Discover History Everywhere-Korea 2023 Part 1 of 2

September 30, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

On my 5-week family trip to Seoul, South Korea, I asked to visit Korean historical sites. Although my photography focuses on the American Revolution, I enjoy learning about history everywhere. On this trip, I was fortunate to see two Colonial Williamsburg-type historical-themed villages. I'll review in this blog Jeju Folk Village (Jeju Minsokchon) on Juju Island, known as the 'Hawaii of Korea'. In next month's blog, I'll review my visit to the Korean Folk Village in the Seoul suburbs.

The first restoration we visited was Jeju Folk Village (Jeju Minsokchon) on Jeju Island in the Korea Strait, about 50 miles south of the South Korean mainland. An underwater volcano's eruption approximately 2 million years ago created the island. We took a short, less than one-hour plane flight from Inchon airport to the island. We stayed for three days and two nights. The weather didn't cooperate, and it rained at some point every day.

It was a warm, muggy weekday, so not crowded with visitors. Unlike Colonial Williamsburg, there were no interpreters providing tours. Instead, we were strolling the grounds and reading occasional educational information on posted signs.

For this trip, I took my compact and light Panasonic/Lumix Mirrorless DMC-GF6 camera for this trip abroad with a 14-42 mm lens.  Photographers know this, but it takes a lot of work to focus on photography when you're with family. They don't understand why you're taking so long in one place and want to take the same shot from different angles and perspectives. Creating a photo must be done quickly. That's what happened here with these stone figures. I don't know what they symbolize but it makes for an interesting photo. 

Their site map/ brochure describes the Jeju Folk Village as a vivid and faithful re-creation of Jeju Island's traditional culture and history during the late Joseon Dynasty. It is committed to informing international visitors about Jeju's folk culture. 

This Dynasty was the last dynastic kingdom of Korea, lasting just over 500 years. It was founded by Yi Seong-gye in July 1392 and replaced by the Korean Empire in October 1897. A critical element of Korean culture is an earthenware pot called onggi, which has been used for tableware and food storage since prehistoric times. They vary in size. The photo shows how big they can be.

This door was the entrance to the village. The colors were so vibrant I knew this would make a good photo.

My one-and-a-half-year-old- son enjoyed "meeting" this golden ox. He was in awe. In the stone homes, there were also mannequins dressed in traditional clothing. That way, you would feel what living in that period would be like.

Thank you for reading! In next month's blog I'll review my visit to the Korean Folk Village in the Seoul suburbs.

Blog # 65 will be posted in November 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer



Battle of Monmouth 2023

August 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

It's been four years since I attended the Battle of Monmouth American Revolution reenactment in New Jersey. At this event, I've taken some of my favorite photos. My up-close vent cannon shot is the first photo on my website from this event in 2009. 

My drive that early Saturday morning was easy and fast. Like the actual battle, this event typically is stifling hot and humid. Not today; the weather was comfortable. Unfortunately, I couldn't attend the afternoon reenactment because of a family illness. I had to leave early. But I still captured some excellent photos.

Many of my best and favorite photos I've taken in the last few years are not from the reenactments. Just simple, candid images of reenactors and camp life. This photo was a perfect example and a pleasant surprise. 

Notice how the tin canteens are in sequence for these three British reenactors. At the top left, one reenactor is sipping water, the second is swallowing, and finally, the last is finished. Only after carefully reviewing the photo did I notice this sequence. Sometimes, I'll see the patterns before taking the shot; other times, like this one, I'm lucky!

This photo is funny. I searched for where the horses were resting and grazing. One horse appeared to be eating the bark of a tree. I never saw that before. Not that I'm a horse expert. His handler was there, so I asked what the horse was doing. He said the horse was bored. I just chuckled to myself. Horses get bored, which is new to me. It sure makes for a unique photo, though.

I'll often take panoramic photos to show many reenactors at an event. Then, you get a sense of how big the reenactment was.

It's easy for me to compose panoramas now. I'll start in the middle of my subject, slowly rotate left to right, stop in short intervals, and take about 5-8 single shots. In On1 software, I stitch them together. Most times, everything works perfectly, like this one.

Sometimes, you see a photo. You know it's there; hopefully, you can capture it. Below is a perfect example. I was walking in a sloped area near the American camp and saw these two artillery reenactors relaxing above me around their cannons. They looked so natural and almost posing for a picture. I waited patiently for the flag to flap in the wind before I took the photo. Patience is the key.

Walking around the camps at an American Revolution reenactment event is fun. There are always photo opportunities to find. In this photo, it's the mom and her son just relaxing. The light was perfect, so it made a nice photo. 

Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 64 will be posted in October 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

Challenge myself photographically-Mt Vernon Part 2 of 2

July 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

In last month's Part One blog, I mentioned having to challenge myself photographically because of my recent surgery on my visit to the Revolutionary War Weekend event at Mt Vernon, George Washington's home. I'm not supposed to lift over 15 pounds for a few months. So, I took only one lens, my light Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4, for my Nikon D500 SLR. Usually, I would use my long, heavy Nikon 80mm-400mm f/4.5-5.6. 

Here is my favorite photo of my day. I followed many photography techniques using On1 software. First, I cropped the image to have the path lead to the highlighted red topped wooden garden shed. I vignetted the edges, added vibrance, and brightened the subject. So much fun!

When my photo subject is recognizable, like Mt Vernon, I'll photograph it from a different angle or vantage point. That's what I did here. I positioned myself on the right side of the mansion, getting this compressed view with different angles and leading lines. It feels like a maze to me.

Slave labor built this magnificent mansion. We must remember that. No matter how much we don't want to admit our nation's blemish, it's a fact. George Washington was ahead of his time as a Southern enslaver in many ways in that he struggled with the institution of slavery and wrote of his desire to end the practice, Maybe because he traveled outside the South to New England and as far west as Ohio Valley where he met all types of people including free-and enslaved African Americans. But let's remember he was a product of his generation, where slavery was the economic foundation of the Southern plantation economy.

Directly across from Washington's tomb is a slave memorial. During these troubling political times, visiting this shrine was vital for me.

What's fun about photographing American Revolution reenactments is the many fantastic photography opportunities. Just something so simple as walking around the American & British camps, you can always find a photo opportunity. Here kids were having a great time playing cards. Simple!

You never know who you might see at an American Revolution reenactment event. Maybe even a Buddhist monk? Plus, Mt Vernon is open 365 days a year. So make a plan to visit if you haven't before!

Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 63 will be posted in September 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer


Challenge myself photographically at American Revolution reenactments! Mt Vernon Part 1 of 2

June 30, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

For the next few months, I will challenge myself photographically at upcoming American Revolution reenactments. I needed surgery that would prohibit me from lifting anything heavy. My procedure was in mid-May. My Doctor said my recovery might take three months. Usually, I would carry a backpack full of gear, including all my lenses and accessories. Read blogs #39 & #40 about my photo equipment. For a few months, I won't have a backpack, just me shooting with one lens on my SLR Nikon D500 camera. So, which one to choose?

The lens I use most at reenactments, around 75% of the over 8,500 photos posted on my website, is the Nikon 80mm-400mm f/4.5-5.6. My SLR D500 Nikon camera has a smaller crop sensor, magnifying the lens 1.5 times. This lens then becomes 180 mm-840 mm! But I need a lighter, more versatile one for the next few months. So I'll use my Nikon 24-85mm (36-128mm) 2.8-4 lens.

It's hard to believe it's been three years since I last attended Revolutionary War Weekend at Mt Vernon. For me now, on a 1-day round trip, 2 1/2 hours each way is the maximum I can handle. It's a pleasant highway drive with only traffic in the Washington, DC, area. Hurray, on this trip I had no speeding ticket!

I purchased my ticket in advance, so it was a quick, easy access through the Ford Orientation Center. Slowly I walked to the mansion and took this photo. The house lawn was full of people milling around the grounds. Because of my limited movement, my goal was to stay in the mansion area for the day's visit. 

I went to the back of the house to sit on a fan back patio chair. Can you imagine waking up to this view of the Potomac River every morning? Plus, it's incredible to think of some of the conversations held here with some of the most influential men of his generation. 

Where else can you meet George Washington and two Frenchman General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau on the left, and volunteer Marquis de La Fayette Washington's and Lafayette's relationship was so close that they were more like a father and son rather than a commanding general and his top-ranking officer.

In the summer of 1781 Washington did host Rochambeau & LaFayette at Mt Vernon right before the siege of Yorktown that essentially ended the American Revolution and major fighting.

Here is one of my favorites of the day. The continental troops were lining up for an inspection from General Washington. The reenactment, with regiments of men firing in unison, demonstrates how many American Revolution battles were fought. It's always impressive to see.

Thank you for reading! Happy July 4th!

Blog # 62 will be posted in August 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

Fourth of July Independence Day card. Independence day fireworks. Independence day celebrate. Independence Day festive.


My Favorite American Revolution Reenactment Cannon Blasts 1-5

May 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

I selected numbers 6-10 of my favorite cannon shots in last month's blog. For this month, I'll review my five favorites. At any American Revolution reenactment that fires cannons, they are one of the spectator's highlights. Most kids shout approval, babies cry, dogs howl or bark, and adults are startled. 

From my friend Harry Schenawolf, historian, author, and publisher of the Revolutionary War Journal's website, I learned the sizes of cannons used during the American Revolution. At most reenactments, the artillery units are using the smaller 2-pounder.

5) This photo, from the Battle of Iron Hill in 2009, is a favorite not because of the cannon blast but because of the crew's reaction. Yes, I remember the loud echo from the close when the cannon fired from this street reenactment. It can be so loud sometimes car alarms would go off.

4) This photo from Ft. Lee in 2018 reminds me of pyrotechnics from the 4th of July fireworks celebration. You never know what a cannon blast will look like; each is unique.

3) At first glance, some photos you just like. That's true for me with this photo from the Battle of Trenton in 2013. Instantly, I liked and thought it was different. None of my cannon photos before or after have this goldish, metallic color. Every time at an event, I want different and unique images. This photo does that.

2) I'll often zoom in as close as possible for cannon photos. This photo, from the Battle of Trenton 2016, was also a street battle in Trenton. I zoomed to 600mm, about six times what the average eye sees. Plus, to capture a good shot, my camera Nikon D500 is in burst mode and can shoot ten frames per second. Though fast, many cameras even have a higher count.

The cannon blast produces a lot of heat, smoke, and sparks. The photo shows what the eyes can't. That's why I zoom in often on cannon shots. I'll review it immediately on my camera to see if I captured a good one. I was happy this day!

1) I remember taking this photo vividly. It happened at the Battle of Ft Lee in late November 2017. The sun was setting, and the light was perfect. Plus, where the cannon was in the shade. These were just ideal photography conditions. 

Many times, after a firing, I'll review what I took before the cannon crews can resume again. After taking this photo, I thought it would be great, and it was a wow. I shared it with a photo friend next to me, who said the same thing. Just a spectacular shot!

Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 61 will be posted in July 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer