Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 265 - Gettysburg, PA

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

***Scroll down to see my offer for Red Cross donations.***

Gettysburg College
Doug in a Harley rear view mirror
To mark this very special day, I chose to join an organized photo walk in Gettysburg, PA.  A camera club friend, Doug, posted a link to the walk yesterday on the club Facebook page, so when I saw it, I knew I had to join.  After all, today is day 265 in a row of photo walks, meaning there are only 100 days left to go.

A REAL church key,
not for opening beer
About 70 people showed up for the walk downtown, meeting at 10:00 a.m. The walk was put together and publicized by Andrew Smith of Visual Realia.  It was actually a (re)walk of the original Gettysburg photowalk that he led in September of 2008.  We gathered on the steps of the Gettysburg Hotel on the square, where Andrew collected our names and email addresses, gave us some general guidelines (try to stick together until we do the group picture; anything goes; you can walk as long or as little as you want; have fun), and then off we went toward Gettysburg College.  (A Flickr site will be set up where photographs from today can be shared.)

Andy gives us the ground rules
I had never been on the campus before, and it was a beautiful place.  We gathered on the steps of one of the halls for a group shot, and then everyone dispersed.

All Aboard!
Doug and I had agreed in advance to try to challenge ourselves on this walk today by using only our Lensbaby lens on our cameras, specifically the Composer with the Sweet 35 optic.  The Lensbaby has one spot of focus, and the photographer can control the size of the focus spot by selecting various apertures, but everything else around the focus area becomes a soft blur.  Then, to add to the challenge, you can also tilt the lens to move the focused area around the frame.

Colorful Doorway
At the church steps
Rubber Duck Wedding
There are three very challenging things to consider when using the Lensbaby.  First, the photographer needs to use all manual controls:  focus, aperture, and shutter speed. Pointing and clicking and not checking the histogram leads to some very dark or some very overexposed photos, depending on the lighting conditions.  Second, it is difficult to tell where the focus area is on the lens.  If you tilt it at all, you just hope you are getting the thing you are aiming for in focus.  Third, it is much easier to use if you are on a tripod.  So, for this photo walk today, we were not using tripods, which added more to the challenge of getting a decent shot.  But, practice makes perfect, and this was a great way to really challenge ourselves to work at getting used to the lens and thinking about our shots.  I can honestly tell you that I have far more unusable shots than usable, and I am not completely thrilled with any except perhaps the hat detail shot.

Hat detail
At the National Cemetery
Doug and I left the campus and continued walking downtown streets, finding churches and buildings and storefronts to shoot.  Then we found lunch at an old fashioned hot dog place called Ernie's Texas Lunch.

Rest in Peace
After Doug left to go home, I went to the National Cemetery.  It was quite a moving experience to see all the flags decorating row after row of military graves, and the stiff breeze had the flags flapping in the wind.  I could also hear a bagpipe ensemble playing patriotic music nearby.  It was a great place to end the walk on my 265th day and to honor our nation's veterans and those in active duty.  (I am a proud mother of an Air Force Staff Sergeant.)

If you can get to Gettysburg this beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to do so.  It is much more approachable now than it will be in July for the 150th anniversary of the battle, I can assure you!

Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Forward me by email any receipt for an online donation made to the Red Cross for disaster relief, and I will send you a 5x7 print of your choice from any of my daily photo walks or from my website.  Offer good until September 2, 2013.

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Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots

Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably; always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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