Photographer's Note


The title for this photograph is borrowed from a song made famous by Cat Stevens. According to Cath Featherstone (feather), the lyrics come from a hymn by Eleanor Farjeon (1881 - 1965) and are found in the Anglican Hymnal. I personally prefer viewing the scene with an accompaniment of the the slow movement of one of Beethoven’s immortal symphonies (the Sixth).

The scene is a sunrise over the Civil War Battlefield in Fredericksburg, Virginia, close to the site from where I had produced another image “Light Through the Trees,” this past September. A few weeks ago, an exceptionally talented photographer and TE-loyalist, Hakan Delic, visited me. It was a rather bleak day, but we did manage to get off a few shots together at the battlefield. You can see Hakan plying his craft, by clicking on the ws.

The State of Virginia saw the first English settlers in America in mid-May 1607, and during the past year it celebrated its 400th Anniversary. It is the oldest of the 50 states comprising the United States, but it is a child compared to most European nations, and an infant compared with the Middle Eastern nations.

One hundred and sixty km (100 miles) north of Jamestown, where the British first landed, is the historic city of Fredericksburg, which assumed historical prominence in two different epochs. It was the childhood home of George Washington, the first President of the United States and hosted many of the other Forefathers of the Nation, including Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and John Paul Jones. “Four score and seven years,” later, historical prominence revisited the area. Located at the border of the Northern (Union States) and Southern (Confederate) States, it changed hands a total of seven times during battles of the Civil War (1861-’65). On a bone-chilling week in December 1862, the Battle of Fredericksburg was fought, pitting over 85,000 Union and Confederate against each other.

My daily drive to work to teach my classes takes me through a 7-km stretch of the Fredericksburg Battlefield, with the trenches used by the Confederate troops running alongside the narrow meandering roadway. In the early morning it is the rising sun that strikes the trenches at a grazing angle that makes deep trenches of them, and in the late afternoons it is the setting sun in the west that recreates the effect. The hauntingly beautiful battlefield presents a poignant vision — of an area where thousands of young soldiers died. The Confederate States were fighting to break off, to secede, from the Union, and the Union Troops were fighting to stop their secession. Most people who think about the event now — laymen and scholars alike — regard it as a national tragedy in which families were divided, “brothers fighting against brothers.” Abraham Lincoln, who hailed from the midwestern State of Illinois, was the President of the United States during those war years, and is now recognized as one of the greatest of all Presidents precisely because the North prevailed in the war, and the union was preserved.

The view in the photograph is a sunrise, with sunlight creating a glow in the horizon. Just a little later it will light up the trenches. The time for this photo was 7:50 am and I was rushing to make an 8:00 am class.

I shot the image with a Nikon D-70, 18-70-mm lens, uv-filter, tripod. A small bit of post-processing — specifically in warming the high tones, according to the model provided by Didi Massoud (Didi) in a ws. Finally, in response to Jean Yves (pixelterror), I just posted "a killer" to ws.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6787 W: 476 N: 12169] (41257)
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