The Images of Ashala

For copies or use of these and other images, email:   ashala7@gmail.com

View my website:  www.ashalaTylor.com

(To view images in full size, click on image)

Standing at the train station in San Luis Obispo, Ca. with camera in hand, I was reminded  of an era long past – right out of the 50’s.  No wonder San Luis Obispo was coined  the happiest town in America.  This is a place where people truly care and support each other.    On this beautiful Central Coast day, people took time out of their day to welcome home a young soldier returning from the Iraq war.  There were flags and signs held high by young and old.  This was not about whether one was for or against this war.  This was simply, when a soldier returns home, to honor a young man who put his life on the line.

Four organizations – American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard, Military Parents of the Central Coast and Welcome Home Troops – and family and friends gathered at the San Luis Obispo Train Station for a surprise welcome to Specialist 5, Daniel Donnahoo.   After he stepped off the train, a very obviously surprised soldier was greeted with cheers, flags and hugs.   Mom was first to reach him with an embrace that only a mother can give.  Daniel saw his daughter, who is one year old, and has not seen since her birth.  His wife, who is in the National Guard, was also there.

From a photographer’s standpoint, this was great shooting:  emotions were high, excitement was in the air, and there was color everywhere from shiny motorcycles, to the banners, to the American flags, to the posters.  I could not have asked for better shooting conditions.   As far as outdoor photography tips, in this situation, have your camera ready to shoot fast as there is a lot happening at once.  Stand back and get the crowd scenes and move in close and get the emotion of loved ones who have been separated for so long.  I was shooting with a wide angle 24-105 and telephoto 70-200.  I used Canon 5DmII and 7D.

                                                                                                                                           Daniel Donnahoo was overwhelmed by the show of support

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MG 3567-2 Train Station

3554-2 Welcome Home

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3516-2 Reunion A Mother's Hug

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3627-2 Motorcycle Motorcade

0161-2 Motorcade

After more hugs and media interviews, a motorcade of 45 motorcycles and many cars left the train station – mom and dad on a motorcycle, too — headed for Morro Bay.  They picked up a police escort at Cuesta College, motorcaded through Morro Bay and then headed home to Atascadero, but not before picking up more vehicles and motorcycles when they stopped by VFW 2814.    When the motorcade finally arrived in Atascadero, neighbors were there to greet him.  Everyone enjoyed food, drink and celebration.

A truly small town with a huge heart… Welcome home, Daniel.

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3535-2 Daniel's daughter and his mom

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0083-2 Motorcyclist

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0067-2 Welcome Home, Soldier

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_MG_3493-2 SLO Town Welcome

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3475-2 Glenn "Sage" Donaldson

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Comments on: "A Small Town with a Huge Heart" (4)

  1. Elizabeth said:

    WELCOME HOME DANIEL!!! Thanks for your service!
    No matter which side of the political fence you’re on, you’ve got to appreciate our young people who serve this great country!

  2. Joan Book said:

    Wonderful pictures Ashala of a wonderful day. Thank you Daniel for your unselfish service.
    We appreciate you and your family’s dedication to our great country. Congratulations on becoming a dad!

  3. Amazing pictures that really capture the emotions! How wonderful that all these people showed up to wonderful him home!

  4. Terrific story Ashala and so glad you were there to cover it. To greet and thank a soldier for his/her service is not a political statement. Much more. It is to honor those that have gone so we can stay, to be safe while they are in harms way, to serve without expecting anything in return. A tribute to the fallen or those that have served is the very minimum we can do. Thanks for the post.

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