Exactly one year has passed since I began taking pictures at Historic Brattonsville, in York County, South Carolina. My first major event was the Battle of Huck’s Defeat in 2018. That happens to be the biggest event of the year at Brattonsville, so I was eager to return this year, especially since I had a better idea of what to expect. So I went with some specific shots in mind.
Photographically speaking, there are a variety of genres available at an event like this. Obviously, there is the action of the battle. There are also portrait opportunities, both posed and candid. I also enjoy finding camp life scenes or interactions between the participants to capture. And, of course, there are still life candidates everywhere, like this basket of peaches with a flower background I came across in one of the campsites.
As for the candid scenes, I look for something interesting, of course, set in good light. Interactions between the reenactors or some sort of gesture or activity can make for an interesting shot. Or sometimes, like the girl with the red shoes, it’s about the color. All of the images in this gallery, and on this page can be enlarged. I have included comments for some of them.
Portraits may be my favorite. These are rarely posed, though the reenactors have become so accustomed to cameras that most of them will almost subconsciously cooperate without ever really looking up.
The highlight, obviously, is the reenactment of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat. My preference is to capture scenes without spectators in the background. At times, that is nearly impossible. And the size of the battlefield makes it difficult to capture the scope of everything that’s happing. So I work to find interesting details, or stories within the larger story. That may be a small dynamic between the soldiers, or an expression, or even the movement of horses across the battlefield.