Every year right before Memorial Day, the local Boy Scouts go out to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetary and put flags on all of the graves. Over the years, I have gotten some good pictures of both the event and the cemetary with the flags on the graves. This year, I would like to try something new. Here is what I am after and how I was thinking of going about it.

What I am thinking is trying to "ghost" the people putting the flags out. What happens is a hoard of scouts and parents come down a hillside with 8 inch high flags and put them about 12 inches in front of every tombstone. They pause for a second or two by every grave to put the flag in the ground before moving on. Since they are mostly kids, they move rapidly between the graves. What I am thinking is with a slow enough shutter speed, I can get a variety of densities on the ghosted images of the kids planting the flags on the graves. I'm hoping for a feeling of the permanance of the graveyard with the ghosted scouts showing respect that is largely forgotten the rest of the year. I plan on getting well ahead of the crowd and setting up on a tripod and am thinking that I probably need to drive the shutter speed into the 5-7 second range to accomplish what I am looking for.

The cemetary is right on the coast and it is usually overcast at that time of day/year. From the spot I envision shooting, I will have about 2/3 grass covered hillisde and 1/3 tree broken skyline. I was planning on using a 50mm lens.

Now, I'm going to try a few experiments before May. I'm going to have to because I don't think that I'll have more than 2 or 3 shots before the tide of scouts overruns me. Here is what I'm thinking as a starting point for my experiments:

ISO 100 Film
Lens stopped all the way down (f22 I believe)
Hoping for dim light of an overcast morning

Now, I am also thinking that I could use a 2 stop graduated ND filter that I have to decrease the light from the sky but am almost wondering if perhaps I should invest in a 2 or 3 stop ND filter.

Anything you can suggest? Has anybody else tried something like this before?