Artillery types

This photo of marine artillery in action looks like hell itself

From Dante’s Inferno to Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, there are many depictions of hell that make you think twice about the possibility of an afterlife. In fact, they have a lot in common with the M777 howitzer, a 155mm artillery piece that can send unhappy souls into the world beyond up to 25 miles away, depending on the type of projectile it’s hitting. drawn.

The otherworldly power of the machine has been captured in a dramatic photo posted on the Ministry of Defense website Thursday. The photo shows an M777 firing as part of Exercise Rolling Thunder 1-22, where gunners from the 10th Marine Regiment trained to provide “timely, accurate, and deadly fire in support of the mission,” at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, October 19. according to the photo caption.

“Marines maneuver against a simulated enemy force, using M777 howitzer cannons, counterfire operations, and detection operations,” the caption continues. “These skills help Marines perform at an elite level in order to succeed in combat.”

U.S. Marines with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division fire an M777 Howitzer during Exercise Rolling Thunder 1-22 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Oct. 19, 2021. (US Marine Corps photo United States Marines by Lance Cpl. Brian Bolin Jr.)

However, the photo seems to capture much more than just an exploding howitzer. With a few camera turns, the photographer, Lance Cpl. Brian Bolin Jr., managed to provide the scene with lightning-like lightning bolts and an eerie red glow, giving the image an unearthly energy.

“I think it’s a great photo,” said Daniel Johnson, who served as an infantry officer and journalist with the US military in Iraq and has taken many artillery photos himself. Johnson explained that Bolin likely used a technique called long exposure to capture the beams of light flying around the gun.

Also called long exposure or extended exposure, the technique involves slowing the camera’s shutter speed so that it captures still subjects but blurs moving subjects. If that moving object has a light attached to it, like a car’s headlights or the chemical lamps on a Marine’s helmet, the light will blur in the photo like in the artillery piece photo.

“If people are moving under chemical lights, you’ll see blurs that indicate movement,” Johnson said. “So that probably explains the movement of the lights left and right.”

Knowing that the lights in Bolin’s photo could depict disembodied Marines loading the gun is even scarier. What if it was a ghost gun, and all we see are the glowing spirits of its undead gunners? Wow ? More like Boo-rah, if you ask me.

This photo of marine artillery in action looks like hell itself
U.S. Soldiers with C Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Strike, execute a fire mission with an M777 howitzer during an operation in support of Iraqi security forces at Kara Soar Base, Iraq , August 7, 2016. (US Army photo by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson)

But there is something even more incredible in the photo. Johnson said that when he took pictures of artillery pieces being fired, he accelerated the shutter speed of his camera and broke a stream of fire so he could capture the exact moment the projectile left the barrel. Bolin’s shot seems to capture that moment, but it also features the blurry lights that are best captured with a slow shutter speed. How the hell did he get both the split-second moment of the cannon shot and the time lapse of moving sea lights?

“Whoever took it timed it so perfectly, he got it all,” Johnson said. “Maybe they had a long exposure right before the gunshot.”

Maybe there was some fancy editing involved, or just some old black magic. Either way, Bolin pulled off an impressive picture. The last question is where the red glow in the scene comes from. Maybe it was red chemical lights, or maybe it was the hot coals of hellfire. Anyway, remind me not to go to the seemingly haunted Fort Bragg Firing Range anytime soon.

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