Posts tagged ‘travel’

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

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Day

I’m back in Germany, and my leave is coming to a slow end. I’m still off for the rest of the week, though. The stays in Bruges and Amsterdam were excellent, but it lacked good weather. Unfortunately, this prevented me from using the full potential Amsterdam has to offer. Yet, it was the first time I visited Amsterdam in the Winter, and it gave me a chance to see it in a cold and grayish way.

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Every morning, we walked over a bridge that allowed a good shot. It is the same bridge from the first photo of the first Amsterdam post. The weather wasn’t all that great, but the fog turned the photo into something acceptable.

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Still on the bridge.

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A street in Amsterdam. I love how the trees seem to dance around the parked cars. Ents in the Netherlands?

 

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Typical for Amsterdam. Bicycles.

 

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Fancy, tiny, and crooked buildings.

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Van Gogh Museum and trees. And people. In black and white.

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The nine windows in this photo belong to the front-left side of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

 

Equipment:

Nikon D5300

Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

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

Ossuaire de Douaumont, France

During my little military history trip, I spent the night in Verdun, France. Verdun is a well-known name in the history of World War One in Germany and France. It was a long battle which began on February 21st and ended on December 19th, 1916. A lot of the fighting happened on the Douaumont hill. Around 250,000 German and French soldiers died and much more suffered injuries or are missing.

In 1932, French President Lebrun inaugurated the Douaumont Ossuary. 130,000 unknown fallen soldiers from both nations lay here. Through little windows, people can look at the bones and skulls.

I arrived in the afternoon when it was about to get dark. With some spare time after driving to a nearby German War Cemetery, I decided to visit the ossuary and call it a day. I was glad I made that decision. Upon arriving, French servicemen faced the cemetery in front of the ossuary and sung a song. Unluckily, I wasn’t able to identify it.

dsc_0822-a-2dsc_0826-aI love the photos above. Lightroom CC did most of the work. Played with the highlights and clarity, but the result is astonishing.

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This is from the top of the ossuary. With 16,142 graves, it’s the largest French cemetery of World War One.

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This one is from my iPhone 6s with a quick edit using the Lightroom mobile app. It’s hard to see, but one section of the cemetery looks slightly different. These are fallen Muslims, facing East. The building visible in the middle of the photo is the memorial for the Muslim soldiers. A memorial for the Jewish dead is on the Western side of the cemetery.

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These two photos are from the next morning. I visited Fleury, a destroyed village, and the Verdun Memorial.

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

Editing:
Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom iPhone

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.

Bastogne, Belgium

Today I started my military history weekend and currently, I’m in a hotel in Bastogne, Belgium. I visited La Gleize, Belgium, and the German War Cemetery in Recogne, Belgium. Photos will follow later.

In Bastogne, I finally got to see the Bastogne War Museum and the Mardasson Memorial. When I first visited Bastogne a couple of years ago, the memorial and the museum were under renovation.

Here are some photos from the outside, showing the Mardasson Memorial and a sculpture by Seward Johnson, called “The Kiss.” I used my Nikon D5300 with a Nikon DX VR AF-P NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens. Editing with Adobe 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.