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Thread: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

  1. #1
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    Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    I heard a report on the local radio that an expeditionary force of Confederate troops were headed toward Pipestone, MN a few weekends ago, and there was an equal force of Union troops and artillery trying to head them off. This I had to see! So, I packed my camera gear and headed north. Camera gear was carefully chosen: camera was my Chamonix 045n 4x5, wooden tripod from 19th century, six wooden plate holders & dark bag, c.1870s E&HT Anthony rapid rectilinear FL=4 inch f8, c.1858 Derogy Petzval FL=6 in. f3.5, and c.1851 CC Harrison Petzval FL=5 in. f4. I chose Lane dry plates (glass), 4x5 format, to take the images on.

    I arrived in plenty of time to wander around the camps, talk to the troops & officers, and get some shots. All there were very cooperative; I'd even say eager to have their photos taken. It was a hot August day but I was having such a great time I didn't notice the heat, even when carrying my camera gear up and down the long hill. Most exposures were either f4/1 second/ISO 2 or f16/1 sec./ISO 2. (I used ND filters to adjust exposure time to 1 second--my lenses have no shutters.) Some shots:

    1. Private Adam Dauer, New Ulm Battery Company D. He said usually he's in the calvary, which is great because he can just ride his horse around, but horses weren't allowed at this battle. His choice was either infantry or artillery. He said it was "Too damn hot to march around," so he joined up with the artillery figuring he could mostly just sit around in the shade and occasionally run a swab down a gun barrel or two. He went on to report, "First thing I know, this damn captain shows up and orders us to push all 18 fucking canons up the damn hill!" Things didn't work out as he thought, I guess.

    2. Confederate gun crew. I ranged all over area to get a good representation of views. At one point I was set up on the north edge of the battle field, focusing my lens under my dark cloth. Suddenly a tremendous blast ripped away my dark cloth, engulfed me in thick smoke, and nearly knocked me over! Recovering my senses I turned around and found one of the Rebel artillery pieces had quietly been moved to about 20 feet behind me, and fired! I looked at them and said, "Really, guys?" They just laughed.

    3. Confederate troops firing in formation. The smoke was almost getting too thick to focus. I found it very difficult to keep up with the action using the all manual camera, not to mention the 1 second exposures. I finally figured out I needed to anticipate the action and just be ready. I also kept an eye out for any more canons sneaking up behind me.

    4. After the battle I walked over to General Grant's field headquarters. There I found he and President Lincoln conferring on how to best prosecute the war. President Lincoln looked over at me and said, "Mr Brady! Good to see you sir!" I returned his greeting and asked if they would indulge me and allow a photo. They readily agreed! I advised them the process wasn't too fast, but I would move things along as quickly as prudent. I used my prized Derogy Petzval, with the f16 washer stop to sharpen things up, and once again counted off the 1 second exposure. After making arrangements to send both of my subjects a print, I offered Mr. Lincoln two tickets to the theater. With a wink he replied, "Regretfully sir, I must decline your generosity. Maybe when the war is over."

    I managed to get nearly twenty nice images from my outing, which is probably the most I've ever taken at one event. I'm now considering buying some appropriate clothes and heading south to Missouri next summer where there is apt to be more battles. I had a lot of fun!


    Kent in SD
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails PSdauerDPs.jpg   PScsaArtilleryDPs.jpg   PScsaBattle2s.jpg   PSgrantLlincolnDPs.jpg  
    The first five days after a weekend are the roughest.

  2. #2
    Steven Ruttenberg's Avatar
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Very cool.

  3. #3
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Great report and great photos!

    Cheers,
    Jason
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/Pictoriographica
    .. because my wife is happy when I can cover my photography expenses!

  4. #4
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    Great report and great photos!

    Cheers,
    Jason

    Looking at photo #2, the artillery crew, I can see a reflection of sorts. There is a reflected (?) notch in the glass plate on the left side, directly opposite of the actual plate. Do you suppose this is due to scanning the plate directly on my Epson v700, or did a second plate make an impression in the gelatin at some point? I had 11 of 13 plates come out well. The two that didn't were due to my own screw ups. I see this as great progress by me!


    Kent in SD
    The first five days after a weekend are the roughest.

  5. #5

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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    One second at f/16? Wow those plates are fast

  6. #6
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by bieber View Post
    One second at f/16? Wow those plates are fast
    ISO 2, f16, 1s, plus about x3 stops ND if shooting in sunshine. I use NDs to adjust exposure rather than the more usual shutter speed or aperture.


    Kent in SD
    The first five days after a weekend are the roughest.

  7. #7
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Looking at photo #2, the artillery crew, I can see a reflection of sorts. There is a reflected (?) notch in the glass plate on the left side, directly opposite of the actual plate. Do you suppose this is due to scanning the plate directly on my Epson v700, or did a second plate make an impression in the gelatin at some point? I had 11 of 13 plates come out well. The two that didn't were due to my own screw ups. I see this as great progress by me!


    Kent in SD
    Hard to say. I would think it would need to be sitting there for a long time. I know I pack them all with the notch oriented the same way, at top if you open the box with the label right side up. Is it on the negative itself?

    -Jason
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/Pictoriographica
    .. because my wife is happy when I can cover my photography expenses!

  8. #8

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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    First, determine if it's on the plate itself...
    Are you developing the plates back to back?
    Maybe a bit too long under safelight. Could show the edge of one on another, or a bit light struck in a changing bag?

    If it's on a print, could be a plate was left too long on paper under safelight, or a bit of stray enlarger light.
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

    www.photocollective.org

  9. #9
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Recent Photos From the (U.S.) Civil War

    Good work!
    TIN CAN COLLEGE

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