Civil War Reenactments are a lot of fun to attend and very educational as well. I have seen the one in Fresno several times (October time frame) but until this year always missed the local, annual one at Mooney Grove as it hits right in my crunch time preparing our Nursery catalog.
Finally made it this year and it was a treat as expected.
One of my surprises was the lack of crowds. I saw nothing in the local paper to announce it and heard comments from others bemoaning that fact. Disappointing, I am sure for those who worked so hard to put on the event , but great for the visitors.
What was fun about this visit was spending time getting to know some of the people involved. I brought along some extra lighting gear since I was shooting a senior portrait and walked through the camps looking for suitable backgrounds. It raised questions about what newspaper I was with (not) which broke the ice. Explaining that the senior was very interested in history opened all sorts of doors as these people are passionate about explaining and acting out life at that tough time in history. The group that I spent the most time had a number of school teachers and it showed in their educational spirit.
I encourage families to attend in the future and do more than just watch the exciting and noisy battles. Spend time in the camps and the field hospital. Listen to the actors describe life in the camps and especially gain a great appreciation for how far medical skills have progressed since then. Hear how the war devastated communities and tore apart families. Hearing it from the actors themselves made it become more memorable.
Those involved in these reenactments really enjoy what they do. These weekends become a camping trip for them and their families and get to share it with the many friends they have made over the years. Even had children involved.
On my photo gallery of this event, I processed the photos in color and many of them I also processed to look old as shown in this blog post. The technology of that day could not capture the billowing smoke and flames of a cannon firing – but we can, so why not. For those interested, the photos were processed both in Adobe Lightroom and many of the B&W/Sepia were processed in NIK Software Silver Efex Pro 2. Cameras used were Nikon D700 and D7000 with 24-70 F2.8 and 70-200 F2.8 VR lenses.
145 photos in the Civil War Photo Gallery here: Civil War Reenactment at Mooney Grove
Ron Ludekens 3-25-2012