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As I was chasing some lovely late afternoon light around the Palouse looking for something interesting to shoot, I passed a cemetery.  That is to say, I almost passed a cemetery.  I have a strange compulsion to drive into just about every cemetery I pass.  They’re one of my favorite places to shoot, and most of the time I have the place to myself.

This particular day was no exception.  The entire day was dark and rainy until perhaps an hour or two before sundown.  I was driving around trying to find a cool place to shoot sunset, and nothing was jumping out at me.  All the barns in the area were nondescript.  Same with the houses.  Even the hills in this area weren’t really talking to me.  For three full days I’d been waiting for good light, and shooting lovely things in the rain.  Now the light was right and I was stumped for a subject.

So as I was driving around the cemetery, which was on top of a hill, I came upon this view which (pardon the pun) stopped me dead in my tracks.  The evening light was making all the headstones cast wonderful long shadows.  The clouds were doing some post-storm interesting stuff in the sky.  And the way the road split and wrapped around the top of the hill in sensuous curves, almost as if it was embracing the land…

I normally shoot in cemeteries with a 100-200 mm lens, and don’t really think of them as a location for landscape photography, but I took this image with an 18 mm lens and made a mental note to myself to do more landscape photography in cemeteries in the future.

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24 Comments

  1. Quite surreal, indeed. The light is just perfect. I love it.

  2. I asked myself what would be an impact to see a photo about a cemetery as shown in your photo, and I feel that it is the long shadows under the low Sun, of winter. Shadow, is about loneliness, and about missing someone. Just my thought. I feel too that a little more magenta in the white balance might be good, just to make the greenish road or shadow stand out.

    Beautiful photo!
    kc

    • Thank you for your comments, Qiquan. I hadn’t thought about the shadows adding a melancholy feel to the image, but I suppose they do. To me it just has a peaceful feel. I guess that’s why many headstones are engraved with the initials “RIP” (Rest In Peace).

      That’s a good idea about adjusting the white balance…I’ll try that and will repost the image if I get an improvement.

      Thanks again,
      RPRT Photo

      PS I like your poetry. Most of the blogs I subscribe to are photo blogs. It’s fun to see one with just words. You do a good job painting pictures with words! 🙂

      • I think that it is a ‘big’ thing in linking surrealism to photo, it is like seeing the world through a different eye. Same for me, for most of the photo that I have taken, it is linked to what I am feeling, and thinking, in a ‘big’ term, when philosophy comes into play in our passion.

        For the photo, I am just playing with a thought experiment =).

        Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy the words, for me I think both writing and photography, need a good depth of emotional connection, and a far reached imagination. I hope that I have can share some more of my photos too.

        I like your gravatar icon photo, it is really a majestic view of the moon over the mountain.

        Cheers
        kc

      • Thanks for your well thought-out comments, Qiquan.

        My favorite bloggers share their emotions via their photography and/or their words. Sometimes one or the other, sometimes both.

        Thank you also for the compliment on my gravatar image. It’s called “Moonset Over The Andes.”

        RPRT Photo

  3. I have no idea why a cemetery stirs my soul, but they always have. I think it’s because I want to know the stories of those that died. We can only speculate by the etchings on the headstone. Love your photo. It’s breathtaking.

    • Thanks for your comments, Renee. I too want to know the stories of the people buried in the cemeteries. I could spend all day reading the inscriptions on headstones, but they’re often just the briefest of snapshots, and usually written by someone other than the deceased. I often wonder what people would have written about themselves if they had had the chance.

      Glad you like the image.

      RPRT Photo

      PS I like your blog, and I love your writing style. Very direct and honest. Look forward to reading more of your posts…

      • Keep posting your beautiful pictures. They are something to behold. And thank you for your kind comment. I try to be blunt without being hurtful. My son has asked me why I have the angst of a teenager, and I tell him it’s not angst, it’s passion. 🙂

      • Hi Renee,

        Thanks for the kudos.

        Your son reads your blog? How cool is that?

        I agree with you, it’s passion, not angst. Very articulate passion. You write from the heart. And that’s the best kind of writing, IMHO.

        Love it!

        RPRT Photo

      • Yes my son and daughter both do. They like it but they try not to talk to me about it too much. They get tired of hearing about it. Giggle. Ah well at least they support me. I’m glad you like my writing. I’m finding that others do too. I’m doing my best to get better at it. I think it’s time to add names to characters and dialogue. We’ll see. I still don’t have any idea what the hell I’m doing. Thanks for the praise. And please keep posting your great photos. One of them may inspire me to write something about one of them.

      • Hey Renee,

        I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the best way to improve at writing is to just keep writing.

        Cool idea that someone’s image may inspire some writing on your part. I’d be flattered if someday it was one of mine.

        And who knows, perhaps your writing may inspire me to create an image to go with it…

        Here’s to creative inspiration, whatever its source!

        RPRT Photo

  4. Perfect lighting. Such an emotional image. Thank you.

    • Thanks.

      I really like the lighting. I’d love to know what emotion(s) this image evoke for you, if you feel like sharing…

      Thanks,
      RPRT Photo

      • I feel peace, it is so pastoral. There is this sense of Divine presence, the promised joy of eternity fulfilled. Cemeteries have this weight of history and weightlessness of life. This captures the paradox perfectly.

      • Thank you so much for explaining, and so eloquently too, I might add.

        I personally find cemeteries beautiful and peaceful. I love visiting cemeteries when I travel. They’re a great way to learn about the history and culture of a region. And I think they’re a wonderful source of photo ops that most people overlook.

        One of my most profound experiences visiting cemeteries was during El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead. I was in Guadalajara, Mexico exactly 15 years ago today to witness the honoring of the dead by the living.

        Another very moving experience, which I’ve done several times, was to visit The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The care, respect and dedication of the Marines who guard the tomb is something I wish everyone could see in person at least once.

        Whether the mood is festive, as in Mexico, or somber, as in D.C., or somewhere in between, I like to witness the way the living care for the graves and the memories of the deceased.

        But I have to confess that most of all I like the peacefulness and solitude of having a cemetery, or at least a part thereof, all to myself.

        And most of the time, at least in rural areas, when I visit a cemetery I’m alone…or at least I appear to be!

        RPRT Photo

  5. What a lovely photo! I’d never think you were shooting a cemetery!

    • Thanks, Brianna.

      The headstones are far enough away that it looks more like a pretty landscape…but when you look closer, you realize that it is in fact a cemetery…

      RPRT Photo

  6. I actually got goosebumps when say this picture. Perfect contrast.

    • Thanks Zachary. Chicken-skin images: what a concept! 😉

      RPRT Photo

  7. Wow. That shot has a very painterly quality to it. It could be a cover for something. It’s as though the sky composed a drama just for you! (Nice use of Rule of thirds too!)

    • Thanks, Dr. E.

      The clouds were definitely trippy, and the lighting…right after a storm, and right before sunset. I do a lot of shooting in cemeteries, and this is one of my favorite cemetery images.

      Glad you like it too!

      RPRT Photo

  8. Check out this photo http://boingboing.net/2012/10/26/storm-chasers-gorgeous-photo.html (showed up on BoingBoing today) from South Dakota. The similarity is striking … even includes the US flag. Much more threatening tho!

    • Hey Dr. E–

      Cool image! Thanks for sharing. Their clouds are better than mine! 😉

      I wish I didn’t have to travel to find interesting weather. But then I’m also glad I don’t live in a region that’s prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. Sandy is something I’ll only experience online…

      RPRT Photo


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