Dear Steve. I am back from the 1860s and gearing up the time machine to carry
me back to the 1840s and earlier as of Thursday. The weather has been warmer
than anticipated. This has caused us to have an unusual amount of heavy sea
fog. It is supposed to rain at the event Friday and then turn colder.
Lying in the wagon I thought of my girlfriend and wondered how she was
spending the evening back home safe from the elements and the wandering
soldier patrols. In the background I could hear the strains of the 97th
regimental string band singing, "Goodnight Sweetheart." It made me really
think how wonderful it was to relive history and still be safe from the
horrors of war as they were really lived.
Friday was a slow photography job day. I ran around and looked at the
sutlers' stores. They are the ones who sell the goods reenactors need to
conduct their hobby. They sell everything from ladies' ball gowns to men's
uniforms on both the Confederate and Union side, to lanterns and period
eating utensils. I bought a couple of different styled straw hats. One is a
huge plantation straw, the other one like those warn by the Amish. They
served me well for the brilliant sun on Saturday.
Saturday was a fairly slow day as well. I did only three jobs. I did meet a
fellow from C.B.S. who flew down to interview me for a feature on people who
do my kind of photography. I probably will wind up on the cutting room floor,
but it is nice to be considered.
Sunday, someone must have thought photography was going to go out of style.
He must have then told anyone interested in having their picture taken ought
to have it done at once! My camera was smoking for hours. I did pictures of a
Confederate Naval contingent, the Federal Officer's corp, and Union surgeons
and their camp. This doesn't take into consideration all the individuals I
photographed including engagement portraits and the like.
Of course, it's nice to make money for my work, but the real thrill is trying
to capture the historic feeling of the originals. There is a story I could
make up as a writer for each shot that I took, Today, I am going to be
working in the darkroom mixing chemistry to develop the plates I shot on
location. This needs to be precise so all the negatives come out sharp and
clear. Then there will be days spent printing each picture carefully and
toning them to look like the originals.
It was fun to have the spectators come by and say, "This must have been one
of the pictures you took. I recognize the fellow standing over there. But the
other ones taken at the fort over there...those are originals aren't they?" I
say, "Sure are, done by me, last year!" It always gets a smile of approval
and "A job well done."
I sure could have used extra help to take the orders on Sunday. Doug, my
apprentice, and worked as fast as we could until 2:30 when he went off to
join the battle. I stayed behind with the wagon... seen one battle, seen them
Now it's time to gear up for travels to the center of Florida and the
buckskinners with their Indian teepees and buffalo steak and the like. Again
I wish you could share the fun adventure with me and walk beneath the stars
at night up to the big bonfire and all the people doing the frontier dancing.
We'd give the ladies a whirl and then lift the jug of "shine" to join the
fellers from the Red Brigade. These are the boys in their long johns who raid
the camps begging for more of the jug o' punch.
I took many pictures to show you, but I'm so busy now getting ready to
process the work I did throughout the weekend, it may be a while until I can
get to putting them into format to send.