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Written in Stone
Photograph by Cary Wolinsky

Gravestones are good business in Barre, Vermont, where dozens of companies in town make the markers. At the Buttura & Gherardi firm, blank slabs become memorials in the sandblast room. First, a rubber template bearing the design is affixed to the rock's face. Then a craftsman such as Claude Leclerc (above) traces every leaf, rose, and angel of the template's pattern with a high-powered, sand-shooting tool. The slow, careful process leaves behind an engraved surface and a lot of rock dust—the reason Leclerc seems dressed more for Mars than for the middle of Vermont.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon D1X
Film Type: Digital
Lens: 17-35mm zoom
Speed and F-Stop: 1/15 @ f/2.8

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: 8 a.m.
Lighting Techniques: Available light
Special Equipment or Comments: A digital camera gives the photographer the ability to control white balance. In this scene I chose to use a setting that was closer to daylight than to tungsten. The lights look yellow which feels more natural to the eye. The sand blowing out of the blasting tool fills the air with dust and causes light ray to stand out against the background.

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