Shooting in the Dark #2

_MG_1393_4_5_B&W Photographic

I typically like photos with lots of color. I love color!  I’m so grateful that I am not color-blind. It is hard for me to imagine not being able to see the turning leaves in Maine in October or November, or to see the color of my grand-children’s eyes.

Sometimes, however, pictures are better in black and white. I shot this, of course, as a color image. But because of some really strange lighting at this spot, it just came out…well, weird!  But when I converted it to monochrome it was a much better photo and all the weirdness caused by the various kinds of light sources that confused the camera’s sensor were largely eliminate.

This is another night shot of the lake that is right across the road from our humble abode. There is something about the contrast between the blackest of blacks and the bright white light of the floodlights at the base of the small trees that line the lake’s edge.  There is mystery afoot…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1989, five-year-old Melissa Brannen disappeared without a trace from a Christmas party in Fairfax, Virginia. The intensive forensic investigation that followed led to the arrest of party guest Caleb Hughes and, in the process, demonstrated how technically advanced crime solving had become.

After interviewing everyone who had been at the party, investigators determined that Hughes had left the party at roughly the same time that Brannen was discovered missing. When detectives visited Hughes’ home at 1 a.m., they found him washing his clothes, shoes, and belt. Although Hughes denied having any contact with the little girl, the detectives began an exhaustive search of his home and car.

To collect hairs and fibers, forensic experts carefully ran tape across all of the surfaces in Hughes’ house and car. Every tiny bit of evidence caught on the tape was cataloged and taken to a scraping room, where they were then examined under a microscope. In addition, Hughes’ clothing was systematically combed for foreign fibers and hairs.

Two of the fibers found in the passenger seat of Hughes’ car matched the rabbit-fur coat that Brannen’s mother had been wearing at the party. Since it was possible that the two fibers had innocently landed there, though, police needed additional evidence. Although Brannen had been wearing a blue sweater when she disappeared and police located more than 50 blue fibers in the car, direct forensic comparisons were impossible to make, since the young girl and her clothing were still missing. However, investigators learned that Melissa’s sweater was part of a Sesame Street outfit made only by JC Penney, and they were able to obtain an identical sample outfit from the manufacturer. A detailed examination proved that the blue fibers in Hughes’ car matched those from the Sesame Street outfit.

Hughes was convicted of abduction with intent to defile on March 8, 1991, but Melissa Brannen was never found.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Gourds were so important to the Haitian people that in 1807, President Henri Christophe (1761-1820) made them the base of national currency and declared all gourds the property of the state. Today, the Haitian currency is called “gourdes.


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