Sunday, November 15, 2009

eternal flame

Eternal Flame

If you travel around Australia, you will see War Memorials in almost every city & bigger town. For the Australians, those fallen in wars have a permanent place in their hearts: lest we forget, these fellows died defending what we are & have today. The War Shrines in capital cities, like this one in Melbourne, are stately, majestic & solemn--a testament to the profound fondness attributed to the fallens.

The Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance was initially built to commemorate the Australian soldiers who died in World War I. The time of the armistice, at the 11th hour on the 11th of November, is chosen and memorial ceremony is held yearly. The Shrine has progressively been modified to accommodate those from WWII, Korean, Vietnam & First Gulf Wars. The original 11-11-11 ceremonial tradition however is still upheld.

Outside the shrine, the Eternal Flame burns. As the name suggests, the flame has not been put out since its very first flicker; nor will it be--an exquisite allusion to the perpetual memory. Strangely, it is the Flame that attracted me to the Shrine. I wanted to capture the Flame. However not only by itself, but in the context of the Shrine.

After walking around, I found this convenient spot. I would have liked to have a higher vantage point: the 18-mm focal length didn't allow me to go closer, yet I wanted the flame to appear totally unobstructed from the rim of the hand-grill. However, I couldn't stand higher than tip-toeing already. I would also have wanted the corner of the platform sticking into the frame on the right edge disappear, but recomposing to exclude it would have altered the balance, I felt. So this is how I decided to settle eventually.

I used an Gradual ND8 filter to bring the brightness of the sky & that of the foreground closer. The clouds do stand out as a result, but perhaps the filter was one-stop too strong (GND4 might have been better), for the marbles of the Shrine appear slightly dimmer than those at the base of the Flame.

Location: Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, Australia
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
ISO: 250
Exposure: 1/80s
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 18mm
Filter: Gradual ND8
Flash: No
Tripod: No

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