Topples

A lightning-quick visit to Spring Forest Cemetery in Binghamton, New York, today revealed some toppled stones.

Particularly striking is the granite Bayless obelisk toppled by a falling tree limb (figure 1). I liked the color of the monument, and of the remaining leaves on the offending branch—I kicked up the color saturation in both. I was also attracted to the reflective shine of the toppled obelisk. The curtain of green behind (darkened a bit) sets off these elements, and the barren cypress branches reaching down from the upper right toward the dead branches rising from the lower left is a grace note.

Figure 1. Bayless monument. Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, N.Y. Photo: author.

As to the the Staats monument (figure 2), we could be looking at vandalism, which I deplore. But I liked the high reflection of the white overcast sky off the fallen die against the matte texture of everything else. The texture of the Staats base and, much more, the other fallen stone closest to us, form a nice foil to the Staats marker.

Figure 2. Staats monument. Spring Forest Cemetery, Binghamton, N.Y. Photo: author.

Lowering the black point blotted out the standing stone (another visual foil to the legible one) except for the narrow strip of its exposed edge. Greens were darkened a bit so as not to compete in brightness with the Staats stone, and I adjusted tone a little toward the green side overall to warm the image up.

I was of two minds about the road in the distance. I opted not to crop it out because it lends some depth in contrast to the large field of mostly undifferentiated green; and because the standing monument seemed a little more comfortable with some space above it. This crop also gives generally a diagonal from the top of the standing stone down through the Staats marker and down again to the other fallen stone; the diagonal parallels the road.

Most of all, I loved that the reflection was so bright and the lettering so clear that it could be read from maybe 7 or 10 meters away. I used point auto-focus on the Staats stone face to make sure the text would be sharp enough to read in the image.

In any event, both topples lent themselves to nice photographs.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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