Recently I had the privilege of photographing Noah in several of his Civil War reenactor uniforms. Below is his story:
Private Noah Crawford, Civil War Reenactor
“I am a member of the 19th Virginia Infantry, Company B (“The Albemarle Rifles”), which is part of the 3rd Regiment, ANV (Army of Northern Virginia), re-enacting unit.
The 19th Virginia was recruited from Albemarle, Nelson, and Amherst Counties. Company B was recruited largely from Albemarle (as its name implies). The Regiment fought at First Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines’ Mill, Frayser’s Farm (also known as “Glendale”), Second Manassas, South Mountain, Antietam (also known as “Sharpsburg”), Suffolk, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, White Oak Road, and Saylor’s Creek.
At Gettysburg, the 19th was part of Garnett’s Brigade of Pickett’s Division, and participated in the famous “Pickett’s Charge.” The regiment lost about half its strength in the doomed assault as well as its battle flag, which was captured at “the Stone Wall” by the 19th Massachusetts. Three days before Appomattox, the remnants of the 19th Virginia were surrounded and surrendered at the Battle of Saylor’s Creek. Though a total of 1,600 men served in the regiment at some point during the war, only 29 men and 1 officer were present to receive paroles when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House.
I was voted into the unit in early 2008, when I was almost 11 years old. I began as a drummer, but in recent years I have carried the rifle when needed. The first uniform is a standard gray infantry frock coat with blue trim on the cuffs and collar; during the war, these coats were manufactured at the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. The accoutrements are all russet leather, typical of those worn by members of the 19th. As the war dragged on and material became more expensive, uniforms would more closely resemble those found in the second impression: a gray Type III Richmond Depot Shell Jacket and butternut pants with a wide-brimmed hat would be more typical to a post-Gettysburg soldier in the war’s Eastern Theater.”
- This is my inaugural portrait session at my new home studio. It is very nice to have a “home” from which to work!
- All images were captured with the Sony a7r and Sony 90mm/2.8 macro using “Eye-AF” autofocus.
- The key and fill lights were Einstein E640 strobes. The background light and right/left rim lights were Balcar P2’s.
- The RAW images were edited in Lightroom 6, exported to Portrait Professional for face retouching, and then re-imported into Lightroom.
- I imported the images as TIFs into Capture One Pro for Sony, where I made minor adjustments and exported the JPGs as B&W sepia #2.
Hollywood Cemetery and Richmond, VA Architecture
Early this morning Donna and I traveled to Hollywood Cemetery to shoot some first-light images of grave markers for a self-assignment, prompted by an earlier shoot a few weeks earlier. The weather prediction showed it would be a perfect day to capture black & white images. It was.
Thursday I had called the cemetery office to see how early I would be permitted inside the gate. A nice lady said if the workers had the gate open I would be welcome inside. We got there about 7:15 am, and the gates were open. Sunrise was 7:37 am, and it was 47 degrees with no humidity, crystal clear sky, and strong side-light. We saw some amazing stone work and captured some nice images, all in a couple of hours.
Donna also wanted me to shoot some architectural images on Monument Avenue, so earlier in the week I used SunCalc to determine what time I should be there for the best morning light. Deep blue sky, no wind, abundant parking on a Saturday(!), and a beautiful city in which to choose locations made my job easier.
It seems to me that photography is largely just a commodity, now. In this day of iPhone snaps and selfies I find myself falling back in love with black & while images. I think they are more difficult to capture than color. The light must be right, composition and contrast are very important, and vibrant color (without meaningful content) cannot carry you.
I love shooting the Sony a7r. I planned to WI-Fi tether to my iPhone or Android tablet to check exposure and composition, but neither was necessary, as shooting WYSIWYG with the Sony is outstanding (and too easy!). The images were captured with Nikon lenses, but I sure wish I had a macro and a 300mm! Anyway, below are some edits from Lightroom 5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2. Enjoy!