago, when I was working in rural economic development circles, there was a study published addressing why people travel. Setting aside the travels to visit family, the number one reason people travel is to see art, culture and history. I am one of those.

There is a small, and old cemetery not far from my home. I have passed it many times and barely notice it anymore, but recently, it caught my attention and I wondered where is the cemetery in Morrow, Ohio? If you have followed my travels, you know I have a tendency to photograph old country churches and cemeteries. I have passed through Morrow many times on nearly all quadrants of the village except for the southeastern corner. And so, my exploration took me in that direction. I found what I was looking for … and more to ponder at the Morrow Cemetery.

Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-3

The entrance to the cemetery is plain and somewhat deceiving. You find a cemetery on a hillside, but behind that hill is a very large plot of ground where hundreds have been laid to rest. And, like most other cemeteries, the graves of Veterans are marked with flags and plaques designating service.

Next to the entrance a gravesite stands alone, like a family plot, and quite set off from the others, the only gravesite on that side of the road. It’s what caught my eye.

Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-10

Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-9David Ayers, Company F, 4th Ohio Cavalry, with a Veteran Plaque designating Civil War Veteran.

I wondered if there was some reason that this gravesite—one of a prominent place—was meaningful to Morrow’s history. I conducted some research, and although not exhaustive, I found a roster of Company F with Ayer’s name. He was mustered into the Army Jan. 5, 1864, at age 25, and mustered out July 15, 1865, when the entire unit was mustered out of service. The company participated in several skirmishes and battles in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

Morrow_Cemetery_Dec-2018-14Other than a more recent headstone, I could find little more about David B. Ayers, of Morrow, Ohio. He was a husband, brother, probably father, and most notably, a Civil War Veteran.

The Morrow Cemetery is the resting place of other Veterans with their graves marked with flags and plaques. Their service duly noted. All this history, this service to country, laying in the ground. Families and friends mourned their passing. Were their stories passed on?

Today, our living military and Veterans, who have served our country faithfully, await to tell their stories. Who will write their histories? 

See you on the highway.

Brent

Photography Workshop Session 3

Below is the abstract of today’s Veteran’s Photography Workshop lesson plan. The assignment is at the bottom.

Two types of light meters:

Reflective: Measure how much light bounces off a subject. Most cameras have this type of meter and it calculates the scene and the amount of light to produce a medium grey or average scene.

Incident: Measures how much light is actually falling on the subject. These are typically hand-held devices and are very accurate.

Rule of thumb metering: f16=bright sunshine, f11=partly sunny, f8=hazy overcast, f5.6=overcast

Cameras have three basic controls to control exposure for light and shadow

Sensor/film speed: The ISO setting on your camera is for adjusting the sensitivity of the light meter. Low light generally requires a higher sensitivity (high ISO) and bright days generally require lower. The subject matter of your scene will ultimately determine what settings you need to use.

Shutter (Tv): The mechanism that determines how long light is exposed to the sensor/film. Controls motion.

Aperture (Av): The variable opening of the lens that admits light, measured in f-stops. Controls depth of field.

All of these controls impact the amount of light reaching the sensor/film—proper exposure.

Assignment

To photographically tell an action story, motion is key. Produce two images, properly exposed, showing motion: 1) an image showing sharp subject and blurred background and 2) an image with sharp background and the subject in motion with some blur—make sure the subject is recognizable.

Brent

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