This year’s reenactment of the Battle of Charlotte was held at historic Rural Hill in Huntersville, North Carolina. Recreating the battle at the original site – the corner of Trade and Tryon streets in Charlotte – simply isn’t feasible. Beautiful Rural Hill certainly provided a suitable alternative, and both the reenactors and the spectators seemed happy with the outcome.
Photographically, there are always challenges of some sort at these events. Obviously, a photographer has to be at least somewhat mindful of modern elements that seem to inevitably find their way into the background. But usually, we can position ourselves in such a way to avoid that issue. An old historic schoolhouse substituted for Charlotte’s 1780 City Hall and when the skirmishers made their way around the back of the building there weren’t suitable site lines for photography. But battles typically aren’t arranged for the benefit of spectators. Finally, although the weather was perfect for the occasion, the sun was bright and harsh, which is less than favorable for good images. If that sounds like a series of complaints, let me assure you that it’s not. These are all challenges that simply have to be considered and met for any kind of photography. And they are challenges that make the process more enjoyable in many ways.
As you look at the images below, and those in the larger gallery here, you’ll notice that most of the camp pictures were taken in the shade. That improves the lighting situation dramatically. Soft, shady light is much more flattering. Of course, once we move to the battlefield, the shade is gone, but the harder light creates a more dramatic effect, I think.
Clicking on each image will enlarge them. Clicking the small “i” will give more information about each photo, including some notes specific to my photographic thought process. That’s probably only of interest to my fellow photographers.
Living history events provide excellent opportunities for photography as you can see in these images from the reenactment of the Battle of Charlotte 2021. Let me encourage you to pull out your camera, or cell phone, and head to an event near you. You’ll not only come away with some lovely photos, you’ll also have an opportunity to learn something fascinating about your own part of the world!