Newtown the Beautiful. Part 2 of 4


I wrote a lot in part 1 about my initial reactions to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I am sure you all have your own stories about that dreadful day. For some, it was much worse than that. It is hard for me to even imagine what those poor parents, husbands, sons, daughters and boyfriends had to go through that day. To think about the poor innocent children who had to hide and huddle together, some for the last time on earth, is almost too much to bear.

So I started to block it all out: Facebook; the news; anything that might remind me of what happened. That wasn’t possible though. For one; everything reminded me of it. A Christmas song on the radio; an advertisement of a boy and his dad together; or simply looking down and watching my own kids playing. Two of them twins, and their older sister, who is so very sensitive that she cried really hard when she found out one of the victims, Noah Pozner, was also a twin.

But it was the feelings of guilt that really made it so hard for me to let it go. Guilt about how I first reacted to the whole thing. Guilt about how I treated my friend that day, and guilt about trying to block it all out. It wasn’t right that I was trying to forget what happened. Why? Because we should never forget what happened that day. It should pull at you to reject what happened as just another senseless act. For me, It was so much more. It shattered an ideal that our youngest students our safe while in school. It opened my eyes to how we should of seen this coming. I don’t mean that this incident should have been stopped. I mean that we have seen a constant progression of hate over the years and I pray that this act in Newtown marks the beginning of the decent.

These were the thoughts going through my mind as I was back on I-84 heading for Newtown on Sunday, December 23rd at 6:00am


Day 2 – The Diner

From a photographer’s viewpoint, going into Newtown so soon after the shootings created a new sense of guilt. For the previous 9 days, the town had more reporters and members of the media in it than ever before and you could tell that it was starting to get to some of the townspeople. A few “No Media!” signs were along the road into Sandy Hook when I visited the day before and that had me thinking a lot about whether I was “media” in this instance. In the end, I decided that it didn’t matter what I thought. If one person there saw me as media, then yes I was and I didn’t want to be the cause of any more pain for these people.

I rationalized that I was not going to be intrusive and also that I would leave right away if someone asked, but as I pulled into the parking lot of the Blue Colony Diner, I was definitely feeling some guilt. I drove around the building, peeking inside to hopefully find an empty diner since it was still early. Unfortunately, I saw an older couple sitting in a booth in the corner closest to where I parked. That changed my approach for taking these photos immediately as my camera would be pointed almost directly at them. I did a quick walk around the front to see if there was a better angle, but my initial instinct was right and I would have to take it from the original area or come back another day. The sun was just beginning to lighten the dark sky that I wanted as a backdrop, so waiting out their breakfast wasn’t an option.

I decided I would work as efficiently as possible, take only what I absolutely needed to make a good image and get out. So I changed all of my camera settings in the car and then quickly pulled out my tripod and locked the legs down. I took a grand total of 5 images that morning and a little piece of each one is in the final image below. This will be the first time I mention HDR, but it won’t be the last. If you don’t know what HDR is, I suggest you visit Trey Ratcliff will explain it better than I ever could, but i will definitely be writing about it in future posts.

The Diner

Come back tomorrow for part 3. Another building I decided to photograph as I passed it on day 1.


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