9/11 – Where were you when our nation came under siege?

Photo of Statue of Liberty in New York City taken November 23, 2001 - about 10 weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

September 11th marks the thirteen year anniversary of the terror attacks on our country. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives that day and our country lost it's innocence as well.

September 11, 2001 was a glorious fall day in Northeast Ohio. My oldest daughter, Jacqui, was home from school recovering from her wisdom teeth being extracted the day before. Around 9 a.m., my wife called telling me to turn on the TV to see coverage of a plane that had just crashed into the World Trade Center. As the minutes passed, another one hit the WTC, and then the Pentagon, and then Shanksville, PA. It was clear these were no accidents.

My daughter and I watched the coverage all day, wondering what was in store for the future. Could we expect major acts of terror every day? Fortunately, no. But unfortunately, our personal freedoms have come under assault.

Weeks prior to the attacks, my family had planned our first visit ever to New York City during the week of Thanksgiving. After 9/11, we debated whether it is was wise to go there with the possibility of more terrorism. We chose to go.

9/11 World Trade Center rubble in New York

9/11 World Trade Center rubble in New York still stood five stories high in November, 2011.

Our drive along I-80 through Pennsylvania to the “Big Apple” revealed our country's amazing patriotism. We saw the American flag proudly waving over several overpasses and displayed from the windows of countless cars. As we got closer to NYC, we stopped at gas stations and restauraunts where it seemed that everyone we spoke to lost a friend or relative in the World Trade Center collapse.

Probably the most breathtaking moment as we approached the city from several miles out was our first glimpse of the Empire State Building. I imagined what that skyline would have looked like if the Twin Towers still stood. It became difficult driving as my eyes misted over.

There were many other emotional moments as we toured New York. At Grand Central Terminal there was a large display of photos and memorabilia of loved ones lost during the attacks. There was the gut wrenching view of the rubble being cleared away from the Twin Towers – still standing five stories high and smoldering more than ten weeks after the buildings collapsed.

9/11 attack - seagull flies over New York Harbor

A seagull flies over New York Harbor with the skyline missing the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

Fortunately, there was one huge reminder of how great our country is. The Statue of Liberty standing proudly on Ellis Island was there to remind us that our country will always fight for our freedom. It was a wonderful way to conclude our journey.

So what memories do you have from the day the world changed forever? Please share them with a comment.

A commemorative photo remembering 9/11

Statue of Liberty in New York City after 9/11

Statue of Liberty in New York City after 9/11. See this artwork larger or order a limited edition commemorative print at http://mark-madere.artistwebsites.com/featured/we-shall-never-forget-9-11-mark-madere.html. (Note: the commemorative print does NOT have “SpectraLight.com/fineart” on it.)

“Cancel the trip – terrorists have attacked New York!” Those were the words I heard my wife utter over the telephone from work the morning of September 11, 2001.

There weren't any more attacks on the U.S. after that, so just 10 weeks later,  my wife, two young daughters and I spent Thanksgiving weekend in New York City. There was a somber mood cast over the city with the huge loss of life after the Twin Towers fell.

Through it all, the terrorists failed to take away our freedom. Seeing “Lady Liberty” keeping watch over New York Harbor gave us comfort and a sense of pride for our country. It is those feelings that inspired the creation of the above photo.

The image on the left is the low contrast, original image right out of the camera. The image on the right was created in just a couple mouse clicks with Topaz Adjust – a software program that I use to enhance most of my outdoor photos. The text “We Shall Never Forget – 9/11” was added with Adobe Premiere Elements.

Save 15% off Adjust or any of their other Topaz Labs software using code “15topaz” at checkout: http://spectralight.com/TopazSoftware. Scroll down that page to see all the software titles available.

NOTE: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, you'll help support this blog at no cost to you – allowing us to continue sharing information like this for your education and enjoyment. Win/Win! Thanks!

Low camera angles can add visual interest to portraits


Sometimes, you just gotta “take one for the team” to get an interesting portrait. Click the photo to see it bigger. (Photo of me lying on the ground by Colleen Pishkula)

Over the years, I've found some of the best portraits require climbing a ladder or laying on the floor or ground.

Olmsted Falls High School class of 2015 student, Tori Pishkula, her mom, Colleen, and I set out for a “photo safari” in The Flats near downtown Cleveland this summer to create something a little different for Tori's senior portraits.

When we came across this lift bridge, I fell in love with it's massive structure and metal girders criss-crossing at 90 degree angles. When I viewed Tori and the bridge at Tori's level, the size and “power” of the bridge just wasn't obvious. Laying on the ground and shooting up at Tori with the bridge rising up behind her solved the problem.

Notice that I positioned Tori slightly left of the center of the photo so as not to block the view of the entrance to the bridge. I also posed her close to the camera so she stands out beautifully against the background. Most amateur photographers would typically place the person at the entrance of the bridge where they become lost in the photo.

Do you have any photo-related questions that you would like to have answered? It can be about composition, exposure, Photoshop techniques, cameras… the sky's the limit! I will answer them here and sometimes create a video to give a better visual explanation.

Just post your questions in “Comments” under the title of this post.