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In real life, away from the internet, I own Valley Studio … a small full service photography business. One of the most intriguing assignments I have had over the last 20+ years has been, with the help of my brother Bo, to photograph the Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination. Each year over 1,000 volunteers place and light 23,110 luminaries over a large portion of the battlefield … one for each casualty of the battle at Antietam (near Sharpsburg, Maryland) on September 17, 1862. This was the single bloodiest day of the Civil War. This special event happens only once a year on the first Saturday in December and has been ongoing since 1989. I feel very fortunate and honored to have been chosen to be the “official photographer” for the Illumination.
What is a luminary? Simple … a brown paper bag, a bit larger than a lunch bag, with a cup of sand in the bottom (for weight) and a special, long-burning votive candle. Imagine the time it takes to prepare more than 23,000 of these!
Shown here is a selection of favorite photographs from the Memorial Illumination.