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Marine Corps Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial

Photograph the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps musical performance followed by a breathtaking performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon

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Sunset at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington brings a special treat on Tuesday evenings during the summer…

The Sunset Parade! The parade is not a street parade, but a military parade consisting of ceremonial pomp that is symbolic of Marine professionalism, discipline, and esprit de corps. Our photo safari begins with an opportunity to photograph “The Commandant’s Own”, the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps in their bright red dress uniforms followed by a breathtaking performance by the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon!

The Drum and Bugle Corps consists of 80 active duty Marines dressed in ceremonial red and white uniforms, playing martial and popular music. Following the Drum and Bugle Corps is the Silent Drill Platoon, with a 24-man precision exhibition drill tem working with 10-pound M1 Rifles complete with fixed bayonets. The Marines march in silent precision across the parade ground in front of the Memorial and then toss their bayoneted rifles end over end at each other, as we photograph them with our rapid-shooting cameras.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, at twilight, we photograph the 76-foot high statue of the Marines planting the flag at Mt. Suribachi, with tripods and proper filters for white balance or color correction. We then walk over to the nearby Netherlands Carrillon to photograph that postcard view of the three monuments, Lincoln, Washington and the Capitol, all aligned on a west-east axis in your viewfinder. It’s a photographer’s delight and a great opportunity to learn the techniques of nighttime cityscape photography!