Soldier Holding an M1 Garand MemorablePlaces Proudly Presents: The M1-Garand Rifle
An American Companion in Three Wars
The M1 Garand Rifle An American
Companion In Three Wars
Behind The Scenes

M1 Garand Photography

Behind The Scenes

An exhaustive discussion on how this M1 garand Rifle site came to be and how I did each step would take a whole website unto itself. What follows are just a few of the highpoints of creating this webspace.


This website which was originally called simply "My M1 Garand Site" then "The M1 Garand Rifle - An American Companion In Three Wars" and later became known also as "Charles' M1 Newbie Page" took about 1.25 months of pretty intense effort to complete... initially.

The site has been undergoing minor revision off and on ever since.

The M1 Garand site was opened in February or March of 2000 after several months of labor. I was not able to work on it constantly, but I did work on it daily.

The site really really started out just as a way to show off my CMP rifles to the folks on Culver's bulletin board. I did the original 'show off' pages and then decided that because of the fact I could not find any decent M1 Garand assembly/stripping procedures online that I'd share my experiences and how I did things. As I began doing those procedures I figured that there would be no real way to be able to do it RIGHT unless I gave them correct part names - so I decided I'd have to create a Nomenclature section as well.

As you can figure the project snowballed...

How to Take a Tiny Project and Build It Into A Photographic Monster:

Now to do the above correctly, I had to photograph each and every part of the M1 Garand Rifle. This consisted of setting up the photographic shot with different lighting for each item, composing the shot, figuring fill flash, placing a background item such as a patch, coin, dogtag or whatnot from the WW2 period, and determining any number of other factors to best illustrate the part (angles etc.).

Each part was shot at least 2 times. Several parts or procedures as many as 12 times. The average was probably 3 to 5 photos of each part or procedural step. If you figure there are 57 Nomenclature shots alone, and goodness knows how many step by step by step rifle-stripping and assembly photos - this gets to be a really large number of photographs. Only the best were used of course.

For the Nomenclature shots I was able to photograph them alone though I had help with lighting and such from time to time. Two people were needed to do the photography for the stripping and assembly sections - myself and an assistant. I set up the shots and then would move my hands into the picture to 'do' whatever action was needed for the shot as they took the photos I directed.

Once several shots were taken, the camera was taken back to the office and the photos were 'developed' on the computer. Many many times this resulted in going back and doing it again.. or again and again and again.. until we got it just as close to perfect as we could.

Once a shot was accepted by me as worthy of inclusion the real fun began. A second assistant was brought in who helped do some of the digital photo manipulation. I did much of this as well. This 'photo tuning' actually took longer than taking the photographs themselves in almost all cases... At a MINIMUM we cropped all of the photos down to be the same size then we would 'edge' them and put a shadow behind them.

Most however were not that easy. Digital photography is not an exact science and in 2000 with the equipment that I had it was less than perfect. In fact, the largest challenge in making this site was the photography of the smaller parts. I had determined to use a digital camera for this as it would have been prohibitively expensive for me to use real film and bracket the shots properly and experiment with lighting. (Each item pictured was photographed from 3-12 times till it came out right).

Most photographs required digital manipulation of some sort or another. This included but was not limited to dodging or burning [lightening or darkening]) certain areas of the photographs, tilting and turning things, even digitally removing shadows and or cropping out parts that were attached and not messing up the background. A good example of this is the receiver photograph. I did NOT remove the barrel on my M1 for this, instead I used special effects and background cloning to get the affect of not having a barrel on the receiver.

Sadly digital macro photography is still far from perfect and it took some doing to get acceptable photos of small objects.

The upside to this of course is that I was able to get instant feedback on the photos. 'Developing' only took me minutes and I did it myself rather than waiting for several days days to send real film to Kodak for processing.

Once the photography and manipulation of the photos was done I built a template for each section of the website. I then began making the html pages that people would see.

A few times photos had to be redone or new ones added for this section. When all of this was accomplished I'd post the page and link it back.

Getting The Words RIGHT:

Another challenge in assembling this website was learning enough to be able to coherently discuss each part of the rifle. I wanted to note far more than most manuals would including what its function was and where it went etc. etc.

For the nomenclature pages, I determined as best I could what each part did and wrote it up. This information was gleaned through field and service manuals, discussions with people on Culver's bulletin board, and personal experience. I then posted the photo of whichever part to the template, modified or formatted the text posted the page, and placed a link back to the main nomenclature page.

For the sections on stripping and assembly I would do all of the above as well as compose text on how I do it for the page. I then got input from the late Lane Smith on anything I was unsure on. When the page was complete I'd talk to him about it and he would proofread the new pages.

Costs And Challenges:

I went through several photo-light bulbs and spent somewhere around 100 bucks for background material, bulbs, World War 2 artifacts, and whatnot to make the whole site cohesive and interesting. I had not expected to spend this sum, but particularly in the nomenclature section I believed that it was important to add interest to the photographs so I bought items which would help to give the photos a little life. In addition there was the matter of lighting...

During the photography I went through several photo-flood bulbs. Why they can't make a bulb that will last more than 3 hours is beyond me and at 6 bucks a pop I was always feeling a little rushed. I hope it does not show in the photos.

In April of 2001 The M1 Garand An American Companion In Three Wars website was composed of 431 files. 174 of those files are actual web pages the rest are all of the photographs and navigational images.

I am constantly battling myself for server space. As the M1 site increases in depth I get very close to server space quota from time to time and its a compromise where other things that I want to post do not get posted.

I have recently gotten my own domain for this site. The cost of that is 29 bucks per year plus 12 dollars in redirect fees. I also pay about 30 a month for server space.

In Conclusion...

The results speak for themselves for good or for ill. I think that the site came out okay. Someday I'd like another digital camera that is more advanced and maybe I will redo some of the shots that I still do not see as perfect.

I must confess part of the reason for doing this website was to force myself to become totally familiar with the weapon. It worked. I can not yet tear it down blindfolded but I am sure close.

Soooooooooooooooooo that is what I did.... the above is sort of the medium version of the experience of creating a site of this nature. There were countless other little things that were not documented here.. but you get the general idea.

It took 3 of us to put the site together and I have not a CLUE how many hours.. but it was a LOT for sure. It is an extensive site and it is well done in my humble opinion

This has been a challenging, interesting, and fun project. I am actively looking to improve the site so if I have made any errors, I am very interested in hearing about them. Don't be shy! Hit the mail button and tell me where I screwed up. You'll get a thank-you and not a flame.. promise!

Thank you for visiting this website and reading this page. I appreciate it! Feel free to tell you friends and to link it if you have a website of your own!

Thanks for taking the time to read about this website!

Please feel free to explore the other sections of this website:
[About This Website] [How I Maintain My M1s] [CMP Program - Our Experience]
Our CMP M1 Garand Rifles] [CMP Ammunition] [M1 Parts Photographs & Nomenclature]
M1 Garand Accessories] [A Little Important Humor] [Links to Other M1 Garand Sites]

This page was last updated on: June 16, 2007
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