Today I played photographer. I attended a Civil War reenactment “experience” commemorating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the start of the Civil War which began on April 12, 1861, when the Confederate States of America fired on Fort Sumter. Attending as a photographer, I felt free to roam the grounds and photograph what struck my fancy. I met “Gen. Robt. E. Lee” and he kindly posed for me telling me that his troops rarely took his battle advice. I talked with a “laundress” who was cooking a pot of beans over a wood fire in preparation for a post battle meal. I examined both Union and Confederate cannons with nary a soul around me and took a few close up shots of Union horses that would soon be pulling the cannon into battle. I asked a “Union soldier ,” who was filming the battle reenactment, about his high tech gear and asked what year it became available to the Union(!). I compared lenses and camera equipment with another photographer when we were in the Confederate camp and were asked to step away from the troops who were lining up in preparation for battle. I was playing with the big boys today. I lined up with the “pros” who were wielding huge telephoto lenses supported by monopods; I walked with them to the front of the viewing area and stood with a clear view of the battlefield. It’s great to be a photographer and get a front row seat and no one questions you about it.
Sadly, the battle reenactment was a real snooze. I guess I’m too used to having battlefield scenes accompanied by heart pounding music, with closeup views of heads being blown off, blood splattering everywhere, and continuous action. I found what was probably a semi-accurate depiction of a Civil War battle to be dull and uninteresting. Yes, there were cannon to right of us and cannon to left of us that had very loud booms, and it probably would have been a valley of death they were riding into had it not been a reenactment 150 years later (and yes, I do realize Tennyson was writing about the Crimean War and not the Civil War but still, the time period was approximately the same). During the 30 minutes or so I watched the battle, I tried to capture the fire coming from the mouth of the Rebels’ cannon; I was always a fraction of a second off, watching through the viewfinder as fire shot from the cannon just as I pressed the shutter release, never able to anticipate the right timing. My battlefield photos were as uninteresting as the reenactment itself.
I managed to capture a few interesting photos during my visit to the park, though. And I actually have two favorite photos today; neither one is a battle photo and since I couldn’t decide which I preferred, I’m posting both. I took the first shortly before the Confederate soldiers assembled for battle. This guy had the right idea. I took the second as this Rebel soldier took aim on an unsuspecting attendee.
Focal Length 112mm
Focal Length 24mm