Thursday, March 29, 2012

Black & White Photography

Dunker Church

On the morning of September 17, 1862, about 5:30 a.m., began the battle of Antietam; in the South, also known as the battle of Sharpsburg. By day’s end, the fighting would result in the bloodiest single-day battle in American History.

Union troops, under the command of Joseph Hooker, came out of the North Woods, along the Hagerstown Turnpike just North of Sharpsburg, and attacked the Confederate forces. The Southern troops, under the command of Stonewall Jackson, had a strong defensive position in the West Woods, along the Hagerstown Pike upon which sat this little white building known as the “Dunker Church”.

The plateau, upon which this Church was standing, was the main objective by the Union troops when the battle began. Eventually it was taken by the advancing Union forces, but at the end of the day, a temporary truce was made that allowed both the North and South to come together to exchange the wounded and to bury the dead.

Soldiers of opposite sides, who just hours earlier were fighting to kill each other, now came together to exchange stories, tobacco and news about life back home. For a brief time all was quiet as Americans joined together to spare lives and to have a moment of peace at a little Church known for its pacifist and loving ways, in the same area where the battle began.

At a little white building known forever as the “Dunker Church”…

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sports Photography

High Kick

I greatly enjoy doing sports photography. This is an example of why.

Most subjects do not care if you don’t get their face, as long as they can be identified. However, they do like it when you get them in action. To do so, it’s almost imperative if you know the game. This way you can anticipate what may happen next and be ready to catch that once in a lifetime photo.

In this example I was focusing on this one player and I could see the ball coming his way. I had the camera at ready and I snapped just as he leaped into the air to kick the ball. In the process he was able to get the ball lobbed over the defenders and his other teammate almost scored off of his feed.

He likes this image. It makes him smile and, for me, that makes it a successful photo…

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Black & White Photography

Sunken Road
" Bloody Lane "

During the battle of Antietam, in September of 1862, Southern forces had taken up a defensive position in this little lane known as the Sunken Road…

Between 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM fierce fighting took place in this area. From the slight angle in the road to the left and to the right, Confederate troops held off three attacks from the Union troops. Finally, as a brigade of Union forces advanced around the right flank of the defenders, about 350 men saw a weak point in the Southern line and from a knoll, commanding a position straight down the lane, they opened up such a deadly fire directly into the defenders position that they eventually broke the defensive position and forced the Confederate forces to retreat.

During this three and a half hour battle over 5600 combined forces were killed or wounded. Such a carnage took place that this area was known thereafter as “Bloody lane”.

What is interesting is that there were 3000 Union casualties and only 2600 Confederate casualties. However, confusion in the Southern ranks, and the flanking fire directly down the lane from the Union forces atop the knoll, is what caused the Confederate forces to retreat.

This photo shows basically the view from the knoll that the Union soldiers had in firing straight down the lane into the Confederate forces. Flanking fire such as this is quite effective and firing from this position is what caused most of the casualties suffered by the Confederate forces in the Sunken Road.

The battle at the Sunken Lane was one of three that took place that day at Antietam and the casualties, such as occurred at Bloody Lane, contributed to Antietam being the bloodies single day battle of the entire Civil War, also known as the War Between the States…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Black & White Photography

Update On Burnside Bridge


While doing some follow up research on the Battle of Antietam, I came across the photo to the left. It was taken shortly after the battle in September of 1862. The photographer was the famed Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner.

What I noticed that was very interesting is that it was taken at just about the same place where I took my photograph ( below ) of the same bridge. It’s fascinating to note that not only was I standing where a major part of the battle took place, but also at almost the very same spot where Mr. Gardner took his photograph.

I guess it is true, if you are looking you will see, and what you will see is what caught the attention of others. In the end, you wind up seeing and photographing the same thing because it was from the best spot available to tell the necessary story.

I like to think, now, that Mr. Gardner and I saw the same thing – only 150 years apart.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Moments In Time

Is It Real?

I was sitting by a window, doing some reading. I glanced out of the window and I could see this cat sneaking up on this flag.

At first I could not believe that it was the flag itself that the cat was looking at, but I grabbed my camera and took this photo. I only had time for this one photo as the cat realized that it was not a real bird and a split second later it turned and walked off to the side.

Yeah, even when sitting by my window, I have a camera close by; for reason’s such as this. You never know what will show up and it’s always best to be ready for anything.

I took this photo through glass and a screen on an overcast day. Not bad for a cropped image. However, had I not had the camera close by I would not have been able to even have a chance for a photo like this…

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Black & White Photography

Lower Bridge At Antietam Creek

At the Lower Bridge, also known as Burnside Bridge, across Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, MD, a group of about 300 to 500 Confederate troops held off a Union advance of a few thousand men for approximately 3 hours during the Battle at Antietam.

The Confederates held the high ground and, from their position, they held a commanding view of advancing Union troops as they tried to get up to the bridge to cross it. This view is the same that the advancing Union soldiers had, while trying to dodge bullets from the Confederates shooting at them from their left flank on the other side of the creek.

Eventually the Yanks made it across the bridge, after many casualties, and forced the Rebs back across the fields. Just when it looked like the Confederates right flank was about to collapse, a Southern light division arrived from Harpers Ferry and drove the Union soldiers back to the Creek.

Antietam was the bloodiest single day battle of the American Civil War. The battle lasted for twelve hours and nearly 100,000 men were involved and over 23,000 were either killed, wounded or became missing. This was more than the combined total of the American Revolution War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.

The encounter at Lower Bridge was just one of several that took place that day. All within about three miles of each other. All at the same time or where overlapping, creating one large battle in different areas.

Next week we’ll take a look at another sight where a natural defense became a death trap…

Monday, March 12, 2012

Road Trip Photography

Johnny Reb

On a recent road trip, my wife and I wound up at Antietam Battlefield. One of the areas that I wanted to see was Antietam Bridge; also known as Burnside Bridge.

After I had gone down to the bridge I got to talking with someone and my wife, still up on the hill, took the top photograph. The person to whom I was speaking was hidden behind the tree. However, another person showed up on the photo, someone in a Confederate uniform. We didn’t know that he was there until after I had gone back to the car and was looking at the photos my wife had taken. We were both startled.

To add to the mystery, I then showed her one of the photos that I had taken while down at the bridge. I told my wife about how, as I lined up the scene the way that I wanted, and snapped the shutter, this person showed up in the viewfinder. As I lowered the camera, there was no one there. Here is the image that I had captured.

Later, as I crossed the bridge, before I had gone back up the hill to my wife, I encountered a lady who was photographing the area with a small camera, while holding a small pocket recording device. I got to talking with her and found out that she and a small group of people, who where paranormal investigators, were there that day trying to gather evidence of recent unexplained activities.

Could that have explained how my wife and I both had captured an image with a Confederate soldier in it? You can check the original images and you will find that the Confederate soldier was actually in them. He wasn’t added later.

You know how I know? Well, let’s just say that I would like to thank the young Confederate soldier re-enactor, from South Carolina, who was there doing some research, and agreed to go along with the setup.

However, the lady with the paranormal investigative group was real. She was there and I did have an interesting talk with her. She was quite nice and I enjoyed conversing with her.

One last point of thought, though.

Later on I found out that there were 30 units from South Carolina that fought at Antietam. The Confederate re-enactor, as I mentioned earlier, was from South Carolina as well. He never did give me his name and he kept calling me “Sir” like in “yes sir” and “no sir”, with a southern accent just like a confederate soldier. Come to think of it, he did have a cartridge belt around his shoulder.

Is it possible? Hmmm...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Black & White Photography

Sunset On Winter

I know that Winter is still with us and that we have 13 days until Spring arrives. However, when I saw this scene, it just gave me the impression that the Sun is setting on Winter.

This tree is just waiting for Spring and the buds that warm weather will bring. The stark simplicity of a bare tree will soon be replaced with full colorful buds and then be overwhelmed by the green leaves it will grow.

Yes, Winter may still be with us, but the Sun is setting and will soon give rise to a morning of Spring…

Monday, March 5, 2012

Moment In Time

Dawn Of A New Beginning

A week ago last Friday, February 24th, at 5:30 PM, I packed up my laptop and walked out of my office for the last time. After a two week notice, I quit my job of 25+ years. In short, I had retired.

As so many had done before, I got up early the next day and took several photographs of the sky as morning was breaking; just to record the dawn of a new beginning in my life. This is the image I like best.

Yeah, I know the old saying of, “Red in the morning, Sailor take warning.” However, it is not I who should heed the warning, but life in general. As a newly retired person, who never grew up to become a “grup” but stayed a kid in his thinking, has now become free to roam once again. That is, within the realm of space that my wife of 43 years has given to the man who loves her still, and who appreciates her standing with him all these years.

Yeah, I am retired. I may or may not take on a part-time job somewhere down the road. That is a decision yet to be made. I guess it all depends on what God has in store for me. For now, He has given me some precious free time to enjoy life as I like and to do those things that I’ve been wanting to do.

So, look out world, the “kid” is loose once again and he plans on having fun in, this, his world, and you are welcome to enjoy it with him… :-)