Photography Project 52: Week 23 – Photographing flags

I think my fascination with flags started at the Smithsonian.  They were repairing the “Star Spangle Banner” flag, and it quite literally took my breath away.  All those people working to painstakingly preserve on an old flag that was created by many hands a long time ago.  A flag that became a source of inspiration to those who needed it it most – and it continues to inspire today.  This week – is all about a symbol cultures hold deeply.

Flags symbolize our deepest values and beliefs.  They mark moments and momentous  occasions. They rally, and they console.  As I was traveling through the country I few weeks ago, I was struck by the flags they seemed everywhere.  Hung from windows, near memorials, marking a new engineering (and societal) feat, and welcoming people of many nations to a crowded airport terminal.

The most important tip this week is to set your camera in burst mode.  Once the wind picks us hold down the shutter, and hope one of the frames has the flag fully extended.  It’s important to make sure you can see the important symbols in the flag – like the lone star – otherwise the meaning becomes diminished.

Here are just a few I captured.  This week patience was the key – as I tried to capture the movement of a flag at just the right moment.  I sat in a conference room all day, watching a flag draped from a building, waiting for just the right moment.  When that moment happened, I leapt from my chair (to the surprise of my colleagues – many of whom just met me) with my camera in hand, and plastered myself against the window for a few minutes.  The picture isn’t that great – but watching that flag, and reminding myself what it meant was the high point of my day.

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