Today’s post is certainly different from all previous posts. Yesterday, a package arrived from Paris with a camera I can use for some time. Not a Ricoh camera, but a Sigma DP1 with the VF-11 optical viewfinder and a spare battery. Last year I tried this camera for just one day, but now I will be able to get a much better understanding of this camera.
The camera arrived just five minutes before I had to leave for an appointment in the city of Nijmegen. After the meeting I went to the small town of Groesbeek near the German border.
This area was an important strategic location during the end campaign of the Allied forces in 1944 and 1945 of World War II. It was a drop and landing zone in September 1944 for the eventually failed Operation Market Garden. And from here the Allied started the Battle on the Rhineland on February 8, 1945, the so-called and took nearly a month before victory was declared.
Just outside the town is a Canadian War Cemetery located on a hill top with a view over the valley to the North and East into Germany. This cemetery was established in February 1945 and officially unveilled in November 1946.
In total 2,617 soldiers are burried here including 2,338 Canadians. These soldiers didn’t die in the Netherlands, but died in nearby Germany during battles in the Rhineland. It is said that all fallen Canadian soldiers were burried outside Germany.
Most of these soldiers were young men in their twenties. Still boys when they left home and became men in just a few day’s. They never saw their loved ones again.
Young men like private soldier R.F. Pringlemeir, age 21, from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada who died on the 15th of March 1945. A photograph of him and a soldier friend in front of his grave keeps the lost memories alive.
There are more Commonwealth cemeteries in the Netherlands, but no other contains so many Canadian war dead. The location is peaceful and all graves are treated very well.
Beautiful oak trees with with lovely red colored maple leaves as a remembrance of their homeland.
“Their name liveth for evermore“, a phrase by English writer Rudyard Kipling whose son died in 1915 in World War I. Partly in response to this tragedry he joined Sir Fabian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission that we know now as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This group is responsible for the war graves were Commonwealth troops lie burried.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma
For those interested in my impressions of the Sigma DP1 I will continuously make notes and write about my learning process with this camera. Yesterday was a very interesting experience photographing with this camera and using the optical viewfinder. Unlike with my Ricoh camera I didn’t use the LCD screen for framing or judging the exposure. I only used it to set the exposure and that was it. I would suggest Sigma to update the firmware and give the camera a screen view just like with a dSLR, since it is a joy using the viewfinder. I am not going to judge the speed of the camera and the writing times. It felt all very appropriate yesterday for the scene and type of photographing.
And some quick notes with regard to the post processing. I used both Sigma Photo Pro by Sigma and Adobe Lightroom for editing the RAW photographs. And Lightroom just doesn’t handle the photographs in the same way as SPP. The highlight and shadow recovery is impressive in SPP, and the fill light option can be very intriguing. For the photograph of the maple leaves I could get so many different and beautiful looking photographs with just changing the fill light amount. I think I will use this photograph in a later post to give some examples of this option in SPP.
And many have mentioned the sharpness of the photographs from the DP1. but man, these photographs are so incredibly sharp and I am glad that they added negative sharpness in SPP. I often went as far as minus 1 to desharpen the photographs and they still looked good.
I leave my first thoughts of the DP1 here. Last year I was very much in doubt about this camera and I now really want to dig into this. From last day it felt like a very organic photographing experiece.