Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Long-Winded April

April is hours away from ending and it brought such a gratifying variety of opportunities. The month started out with a weekend of photographing the annual Civil War reenactments at Endview Plantation in Newport News, VA. I've photographed a number of these over the years; I saw a lot of familiar faces in the camps, as well as on the battlefield, and I had the opportunity to meet some new folks.

This family friendly event is a good opportunity to get a feeling of what life was like during the Civil War. You can roam through the Confederate and Union camps and you typically get a front row seat for all of the battlefield action.

Reenactment of the Battle of Petersburg at Endview Plantation

The following Saturday, at 05:30, I was off to Appomattox, VA to photograph another Civil War reenactment. This was part of the 4 year Long Road Home series of events that, in 2015, will lead to the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. If you recall your history, it was after this battle that General Lee surrendered to General Grant. 

I was only able to be in Appomattox for the day but I covered camp life, the Battle of Namozine Church, the Battle of Amelia Springs, and I shot until just after dark. I always meet so many friendly and knowledgeable people at these events.  My point of contact for the event was none other than the gentleman portraying General Robert E. Lee. His hospitality was unmatched and very much appreciated as he and his generals laid out the day's battle plans for me. The Appomattox Historical Society has extended me an invitation to photograph next year's sesquicentennial events. From what I understand this event is going to be huge and I'm really looking forward to it!

Reenactment at Appomattox

The battles are always packed with action, but I have to say one of the things I enjoy most about photographing reenactments is the camp life. Before and after the battles visitors are able to roam through the camps. The reenactors are incredibly friendly, the Confederate camps always have "colorful" characters, and the reenactors are always willing to chat with visitors about the who, what, when, where, and why's. The folks who participate are living historians and know far more about the era than what you were taught in school. I learn something new at every event I attend.

I followed up two weekends of Civil War reenactments with shooting little league baseball.

Since we all have cameras on our smartphones, we tend to go for a quick snapshot and post it to social media. The results've seen it...usually not so great but we give it a thumbs up on Facebook anyway. After all, it isn't about the photo it is about the moment. Parents tend to overlook the importance of quality images when it comes to sports simply because it's so easy to take a photo and "immortalize" it on the internet from their phone. Down the road, those dark or blurry snapshots are not what you'll want to look back on those times. A parent, whose husband is also the coach, was one of a growing number of parents who are realizing the importance of these milestones in their child's life and are now entrusting me to capture them. I shoot sports of all types and all skill levels; simply contact me for more information.

From baseball I rolled right into two out of three engagement sessions for upcoming wedding clients. The first session, on the Eastern Shore, had to be rescheduled due to weather but you will get to see that in next month's post! I still had a busy weekend ahead of me and my second engagement session was going to be on a nice stretch of beach in Hampton, VA. Ahead of my shoots, I took my pup out to the location I'd scouted and gave her a little time to play in the water.

I had a great time working Katie, Don, and their son for a engagement/family session. The stretch of beach where we were shooting doesn't have a lot of foot traffic like other popular beach locations on the peninsula because it was early in the year and it is a pretty long walk to get there. The weather was warm but water was still pretty chilly and we all came away with soggy feet...but it was totally worth it!

Hampton Roads is packed with all sorts of great locations for shooting. Except for mountains, we pretty much have everything you could want here. The next evening I had an engagement session in Smithfield, VA with Jessica and Brian. 

When people think of photo sessions in Smithfield they typically think of the popular Windsor Castle Park. I like the area and I've shot there several times but I just wasn't feeling the location this day. Aside from the two family sessions already in progress by the barns, the vineyard was bare and there wasn't a crop growing in the field, so I opted for another location nearby. There was great light in an area along a walking trail and since it was a beautiful evening, there were people out enjoying the weather. Jessica and Brian were a fun couple to work with and even a passing hiker joined in the fun...

April was a fun month. I shot a variety of genres and I had the opportunity to work with and meet a lot of great people along the way. That's why I love being a lifestyle and event photographer! 

Coming up in May I'll be shooting the Rugged Maniac 5k Obstacle Course in Petersburg, VA for Gameface Media, an engagement shoot on the Eastern Shore, an event for the Newport News Tourism Development Office, three weddings, the things that always pop up in between, and hopefully a few GoPro shots starting off my 2014 surf season!

A special Thank-You for the hospitality shown to me by the Newport News Tourism Development Office, Endview Plantation, the Appomattox Historical Society, and the 1st Stuart Horse Artillery.