My favorite photos capture small details of a place that would be forgotten if not for the picture.  On a family trip to Japan several years ago, my mother made endless fun of me for zooming in and snapping photos of nubs cast into a decorative post at some temple.  But after seeing my photos, she admitted that the nubs were her favorite picture.

Details matter.  Especially at an excessively overphotographed tourist site — everyone shoots the landscape, so their capture looks no different than that taken by their neighbor three years ago.  So I prefer shooting the overlooked details that make a photo stand out and a place more memorable.

Our French nuclear facilities tour concluded in the Normandy region on a Friday night, so we spent our Saturday visiting the historic WWII sites and beaches en route back to Paris.  Our first stop was Sainte-Mère-Église, a small town best known for American paratrooper John Steele becoming suspended from the church tower during the D-Day landings.  The little Gothic church now keeps a mannequin of an American solider, with a parachute flapping in the wind, tangled on the spires.

The church is positioned on a central town square covered in this strange red cinder-like rock.


Bullet holes from the D-Day combat are still visible in the church’s exterior walls.


Candles for “peace and reconciliation” are available with donation.



The stained glass panes in the church are all dedicated to the D-Day landings.  This window commemorates the 25th anniversary of D-Day, when many of the veterans returned to visit the church.


Outside the church was this shuttered merry-go-round.  I found its bright pink color rather eerie against the rainy, grey sky.  This turned out to be my favorite photo of the trip.


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