Civil War Reenactment, Huntington Beach

Every Labor Day Weekend, the Huntington Beach Historical Society host a Civil War encampment and Reenactment. This year, 2014, was the 20th such event. I’ve photographed portions of the annual event on several occasions. This year, I decided to use a micro four-thirds camera — the Olympus OMD-EM5.

One of my goals was to present images that looked like they could have been taken in the mid-1860s. There were three factors involved. 1. Since this was an encampment open to the public, I had to be careful not to include people in modern-day dress. 2. Contrary to my normal goals of capturing sharp, in-focus images, I had to allow for the technology of the day, so I selected a lens that would allow me to isolate my intended subjects from their backgrounds and give a slightly soft focus. 3. I had to apply some post processing techniques that would replicate the vignettes, and other characteristics of 19th Century film processing.

The selected lens was a Zuiko 40-150mm, f4-5.6. I set it to aperture priority at f5.6. It was important, to me, to maintain a constant aperture and create a relatively shallow depth-of-field. f5.6 is not very fast, but by standing back from the subject, and, most importantly, maintaining a distance between the subject and background, I was able achieve the desired DOF. Post-processing included conversion to black and white, adding vignettes, a bit of harshness via contrast and ‘clarity’ or detail adjustments.

The first set of images are from around the encampment.

To see full size images, click here.

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The second set of images are of the ‘soldiers’ — some returning from battle, and others resting in the camps.

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