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Photographer's Note

For my 300th post I thought I would submit a simple, minimalist photo — a subtle puzzle for TE viewers. What is this structure protruding from the ground, and where is it located? Does it measure a few centimeters in height, in the manner of blades of grass, a few meters or many stories? For me, each of the three prongs is emblematic of 100 photos that I’ve posted during the past few years.

Seen in the photo is the new (2006) United States Air Force Memorial, the design representing the contrails of three fighter planes engaged in a precision "Bomb Burst" effect (the maneuver frequently performed by the United States air Force “Thunderbirds.") The presence of only three contrails is symbolic of the “missing man formation,” the fourth flyer in the formation having been downed during a mission. The edifice is located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, and just a few hundred meters from the Pentagon. In an accompanying workshop, I am submitting a photo showing actual contrails of fighter planes engaged in a bomb-burst maneouver.

From the trees and flag seen at the base, it is clearly a large modern structure. The three blades, or towers, vary in height from 61 m (201 feet) for the shortest to 82 m (270 feet) for the tallest. Clad in stainless steel, the lower 2/3 of the blades are filled with steel-reinforced concrete. At the transition point between the concrete and the hollow steel portions is a built-in damper system, designed to provide aerodynamic stability. Each damper contains a massive lead ball, weighing approximately an Imperial ton (2000 pounds in distinction to the metric tonne, 2200 pounds), allowed to roll inside a steel box, and dissipate the energy of the structure's oscillation in rough winds.

The Memorial was designed by architect James Ingo Freed of Pei-Cobb-Freed & Partners. The company also designed the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. among other edifices in the United States. I had with me neither my better camera (a Nikon D200), nor a tripod. In their place, I used a pocket Nikon Coolpix S600, and steadied it against the trunk of a tree.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5971 W: 457 N: 10311] (34565)
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