Manfrotto XPROB55 + HDV701 head
Samyang 14mm f2.8
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
This is the only World War One American Cemetery on Belgian soil. 368 soldiers are buried here, 43 'missing'.
Today, 31st of October, 2012, I did another On Holy Ground project. I had been waiting to do this for quite some time, as I wanted to film the location on the exact date that in 1918, the events occurred: in Waregem, Belgium, near the Spitaalbossen, and in Oudernaarde, on the banks of the river Scheldt.
As I was just about starting to shoot at the cemetery, a military looking person came to me and asked me if I was a professional filmer. I explained to him that it was a personal project. He was ‘cool’ with it! There were gardeners at work and the scaffolding at the main monument was still present. The door of the main monument was locked, so I couldn’t film inside of it. I do have some still images I took some weeks ago when I was doing ‘reconaissance’. You can view them here: flic.kr/s/aHsjCA3tQQ
I also wanted to shoot some of the woods (the ‘Spitaalbossen’), but I didn’t: it is a busy road there, and I couldn’t fine a safe place park the car. Also, the woods now are speckled with luxury mansions and villas, and I didn’t want to intrude.
So I moved on to Ohio Bridge. The four bisons are still there, but they are a bit dwarfed by the modern bridge. I liked the original Ohio design better, as can be seen on historical pictures. It made the bisons more ‘monumental’, I guess. Oudenaarde now is the Belgian capital for ‘cyclists’ and surely, I had to put in a shot of modern day cyclists along the river Scheldt.
Here is a detailed account of the military events which took place in early November 1918: newrivernotes.com/ww1/91divaef.htm#5
More general historical info about the military campaign:
Ypres-Lys 19 August - 11 November 1918. That part of the Western Front extending from the English Channel south through Ypres, and thence across the Lye River to the vicinity of Arras, was manned by an army group under King Albert of Belgium composed of Belgian, British, and French armies. In late August and early September the British Second and Fifth Armies, assisted by the American II Corps (27th and 30th Divisions), wiped out the Lys salient. When the Germans began retiring in the sector south of the Lys in October to shorten their lines, King Albert's army group attacked along its entire front. By 20 October Ostend and Bruges had been captured and the Allied left was at the Dutch frontier. In mid-October Pershing dispatched two American divisions-the 37th and 91st-to the French Army of Belgium, at Foch's request, to give impetus to the drive to cross the Scheldt (Escaut) southwest of Ghent. A general attack began in this area on 31 October and continued intermittently until hostilities ended on 11 November. The 37th Division forced a crossing of the river southeast of Heurne on 2 November and another farther north at the site of the destroyed Hermelgem-Syngem bridge on 10 November. Casualties of the two divisions in these operations totaled about 2,600. From 19 August to 11 November about 108,000 Americans participated in the Ypres-Lys Campaign.
(source: history.army.mil/html/reference/army_flag/wwi.html )