Posts tagged ‘death’

Fleury-devant-Douaumont, France

Although I’ve been to Verdun four times, it was a first time for me when I stopped at Fleury last month. It lays right next to the Verdun Memorial and just two kilometers away from the Douaumont Ossuary. When the Battle of Verdun began, the population of roughly 400 evacuated the village in a hurry. It is said that soldiers found half-eaten meals on the kitchen tables.

After 300 days of hell and after up to 60 million shells were fired, there was nothing left of the little village. Today, only signs show the visitors which buildings had to make room for destruction and the craters that are left. Fleury-devant-Douaumont and other eight villages in the region that suffered the same fate are called “villages detruit”, destroyed villages.

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The road leading to the Verdun Memorial

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A wooden sculpture of a ‘Poilu’, a French infantryman

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Fleury is still a commune, although its population is ‘0’. The only building is the chapel which was built in 1979.

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Signs like the one in the bottom left corner show what was there before. In this case, you’re looking at a cafe.

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The memorial for the fallen of the village

Equipment:

Nikon D5300
Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
iPhone 6s

Editing:

Adobe Lightroom CC

Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – V

In my last post about Ysselsteyn, I promised it would be my second to last. Here is the fifth and last set of photos of the only German War Cemetery in the Netherlands. I have some more, but I don’t want to bore people with the same photos over and over again. For the holidays, I doubt I will upload any other pictures, but I will have more material in January.

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The center of the cemetery has a cross made of concrete. The wreaths seen in the last photo are from the German Remembrance Day which took place three weeks before I shot this photo.

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Like some of the photos from my earlier posts, these show how big the cemetery is. I used three different color settings I played with. Low saturation and vibrance for the first, an icy temperature setting which played well with the fog, and high contrast black-and-white for the last one.

Equipment:
Nikon D5300
Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2

Editing:
Adobe Lightroom CC

Hürtgen, Germany

The Hürtgen War Cemetery in Germany has 3,001 fallen servicemen and civilians and is located in the Huertgen Forest. This cemetery looks different than most of the others.  The way the gravestones are aligned remind me of the Dragon’s Teeth along the Siegfried Line. The Dragon’s Teeth are fortifications to block and slow down tanks and other vehicles.

US veterans placed a plaque for Lieutenant Friedrich Lengfeld, who died during the attempt to rescue an injured American serviceman. I tried to take a photo of Lt. Lengfeld’s grave, but after 15 minutes of searching, I found out that his grave is in Düren…

Recogne, Belgium

Recogne is just about 6km away from Bastogne. The next closest town is Foy which some may know from the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. German soldiers who died on Belgian territory in World War Two rest either in Lommel or Recogne. Almost all of the 6,807 servicemen did fall in the Winter of 1944/45. Just a few hundred meters away was the temporary cemetery of the American troops.
Recogne was my last stop before Bastogne, and the sun was beginning to set. It allowed me to play with the long shadows of the trees and gravestones.

Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – IV

This will be my second to last post about the German War Cemetery in Ysselsteyn. I didn’t want my website to become a catalog for war cemeteries, but with my book project, I have some more sites to visit. At least for Ysselsteyn, I only have one more post coming and I promise to squeeze in a few non-cemetery posts once in a while 😉

We got to this place in the morning, and there was still frost and fog everywhere. My favorite photo is the one with the sun rays coming through the trees. The stone plates along the way are Kameradengräber, graves with multiple fallen soldiers. I had to underexpose the photo and add contrast to make it look the way it does now, but for my second day using Lightroom, I think it’s alright.

I used my Nikon D5300 and edited the images with Adobe’s Lightroom CC.

Lommel, Belgium

I finally bought a new camera. As a beginner, I decided on a Nikon D5300 and got two lenses, as well. Of course, I had to give it a thorough test run.
When I took the photos of the Langemark cemetery, I had the idea to collect pictures of war cemeteries in Europe, edit, put them together in a book, and possibly publish them. This Saturday, a friend of mine and I traveled to Ysselsteyn in the Netherlands, and to Lommel, Belgium. Ysselsteyn gave us some nice photos which I will post in a few days. While Ysselsteyn is the largest German war cemetery, Lommel has the most burials from World War Two. Around 39,000 compared to the 32,000 in Ysselsteyn. The site in Belgium is smaller, though, because two or more fallen rest under each cross. Usually, there is one name on each side. Sometimes, many unknown soldiers share one grave or, like in the first picture, a whole crew gets one plaque. I took a photo of the crew because the plate looked relatively new, all died on the same day, and I wanted to figure out what happened to them. After a little research, I found out that they were the crew of a Junkers Ju-88 night fighter that got shot down by anti-air cannons during Operation Bodenplatte. The website listed the three airmen as MIA, so it’s possible that they were found recently.

I used my new Nikon D5300 DSLR camera and played around with a trial version of Adobe’s Lightroom CC and a free alternative called Darktable 2.0. I’m not exactly sure which came from Darktable and which from Lightroom. The photos from inside the crypt are polished with Bergen’s Darkroom and Adobe’s Lightroom app.

Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – III

The last photos I thought are worth uploading. I took the vast panorama in the middle of the gallery while standing midst of the cemetery. The big cross you saw in the previous post is right behind me in that one.
Again, all photos come from the iPhone 6 camera. I did the editing with Google’s Nik Collection.

Originally, I wanted to add a short clip I found on YouTube, but then I found this long video from user “Longa Via Est” with a version of “Nothing Else Matters” in the background. You’ll see everything of the cemetery. At around three minutes, you’ll also see the monument and the graves of the fallen from WW1.

Ysselsteyn, Netherlands – II

Four more photos from Ysselsteyn. A huge cross stands in the middle of the cemetery. Might be the only point where you can overview the whole cemetery.

The only German War Cemetery in the Netherlands has graves for the fallen of WW1, too (the two photos on the left). Graves of 85 Navy men surround a monument.