The story on how I got these pictures is at the bottom. The
images found on this site are the property of Michael Pierce and may not
be distributed or reused for any purpose.
pictures where taken using the AP's 600mm lens As I
was leaving I passed a prayer service being held by family members
The images found on this site are the property of Michael Pierce and may not be distributed or reused for any purpose.
These pictures where taken using the AP's 600mm lens
As I was leaving I passed a prayer service being held by family members
Back to Index
The Story Behind The Pictures
This morning I planned to go downtown to take pictures of the Pentagon. Just last Saturday I had been downtown with my daughter Samantha taking pictures.
But, when I got up, the weather was horrible - it was raining. I almost didnt go, but then I figured it might be a better time to go because the rain would keep sightseer's away (for the most part, I figured).
So, I loaded up all my equipment and an umbrella and headed down.
First thing I noticed when I drove past the Pentagon was that the damage was not on the side I expected. I had expected the damage to be on the side towards the White House since I figured they turned after going over the White House. But, the damage is actually on the opposite side! That means they had to circle around and come up from the South. Just interesting, because they must have been flying circles for a little bit.
Anyways, first attempt at getting near was unsuccessful - police have the whole area shut off. My second attempt was also unsuccessful - but the policeman there was helpful and suggested a place I might try and go.
I found a street nearby where I could park my car (I offered the guy $50 to let me park in front of his house). I then hiked down towards the Pentagon. When I got closer, I notice an area of woods where if I could get into would give me some good shots. I crossed over and was able to take some pictures. It was then that some Marines came by using the same shortcut, so I followed them. When we got close to the Pentagon (and the security checkpoints) I headed towards the "Press Area" which is the closest you can get.
Now, what I didnt know is that this area was also restricted. But it seems that with all my gear they assumed I was with the press and didnt challenge me or stop me. I found a good spot in the Press Area and started taking pictures. Then I started moving around the area - I was impressed to see people whom I had been seeing on the television the past few days.
At one point I was taking some pictures when I looked at a stool next to me - it had CNN written on it!
A guy with some Nikon D1s and I started talking (I had my D1 with me also). (In fact, most of the cameras I saw were D1s with a couple D1Xs!). After a little bit of talking he asked whom I was with. Ut oh. So, I decided it was no good lying, so I said I was there on my own. He looked at me funny and said, "Nice equipment." (I had a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 lens, which is pretty big on my camera). Pretty soon I was talking with a few guys who told me they were with the AP and "pooling pictures " - they wanted to know if I had any shots from before now - which I didn't.
One guys said, "Look at his (mine) equipment, there isnt a scratch on it! Looks like it just came out of the box. You new?" I told them, in fact, the camera was a year and a half old, but that I mostly shot swimsuit models in the studio. They laughed at that. Some decided they were in the wrong business.
So I wandered around a little more taking pictures from different angles. When I got back to my new AP buddies, they were setting up some equipment. One had as big a lens as I had ever seen - it was a Nikon 600mm with an extender (the lens even had its own tripod) - I asked about the lens and they said you could see right into the floors of the building. So, I asked if I could hook my camera up to it for some shots and they said no problem! So, I fired off about a dozen shots before they needed it back.
I handed out business cards and we said we'd touch base later. Maybe I'm in the wrong business?!
On my way out I passed a service being held for relatives of people still missing. I took a couple pictures and said a prayer.
An odd thing happened on my way out of town. While I was on my cell phone talking to a friend and telling him this story, the conversation was interrupted and a woman identified herself, but I couldnt get the name of the organization. She demanded to know who was in the car with me. I thought there might be a mixup of signals, so I said "Hello?" and she responsed "Hello. This is..." and some more information that was hard to catch because she was talking so fast. She repeated her question about who was in the car with me. Still suprised by the interruption, I asked "Excuse me?" and the phone line went dead. I called back my friend and he said the line just went dead and he didnt hear anything. I cant help but wonder if my cell phone call was being monitored.
Having given you the "story" being the pictures, I'd like to say that I am awed by what I saw. I cannot describe in words my feelings at seeing the destruction or the sadness of seeing loved ones waiting for word on their family or friends. My prayers are with those family and all those whose lives are affected by the tragedy.
White House Image Taken 9/8/01
Here's a picture of the White House that I took on Saturday the 8th - Samantha and I had taken the afternoon to go downtown and take some pictures. She was more interested in squirrels and ducks - hard for me to imagine that only two days after taking this picture it was a target for terrorists.
The images found on this site are the property of Michael D. Pierce and may not be distributed or reused for any purpose.