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Graduation Chronicles (many pics)
Posted By: maxwell1295, 06-18-2008, 06:41 AM

One of the perks of working at a college is that there is always something going on around here. In this case, it was Graduation Weekend. I'm at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY. It is one of 5 federal service academies, the others being West Point (Army), Annapolis (Navy), the Air Force Acedemy, and the Coast Guard Academy.

Graduates from Kings Point leave with a Bachelor of Science degree accompanied by a 6 year commitment to the Naval Reserve. They are commissioned as Ensigns in the USNR. Many of them join one of the Armed Services, are commissioned as officers, and placed on active duty. The majority of graduates enter the maritime industry as engineers and ship's officers, predominantly on US flag merchant ships. It is the only service academy to have sent actual students to war, losing 142 Midshipmen in WWII. That's enough history, now onto the pics!

I was fortunate enough to meet a wonderful family who travelled up from Mentone, AL with a camper and stayed on campus for the week. My wife and I befriended them while they were here and I decided to follow their son (Dan) through the graduation ceremony. I've been to several of these ceremonies (I actually set them up), but I have never taken photos of the actual ceremony. This with Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and George Bush aboard as commencement speakers. I guess there's a first time for everything.

The March-On






The Ceremonial Mace



The Superintendent, Admiral Stewart with Transportation Secretary Mary Peters to his right


The Audience


Dan receiving his degree from Admiral Stewart


YES! (check out the kid in the upper right corner)


Hip, hip....HOORAY!!!


Arrived as a Midshipman, leaving as an Ensign. Ensign bars being put on by Mom & Dad


A kiss from Mom...


Proud grad and family (including Fred the mini dachshund)




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06-18-2008, 02:26 PM   #2
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Fantastic application of depth-of-field. Very creative and effective. Appreciated the history lesson too. Too little is known or said about the Merchant Marine Academy.

There is only one thing I would change in your series of shots, only one. That would be to clone out the red wind sock in the third picture. Because of the color of the device, the composition of the image, and the background, my eye immediately went to the sock, and not the true subject of the image. With the DOF you used, simple enough to clone out without spoiling the shot. While I was at it, I might remove the pipe on the side of the building too, but that is minor.

Otherwise, an excellent series.
06-18-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
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Thanks! I didn't even notice the wind sock. I think the hardest thing to do is to see a mistake in something you write or in something you photograph.
06-18-2008, 06:35 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by volosong Quote
Too little is known or said about the Merchant Marine Academy.
i must admit too that i've never heard of this academy either, but i know all the other ones are very famous and difficult to enter, so i'd imagine this would not be any different.

nice photos all of them, my favourite is the last one. but i do find them a tad underexposed.

06-18-2008, 06:52 PM   #5
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Interesting that you say that about the exposure. I find that happens when I do PP on my laptop in my office. It could be the bright overhead fluorescent lighting throwing me off. I work by histogram, but haven't trusted it as much as I should.

For these pics in particular, I wanted to make sure I didn't blow out the white in the uniforms. It was an overcast day, which helped out with that, but may have led to some underexposure. Definitely something to keep an eye on....
06-18-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i must admit too that i've never heard of this academy either, but i know all the other ones are very famous and difficult to enter, so i'd imagine this would not be any different.

nice photos all of them, my favourite is the last one. but i do find them a tad underexposed.
I thought the same thing. Other than that small nitpick it's a very good series. And thanks for the lesson, too. It's very fascinating.
06-19-2008, 01:57 AM   #7
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Nice series and congrats on your bars

cheers
06-19-2008, 06:54 AM   #8
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I really like this series. Tells a story. Graduation must be a great time (aside for the long waits for parents haha) - You are indeed lucky to work at such a dynamic place. I think I see Richard Gere !

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