Friday, July 19, 2013

Photo of the Week

Taken at the Ramp Ceremony for fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots Chris Mackenzie and Kevin Woyjeck. The Ramp Ceremony was held at Los Alamitos Joint Training Base on July 10, 2013.

Click to enlarge, pay attention to the center of the photograph.

Lone Cub Scout In A Sea Of Blue

The paradox of this image, a son accompanying his firefighter father (my assumption), to a ceremony where two other firefighter fathers were accompanying their fallen sons  home, kills me. 

Maybe you had to be there, looking through a long lens at the anguished faces of two grieving fathers, to find hope in this somber image. Maybe not.

I know I hugged my two boys when I got home that night. I am very lucky that I was able to do so.

 I wish I could say that I waited a long time, holding for the right composition before getting on the shutter. I wish I could say that I wandered all of the way around this group of people, selecting the perfect angle to capture the definitive moment. Neither of these are what happened.

I didn't even know he was in the image, I was tunneled in on the flags, the banners of color flowing in the breeze. It wasn't until I reviewed the image a few days later that I noticed the scout, standing earnestly with the contingent from L.A. County F.D. Obviously, it changed the meaning of the photo, as well as the composition.

Even though it was an accident, I find this a very compelling photo. One that gives me hope. Hope that the Mackenzie and Woyjeck families can somehow recover from this tragedy. Hope for the scout and his father. Hope for all of us.

Thanks for reading,



  1. That's so moving. I don't know how you could see through the viewfinder, as emotional a scene as that is. Thank you again. - Wayne

  2. We never "recover". Some of the lucky ones "adapt" and that is about it. Some better than others. Thanks for posting the Photo. Stay well. Ara and Spirit.

  3. Schmoe,
    As a scoutmaster, former eagle scout and parent of a bear scout, this image has a powerful impact. It is one that I would like to recommend that you forward to the editor of scouting magazine. In the times that we currently live in, this image tells me that scouting will continue to live on. I want to say that the scout may have asked his dad if he could attend as he wanted to show his respect for those that had died. I know that a lot of the scouts in my area would have. The email address is to submit it to scouting magazine.

    Kind regards,

  4. Wow. I have no real good words to add to that. 30 some years ago, I was a pilot for DNR, building my time, up in the mountains where I grew up. My best friend was flying tankers out of K Falls, we were just buddies, but we were tight. A bunch of folks were working one fire, John included, I'd been asked to tag along with him, but declined, being sick to my stomach the last few days. They crashed on that September evening, killing all abord.

    The day after the funeral I found out I was pregnant. Brigid Jr, who I gave up for adoption to another family with ties to that community of people.

    Memories indeed.

  5. Wayne - There were a couple of times my allergies started to act up.

    Ara - Sometimes adaptation is all the recovery one gets. I have to hope that some improvement occurs, though I never want to find out. Take care.

    Michael - I may just do that, thanks for the tip.

    Brigid - It's odd what triggers those memories and feelings. This sure made me want to hug my kids.

    Thanks for the comments, all.