American Revolution Photos: Blog https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog en-us (C) American Revolution Photos americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) Thu, 14 Oct 2021 15:12:00 GMT Thu, 14 Oct 2021 15:12:00 GMT https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/img/s/v-12/u670739308-o757067994-50.jpg American Revolution Photos: Blog https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog 98 120 My Camera Gear and Accessories Part 2 of 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/10/my-camera-gear-and-accessories-part-2-of-2 In last month's blog, I described my photography gear. For this month's blog, I'll review my cameras and accessories. First, the camera; I bought the SLR Nikon D 500 last year. I've only used it a few times. The camera I had for so long is the Nikon D 300. Why the change? The camera was old and needed to be upgraded. I've had it for over a decade. Some of the features of this  new camera are amazing. 

  • ISO range: 100 – 51,200 
  • Continuous Capture: up to 10 frames per second
  • Video
  • Tilt Screen

Here is my primary camera gear.

The most significant advancement in this camera is the significantly high sensitivity of the image sensor (ISO). Previously, I couldn't photograph high school night events with my long lens because the ISO couldn't go high enough. I can now set my ISO to 51,200. To put that in perspective, during film days, the highest ISO would be around 1,000! Game changer.
As a backup, I have the
Panasonic/Lumix Mirrorless DMC-GF6 with a 14-42 mm lens. Because of this camera, I have some videos on my website. 

 I've had all my lenses for over a decade, and they work perfectly. My primary reenactment lens is the Nikon 80-400 4.5-5.6 VR. You'll see on the lens hood (decal from sutler-Ron Mehalko of Revolution Wear) my photo interest! About 75% of the photos on my website are from this lens. I can handhold it because of the VR feature, and I can zoom in close, very close. This photo is a perfect example.

Only because of my lens could I have taken this shot. Another reason is that my camera has a crop sensor that magnifies the lens more. In blog # 24, I described what this means

My Nikon DSLR (interchangeable lens) camera has a smaller crop sensor. It sees a narrower field of view. The good news is this smaller sensor magnifies my lenses by 1.5 times! Now my 80-400 mm lens becomes a 120-600mm. Also, to gain even more distance, I added a 1.4 converter which extends the lens even further. Now it's comparable to an 840mm. Why is this significant? The average eyes see around 50mm!

I'm using my Nikon 24-85 2.8-4 lens more now because of photographing camp life. When I first arrive at a reenactment, I go to the campsites. I can capture many interesting photos early in the morning like, this one from Mt Harmon 2019.

The lens I use less often is the ultra-wide 11-18 mm 4.5-5.6 Tamron lens and the fixed focal Nikon 50 mm 1.8 lens. For the wide-angle lens, I use it when I want a broader perspective of the reenactment site. This photo from Return to the Hook 20213 in VA shows that. This event has been one of the most incredible reenactments I've attended. On the first day, a full-scale replica cabin was created.  And later, on the last day it was burned to the ground. I was able to photograph from a tower, there were 2 of them, about 30-40 feet high. The vantage point for the reenactments was spectacular. I have no other photos similar to the one here.

I don't use the 50mm lens at reenactments often. I'll use it when roaming the Continental & British camps. To get good photos with this lens, you have to work the shot, move around and shoot from different perspectives. But that's what I want to do to get an excellent photo. Here's an example of that sharp lens from this photo from Battle of Germantown 2012.

I bring my Nikon Speedlight SB 900 flash only occasionally. If I know there will be finite natural light, such as inside buildings/cabins, then I will. Without the flash, I couldn't take this cabin photo of reenactors at Valley Forge 2017.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 41 will be posted in November 2021. Be safe & well and please get vaccinated!

Ken Bohrer

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown British Army Crown Forces ISO Lens" Mirrorless cameras Mt Harmon Nikon Nikon lens Panasonic/Lumix cameras Reenactments Return to the Hook Tamron the British Brigade The Continental Line Valley Forge National Historical Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/10/my-camera-gear-and-accessories-part-2-of-2 Fri, 01 Oct 2021 04:00:00 GMT
My Camera Gear and Accessories Part 1 of 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/9/my-camera-gear-and-accessories-part-1-of-2 At the end of last month's blog, I mentioned having cataract surgery in both eyes. My surgeries went perfectly! The clarity and vibrancy of the colors I see now are spectacular. I learned that cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. 

I'm able to capture some unique photos because of my photography gear and equipment. This photo of me from a photo friend is a perfect example. I'm getting ready to photograph something special at a Washington Crossing event. For this month's blog, I thought it would be fun to focus on my gear. Next month, I'll discuss my cameras, lens, and accessories.


Photo of me in action by fellow photographer Al Pochek! Obviously waiting for the right shot.

When attending reenactment events, I always try to have 4 items. I'm always wearing a hat, most often my Ft Ticonderoga baseball cap. I bought it many years ago when I was still shooting film! It looks good, feels comfortable, and it shows my interest in the landmark fort. Another item I usually wear is a photo vest.

I get asked all the time where I bought mine. Over twenty years ago, my mom bought it for me as a birthday gift.  She's deceased now, so I think of her every time I wear it!

The company, Domke, stopped making them? I wonder why? The vest holds a lot of stuff, so much that sometimes I forget what pocket (10 of them) I placed something. I'm constantly patting myself to find something, usually my car keys. It's now starting to fray, but I'll always keep it. One item I always carry in the vest, knee pads.

I purchased them at Home Depot for around $15. By being low allows me different angles and perspectives. This house photo from the reenactment event I photographed a few years ago, at Locust Grove in Louisville, KY is a perfect example. It's more prominent by me being crouched and shooting upwards. My last item is my footwear, always hiking shoes. Or what my young son refers to as my photo shoes.

For foot stability, I won't attend an event without them, even during the summer. A funny situation happened at the reenactment wedding two years ago. While photographing the campsites, my left shoe disintegrated, just fell apart. I had no choice that day. On came my sneakers. Quite weird! 

At every event, I'll have a camera backpack bag on my back. Here is my batch, and I have many. All are the same brand, Tamrac. Why? Not sure. They are all  sturdy, reliable bags at an excellent price.

I decide before each event what bag would be best for that event. My favorite is the orange one. It holds a lot of gear and accessories. Perfect for a busy reenactment day.

I use a rain cover from Aqua-Tech Sports Shield to protect my camera/lens in the rain or snow. It can be hard to attach, but it is the best & most reliable way to keep my equipment safe from the elements. I needed this protection from the snow/ice/wind in the photo below during a heavy snowstorm at Valley Forge National Historical Park, PA.

When it's cold and snowing, I'll wear my NY Islanders knit cap instead of my Ft. Ticonderoga baseball cap to keep my head warm. You now know my hockey team and where I'm originally from! Go Islanders.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 40 will be posted in October 2021. Be safe & well and get vaccinated!

Ken Bohrer

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Aqua-Tech Sports Shield British Army cataract surgery Crown Forces Domke Ft Ticonderoga George Washington Locust Grove Louisville KY NY Islanders photography Reenactments tamrac the British Brigade The Continental Line Valley Forge National Historical Park Washington Crossing https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/9/my-camera-gear-and-accessories-part-1-of-2 Wed, 01 Sep 2021 04:00:00 GMT
Attending a New Event-Jacobsburg Historical Society-Revolutionary War Weekend https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/8/attending-a-new-event-jacobsburg-historical-society-revolutionary-war-weekend It's always fun attending a Revolutionary War event for the first time. This one, this past May, was the Revolutionary War Weekend reenactment in Jacobsburg, PA. I learned about it from my photo friend, who keeps me updated on upcoming events. Felt great being healthy and vaccinated, so I was excited about my new road trip.  I planned my trip and calculated it would take me about 1 1/2 hours to travel from my home in the Philly suburbs to NE rural PA. To arrive early, I left around 6:30 am. It was a pleasant, cloudy, hot day. When I enter any new event, I like to stroll first to get the lay of the land. Near the parking lot was the sutler's area (vendors), and nearby was the American camp. Across the field were the British.

Soon after arriving, I found 2 of my photo friends. We gabbed for a few minutes on how we were and that we haven't seen each other in over a year! Walking around the grounds, I found some interesting subjects to photograph, like this birdhouse.

I'm always trying to photograph something unique. When walking around the American camp, I spotted this empty plate/cup on top of this block of straw. Nice photo, something different. 

The reenactments are usually the highlight of the day. I strive to get at least two original photos each time. Most times, I meet that goal.
In this photo, the blurred background makes this Native Warrior stand out. The key was being close to my subject. Also, like almost all my photos, it was hand-held. 

After the reenactment, I toured the John Joseph Henry House, an 1832 mansion. "Five generations of the Henry family lived in the home, filling it with musical instruments, books, tools, paintings, furniture, and numerous other personal belongings."

Across the street from the house is the Pennsylvania Longrifle museum. Included in the collection were numerous vintage muskets & powder horns. "The Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum features more than 100 historic arms on either permanent display or in rotating, topical exhibits. Displays feature Henry firearms dating from the American Fur Trade, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the American West, and the early twentieth century. Most of the firearms were made by the Henrys of Boulton..." The guides in the museum were knowledgeable about answering my questions.

After visiting the museum, I went across the parking lot to the British camp to shoot some more. I wasn't feeling well; my eyes were bothering me. They had been more a few months. A few weeks after this reenactment, I had an eye exam. Guess what I learned? I need cataracts surgery not just in one eye but both. Whew! My photo friend had said this! I'm scheduled for surgery, in both eyes, this month. I can't wait to see clearly again!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY

Thank you for reading. Blog # 39 will be posted in September 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces Jacobsburg Jacobsburg Historical Society John Joseph Henry House PA photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/8/attending-a-new-event-jacobsburg-historical-society-revolutionary-war-weekend Sun, 01 Aug 2021 04:00:00 GMT
Attending Mt Vernon's Revolutionary War Weekend Part 2 of 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/7/attending-mt-vernons-revolutionary-war-weekend-part-2-of-2 Ilast month's blog, I reviewed Mt Vernon's Revolutionary War weekend reenactment and camp life. Always a fun event! In this month's blog, I'll discuss some of the extensive (around 500 acres today) mansion grounds. I didn't tour the house this time because of the large crowd and day's activities. 

Below is a photo from the back of the mansion. Do you notice the size of visitors in this photo compared to the immense size of Washington's home? It provides a good perspective on how big it is. 

Here is a photo of the Potomac River that I took from sitting in a porch chair. Can you imagine having this view every morning? From this photo of the columns on the northern side of the mansion to the kitchen, I learned a new word, colonnade. I had asked myself, what were the columns called? It means "a series of columns set at regular intervals and usually supporting the base of a roof structure." Architecturally this plantation is magnificent.

In the early afternoon, I took the bus shuttle to the wharf. First saw crops in the fields, sheep grazing, and this 16-sided barn, Washington's design. He created this new concept for more efficient grain processing and storage. Across from the barn is a replica slave cabin. We mustn't ever forget that this plantation was built and sustained on slave labor!!

All of the founding fathers from southern states had and depended on slave labor, including Washington. Did you know that later abolitionist Benjamin Franklin had household slaves around the 1740s? The repercussions of not resolving this evil in the 1770s still resonate today? At least now it's being discussed and addressed at historical sites like here.


The greatest failure in our nation's founding was not resolving the slavery issue. The southern representatives during the 2nd Continental Congress meeting in 1775 wouldn't follow Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. Simply it was all based on economics. All of the founders knew this issue would haunt this country until resolved. And it has to this day!!

The many gardens at Mt Vernon is a must-see. This one is adjacent to the mansion.

Near the end of my day, I visited Washington's tomb. Yes, he and Martha & plus 23 other family members, are buried here. All the visitors I noticed showed respect and decorum around the tomb area.CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE PHOTO GALLERY!

Can't wait to visit again. Did you know that Mt Vernon is open 365 days?

Thank you for reading. Blog # 38 will be posted in August 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) "Benjamin Franklin" 16-sided barn American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces George Washington Martha Washington Mt Vernon photography Potomac River Reenactments slavery the British Brigade The Continental Line Thomas Jefferson Virginia https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/7/attending-mt-vernons-revolutionary-war-weekend-part-2-of-2 Thu, 01 Jul 2021 04:00:00 GMT
Attending Mt Vernon's Revolutionary War Weekend Part 1 of 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/6/attending-mt-vernons-revolutionary-war-weekend For the first time in over a year, I attended an American Revolution reenactment. It was the Revolutionary War weekend at George Washington's Mt Vernon on May 1. It was a great day! In this month's blog, I'll focus on the reenactment. Next month, I'll discuss exploring the Mt Vernon grounds.

I've attended this event back in 2017 and 2018. The other two times, I went both days. But, this year it was a one-day trip. I left my home at 6 am and arrived at Mt Vernon at around 9 am. The trip took longer because of the ongoing construction in Baltimore and Washington DC. I learned a few days ago that I received a $200 DC camera speeding ticket. Ouch!

Luckily, I arrived early to secure a parking space. Although the website claimed there would be limited attendees, it was still crowded. It took about 45 minutes to enter the grounds because of security and COVID safeguards. Here's is a photo of everyone waiting to get in.

Once you enter the grounds, you're in the museum that you should visit. You will learn so much about George Washington's life and legacy. From the museum, I  proceeded to the mansion.

As you enter the mansion grounds, you see the house. It is two and a half stories with a cellar, almost 11,000 square feet. That is a big home.

My first stop was the 12-acre field for the dragoons demonstration. I missed George Washington addressing the troops because of  entering late. 

At every event, my goal is to capture 1-2 unique, memorable images. Most times I achieve my goal. Below is one for sure!  Yes, I've captured many cannon blasts before. But, the orange color saturation in this photo is incredible. I must have caught it at its peak color. My photo pal commented on the saturation too. Here is his latest photo of me. Mask on!

What I enjoy now more than the reenactments is visiting the camps. It's a great opportunity to chap with folks and observe camp life. Also, a wonderful time to create new photos.

The reenactments at these events are the main attraction. The spectators always enjoy them. They're loud with the smoke and noise from cannons and volleys of muskets in unison. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE PHOTO GALLERY!

Thank you for reading. Blog # 37 will be posted in July 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces dragoons George Washington Mt Vernon photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line VA Virginia https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/6/attending-mt-vernons-revolutionary-war-weekend Tue, 01 Jun 2021 16:09:10 GMT
My Favorite Destination Colonial Williamsburg-Top 10 Photos-#'s 1-5 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/5/my-favorite-destination-colonial-williamsburg-top-10-photos--s-1-5 In last month's blog, I reviewed #'s 6-10 photos of Colonial Williamsburg, VA, my favorite retreat/relaxation destination. For this month, I'll review my favorite 5 photos.

The image below, the entrance gate at Governor's Palace, is not a photo that would make you automatically think of Colonial Williamsburg .  The front gate has two light brick columns with a stone unicorn on the left side and a lion on the right. Above the painted gate entrance is an ironworks design with a crown at the top. On either side of the main gate is a connecting high brick wall.

To make this photo unique, I didn't focus on capturing the entire main gate. Instead, it's cropped tightly on the lion statue making the steeple out-of-focus. Would you agree, a more dynamic photo? The blue sky helps make the photo glow adding incredible detail to the stone lion. I did try to learn more about the palace gate by searching online and reviewing the books I had about Colonial Williamsburg. No luck. So I contacted a reference librarian at the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library Colonial Williamsburg Foundation who, graciously sent me this information.

Restoring Williamsburg, by George Humphrey Yetter and Carl R. Lounsbury

On page 231

“Colonial records show that “handsome gates” to the forecourt were specified for the new residence in 1710. The design of the present wrought-iron gates was based on excavated fragments and eighteenth-century English examples. The Portland stone lion and unicorn atop the gate piers were sculpted in London by William Aumonier. Similar figures at Hampton Court Palace inspired their general character.”

#5

#4

This photo is different because it was taken with 35mm film. Remember those times? I'm not sure even what year I took this photo? Probably in the 1980s? I saw it when reviewing my numerous film storage pages. It's of the Chowning's Tavern and photographed at sunrise. About 10 years ago, I scanned the film to digital and made digital darkroom changes in On1 Photo Editing Software.

# 3 & 2

You never know who you might meet when visiting Colonial Williamsburg? In my 3rd blog, I described meeting  historical interpreter Mark Schneider.

Another unique event that I hope occurs again soon is Prelude to Victory. This event celebrates the anniversary of George Washington & the French General  Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau anniversary when their armies stopped in Williamsburg before proceeding to Yorktown, the last major battle of the war.  I had the opportunity to speak with Marquis de Lafayette portrayed by historical interpreter Mark Schneider. Of course, he was in character. He has also interpreted "Bloody Ban" Banastre Tarleton.

We have corresponded a few times since we first met. I learned he's from Long Island, like myself. The photo above is him portraying ruthless "Bloody Ban" Banastre Tarleton during Under the Redcoat in 2011. This photo is of him mounted on his horse at the Capitol. I can feel the arrogance in his portrayal of the real Tarleton. I sent Mark this photo, and he enjoyed it.

The photo above has a different feel. It shows the boyish charm and appeal of the Marquis de Lafayette. Here is Mark's short bio from an article he wrote on Lafayette.

Mark Schneider has worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for 23 years and has performed in a variety of roles from Historic Tradesman, Military programs, Actor interpreter, Theatrical interpreter, Coach & Livestock and now as a Nation Builder where he has been performing as the Marquis de Lafayette for 20 years. Mark’s passions are history and horses and he is able to bring them both to life at Colonial Williamsburg.

#1

My favorite Colonial Williamsburg photo is also in my top 10 list that I reviewed in blog # 23. Let me show you how I created it before you see it. At my last visit to Colonial Williamsburg, I wanted to find the house with a ladder on its side. I remembered it was near the Capitol. Here it is. How would you compose a photo from this scene?

Yes, the best photo would be the side building with the ladder. That's what I did. Here it is with a new perspective. In blog # 3, I reviewed how I created this photo.

It was early in the morning when I was walking around the streets near the Capitol. Behind a house was a storage building with a ladder hooked on it's side. Looking closer, I imagined the windows as eyes and the ladder a mouth. What an excellent photo this would be! Later in post-production, I cropped it to appear like a face. This photo still makes me smile! Does it for you?

Thank you for reading. Blog # 36 will be posted in June 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur comte de Rochambeau John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library Colonial Williamsburg Foundation American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Chowning's Tavern Colonial Williamsburg Crown Forces George Washington Governor's Palace Marquis de Lafayette photography Prelude to Victory the British Brigade Under the Redcoat https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/5/my-favorite-destination-colonial-williamsburg-top-10-photos--s-1-5 Mon, 03 May 2021 15:33:02 GMT
My Favorite Destination Colonial Williamsburg-Top 10 Photos-#'s 6-10 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/4/my-favorite-destination-colonial-williamsburg-top-10-photos--s-6-10 Thankfully the COVID crisis is improving. We now have a President taking this pandemic seriously. Plus, the vaccines are here-good news. Maybe by spring or at least summer, life will be getting back to normal? Some reenactment events are scheduled this year, yeah!

I’ve mentioned in my 3rd blog that visiting Colonial Williamsburg is my top retreat/relaxation destination. Hopefully, I can go this year?

I thought this would be a great time to review my Williamsburg galleries and select my top 10 photos. For this blog, I’ll discuss numbers 6-10.

#10

Visiting Colonial Williamsburg is a special occasion for me at any time but particularly when events such as Prelude to Victory or Under the Redcoat occurs. It feels a little like you're living in the 18th century.

#9

#10 & #9 photos were taken in 2011 at the Under the Redcoat event.

#8

Here is a simple photo that reminds me of what makes Colonial Williamsburg so special. When walking the largest outdoor living museum in the country-around 300 acres, you'll see horse-drawn carriages & wagons slowly meandering the streets carrying visitors. You do have to be careful walking in the streets if you know what I mean?

#7

The winter months in Colonial Williamsburg are unique. It is fun seeing the snow and makes for great photos like this one. It was taken early in the morning, the best time to shoot, and the colors pop.

My perfect day is to arrive in town just before sunrise. I will bring a large coffee and my Nikon SLR camera attached with the all-purpose 24-85 mm lens. On most mornings, I’ll observe W&M students jogging, retired folks walking their dogs, and maintenance crews in their pick-up trucks cleaning the area. Between the Wren Building on William & Mary campus and the Capitol, a short distance of less than a mile, I get to stroll around the town where so many of our Founding-Fathers frequented.  Amazingly, that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, and others walked these same streets. Even Benjamin Franklin, then postmaster, visited Williamsburg in 1756 & 1763

The building at the far right is the William Pitt Store a Children’s Boutique. It sells replica items from 18th-century hats to toys, games, and books.

#6

This photo is of the restored Capitol (rebuilt in the early 1930s) from the Under the Redcoat event in 2011. When only a specific focus area in the photo is in color is called selective-color.  I changed it to b&w except for the British flag. Some people don't like this technique? I only do this on select photos to make them distinctive. For me, this photo just in b&w isn't as appealing. Do you agree?

Thank you for reading. Blog # 35 will be posted in May 2021 with my top 5 Colonial Williamsburg photos  Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Colonial Williamsburg Crown Forces George Washington horse-drawn carriages horse-drawn wagons photography Prelude to Victory Reenactments selective color effect the British Brigade The Continental Line Thomas Jefferson Under the Redcoat William Pitt Store https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/4/my-favorite-destination-colonial-williamsburg-top-10-photos--s-6-10 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT
Reenactment Religious Observances https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/3/reenactment-religious-observances At any 2-day weekend reenactment encampment, there has always been an early Sunday morning religious service. It's stated in the event schedule. I always try to attend. Usually, there will be between 10-25 British & American reenactors plus spectators like myself. The Christian observance usually lasts about 20 minutes.

When I first arrive I take a few photos. Then I'll put my camera down and participate in the service. From all my weekend reenactment photo galleries, British Brigade Deputy Commander Mark Hagenbuch is leading us. He reads a few bible passages, selects a few hymns, delivers a short sermon, and ends with a group prayer.  At the end of the service, I feel comforted just like my regular weekly church service. It helps provide me peace and hope.

At an event in 2017, I noticed this cross made of sticks in front of a reenactors tent. I don't remember which camp it's from?

In my 3rd blog, over two years ago I wrote how much I enjoy visiting Colonial Williamsburg. They regularly had two events that I wish would be held again, Under the Redcoat & Prelude to Victory. Under the Redcoat is held first in late June. It depicts the British occupation (for about 10 days) of Williamsburg in 1781. The town is taken over by the British army and the reenactors set up camp throughout the historic area. Martial Law is declared. 

On Sunday morning, a church service was held in front of the Capitol. All troops were required to attend.

Also, in my 3rd blog, I wrote about Prelude to Victory-

This event celebrates the anniversary of George Washington & the French General  Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau and their armies stopped in Williamsburg for a few days rest before proceeding on to Yorktown for the last major battle of the war.

On that weekend Sunday, there was a religious service at the side of the Colonial Williamsburg Courthouse. Besides American troops attending there also were many Williamsburg visitors.

At any weekend reenactment event, I will check the schedule to learn what time and where the religious observance will be. When you're at an event try to attend. You will feel refreshed!

Thank you for reading. Blog # 34 will be posted in April 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Church Services comte de Rochambeau Crown Forces French General Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur photography Prelude to Victory Reenactments Religious Services the British Brigade The Continental Line Under the Redcoat Yorktown https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/3/reenactment-religious-observances Mon, 01 Mar 2021 05:00:00 GMT
The Enduring Valley Forge National Historical Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/2/the-enduring-valley-forge-national-historic-park Last month, I reviewed two more core reenactment events I've been regularly attending, Washington's Crossing Historic Park and the Battle of Trenton-Old Barracks Museum.  In this blog, I'll review the Valley Forge National Historical Park. I visit as often as possible. This past Sunday, 1/31, is a perfect example. We were in the middle of a massive snowstorm. Time to take some wintery photos!

My young son sure enjoyed playing in the snow with his sled! What a fun day.

Luckily for me, it's only about a 30-minute drive. Anytime it snows, I'm hoping I'll be able to visit and photograph the restored cabins/cannons. Below is a great example. It's cold and uncomfortable, but capturing great photos is worth it.

The Valley Forge National Historical Park has many different events over the years including, the annual march in and out of Washington's troops from December 19, 1777, to June 19, 1778. At its peak, there were 1,500-2,000 log huts measuring 14 x 16 feet. The encampment had over  12,000 soldiers plus 400 women/children, making it the fourth-largest city in the United States at that time.

Most Americans know of George Washington leading his troops at Valley Forge in 1776. Many know that Baron von Steuben trained the Continental Army the essentials of military drills, tactics, and discipline? Did you know that many other famous Americans also were at Valley Forge in that encampment?

The list of famous Americans at Valley Forge during the encampment is long and impressive. Let's start with America's most famous eventual traitor, Benedict Arnold. Plus, the Marquis de Lafayette who's future relationship with George Washington, was almost like a father and son.

Add another future President, James Monroe, and Chief Justice John Marshall's who was Thomas Jefferson's bitter rival and 2nd cousin. And finally, one of those bizarre occurrences Alexander Hamilton and his future killer in a dual Aaron Burr. Wow, they knew of each other then. Did they communicate often at the encampment?

Below is the Issac Potts House that was used by George Washington as his headquarters at Valley Forge.

Today, the park is a spacious 3,500 acres with replica cabins/cannons, monuments & walking trails. In addition, Valley Forge regularly hosts encampments and special events including a Focus on Women & Civilian Contributions

Thank you for reading. Blog # 33 will be posted in March 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) Aaron Burr Alexander Hamilton American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Baron von Steuben Benedict Arnold British Army Crown Forces George Washington James Monroe John Marshall Old Barracks Museum photography Reenactments The Battle of Trenton the British Brigade The Continental Line Thomas Jefferson Valley Forge National Historic Park Washington's Crossing Historic Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/2/the-enduring-valley-forge-national-historic-park Tue, 02 Feb 2021 16:26:54 GMT
5 Core Reenactment Events Missed-Part 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/1/5-core-reenactment-events-missed-part-2 Happy New Year! In last month's blog, I reviewed my two out of five core attended reenactment events. This month, I'll reflect on two more, Washington's Crossing Historic Park and the Battle of Trenton-Old Barracks Museum. And next month, I'll review all the many events at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

By far, December is my busiest reenactment event month. In some years, there is an event every weekend. Washington's Crossing is the big one. It's two separate events. The first one is a practice festival held about two weeks before the main crossing on Christmas Day. Both are fun. But, the Christmas event is the busiest of the two; it's a family tradition with hundreds attending religiously year after year. My focus both days is capturing outstanding photos of George Washington, recently portrayed by John Godzieba. His resemblance to George Washington is remarketable!

When first photographing Washington's Crossing, I parked in PA & walked across Washington's Crossing Bridge to wait for the replica Durham boats (carried heavy cargo on colonial waterways) to land in NJ. Lately, I've stayed in PA and photographed  Washington preparing his troops to leave PA and the reenactors boarding the boats. Just before departing, Washington delivers his motivational crossing speech. Very inspiring!

In the last few years, I've wanted to photograph the crossing from a different perspective. The bridge was the perfect solution. The photo below shows the ample size of the Delaware River compared to the relatively small Durham boat.  Also, it provides an inkling of the tremendous undertaking it must have been for Washington and his men to cross in darkness during a blinding blizzard snowstorm. You truly understand the difficulty of the Christmas night crossing when you view the Durham boats up close.

The Battle of Trenton is held the last Saturday in December. It usually takes me about an hour by highway driving. Last year, I did something different by taking the SEPTA train to Trenton. It was a comfortable 2-hour trip and a brisk .08 mile walk to the Old Barracks Museum. A photo friend drove me to the train station when it was over.

The event commemorates two battles. The first and most known is the Christmas night crossing. This reenactment starts with a cannon firing at the Trenton battle monument and the fighting continues in the streets until it reaches Mill Hill Park.

Below shows the battle in the Trenton streets.

It snowed a few times during this event. That's what I'm always hoping for. My drive home then took hours, but the photos I got were worth the long commute. Below is a great example. The snow adds so much realism. It's an event you should try to attend at least once. You're so close to the reenactors during the street fighting you can reach out and touch them. It also gets so loud from the muskets and cannons that car alarms go off.

The lesser-known 2nd Battle of Trenton, known as the Battle of Assunpink Creek, occurred on January 2, 1777. The Hessians were repulsed three times & annihilated when attacking a fortified position, The afternoon battle depicts this battle on the Mill Hill Park Bridge.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 32 will be posted in February 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) 2nd Battle of Trenton American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Assunpink Creek Battle of Trenton British Army Crown Forces George Washington Mill Hill Park Mill Hill Park Bridge NJ Old Barracks Museum photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Trenton Trenton Barracks; Valley Forge Washington's Crossing Washington's Crossing historical Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2021/1/5-core-reenactment-events-missed-part-2 Fri, 01 Jan 2021 15:01:04 GMT
5 Core Reenactment Events Missed-Part 1 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/12/missed Happy Holidays! Wow-what a year! Writing this month's blog has been more difficult than I thought it would be. In 2020, I haven't been able to attend a reenactment event. Besides a contentious Presidential election, we have had to endure a Coronavirus pandemic that appears not to be under control any time in the foreseeable future. Add a recession to this mess makes for a stressful year. Plus, I have been working remotely from home since the middle of March. Luckily, everyone I know is well and healthy.
Not attending reenactments has me appreciate the 5 core events I regularly attend most years. Also, since I live so close to Valley Forge National Historical Park, I'll visit as often as possible to photograph something unique.

Every June I look forward to the Battle of Monmouth reenactment. I have so many good photos, over the years,from this event. It is an easy drive from my home in the western Philly suburbs, only about 1 1/2 using the PA & NJ turnpikes. Here are my comments about this event from my first blog posted in June 2018

Why do I enjoy this event so much? Its location is one reason. When walking behind the visitor’s center, you stop and gaze. There are clusters of trees sporadically growing everywhere. In the middle of the field is a big grass area gently sloping downward. In the distance is a large cornfield. The entire area is green throughout. It’s so stately. This awe feeling comes over me every time I visit.

When fall arrives in October, the Battle of Germantown reenactment occurs. For me, it's also a short 30-minute drive from the western suburbs to North Philly. This year there was the Revolutionary Germantown festival but with no reenactments and a limited number of reenactors.  It felt great attending any event this year, even if it wasn't the same!

Amazingly, the original stone house that was so pivotal in the outcome of the day's battle still exists with visible bullet holes and cannon indentions in the walls. In 2020, I photographed the reenactment from the 2nd floor. What a special, unique opportunity it was to be permitted to do this. It was a tight fit with everyone crammed together. And wow, was it loud. It provided me an idea of what it must have felt for the British soldiers defending this house during the battle.

Visiting Ft Mifflin is an easy drive for me. It's right next to the Philadelphia International airport, a 20-minute trip. The first time visiting was in 2007. It reminded me of the time, as a young boy with my family, initially seeing Ft. Ticonderoga. Both forts appear so massive with their high stone walls and flags flapping in the wind. There is something magical about visiting these magnificent structures that is hard to describe. Maybe you feel the same?

In 1776, a British Navy bombardment destroyed Ft. Mifflin. The fort started to rebuild in 1794. Ghosts, including a screaming woman, supposedly haunt it. Ft. Mifflin conducts numerous paranormal programs & events yearly. Reenactors who have stayed overnight said they heard voices. Not exactly a restful night's sleep!

Next month I'll feature Washington's Crossing, the Battle of Trenton, and the many events at Valley Forge.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 31 will be posted in January 2021. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth Battle of Trenton British Army Crown Forces Forge Ft. Mifflin Ft. Ticonderoga Historical National Park" Philadelphia photography Reenactments The Continental Line Valley Forge Valley Forge National Historical Park Washington's Crossing https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/12/missed Wed, 02 Dec 2020 21:27:16 GMT
Revolutionary Germantown Festival 2020 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/11/the-germantown-festival-2020 The 2020 Revolutionary Germantown Festival was a different event this year because of COVID-19. No surprise! There weren't  reenactments,  few Continental & British reenactors, no sutlers (merchants), food trucks, beer garden, reenactor tent, house tours, or even porta-potties. Very strange! Of course, everyone kept a social distance and were wearing masks. Compare to last year's event.

This reenactor was typical of the day. Can you guess who he is? Hint-he's been attending this event since 1984. I'll disclose who

this is at the bottom of the blog

But, it sure felt good strolling the grounds and speaking with a photographer and reenactors I knew. This is my first event of any kind in 2020. Also, played with my new DSL Nikon-500. It was fun and I can't wait for a "normal" Revolutionary Festival next year.

Some events remained the same as in years past such as musket demonstrations.

Also, author Tom McGuire tells the story of the Surprise at Germantown.

The masked reenactor above is Patrick Jordan.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 30 will be posted in December 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth British Army Crown Forces Philadelphia photography Reenactments Revolutionary Germantown Festival the British Brigade The Continental Line https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/11/the-germantown-festival-2020 Sun, 01 Nov 2020 17:10:39 GMT
Interview with Harry Schenawolf-Revolutionary War Journal https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/10/interview-with-harry-schenawolf-revolutionary-war-journal One of the many joys of interacting among the American Revolution reenactment community is meeting so many wonderful reenactors, photographers, site administrators, sutlers (merchants), and historians/writers. An author I recently met on-line is Harry Schenawolf, founder of the American Revolution Journal. When I conducted American Revolution research material for my blogs his web site articles kept appearing. I contacted him and introduced myself. We've been corresponding regularly since the beginning of this year. I asked him to be interviewed for my October blog. He graciously agreed. His background is amazing!

1) Where did you grow up? What is your educational background?

New Jersey – outside Newark to Morristown.  Studied Astro Physics at Univ. of Arizona – switched to fine arts when transferred to Montclair State College (now Univ.). Did my Masters work at Temple University in Philadelphia and my doctoral work at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

2) What types of jobs have you had in your career?  

You name it – repairing water pipelines, fireman, truck driver, teacher Elem – High School & University Professor. Musician – both classical and jazz. 

3) What inspired you to create the web site Revolutionary War Journal? 

As I neared retirement, I wanted to devote the rest of my creative life to my first love–history–mainly military. There are multiple web sites devoted to the Civil, First World Wars, and later Second World Wars including Korean and Vietnam. However, at the time I started the site, only a few major web sites on the Revolutionary War and most of them were loaded with adds from T-shirts to tires. I wanted a site that was devoted to knowledge – focusing on little known information that had an impact on the war – plus would only sell books.

4) What year did you start? 

 I think it was late in the year, 2012.  A friend and fellow historian told me I was a mini-encyclopedia about everything military – in other words boring the hell out of him with tons of little-known information – that he suggested I put it in writing.  So, I did.   

5) How do you create content and what about submissions from other contributors?  

I have, over the years, downloaded or xeroxed literally thousands of books from the National archives or old, dusty books you can get on inner library loan – Dartmouth, Middlebury College, Univ. of Vermont, and SUNY (where I was adjunct for many years) had great libraries of old historical texts. I research mainly through text books – however the internet is very useful to point me in the right direction – google books and the archive search, along with dozens of other site searches are very helpful. I do all my own writing – however, just this year – having been preoccupied with potential screenplays started to accept submissions from other authors.

6) When did your interest in the American Revolution, especially African American studies, develop?

About fifteen years back, I started writing a novel about African explorers. My main protagonist was a youth who escaped the law in colonial Virginia by taking to the high seas.  He was shipwrecked off the West Coast of Africa in the late 1700s and had many adventures throughout the regions. During research –I stumbled across slave rebellions – wrote another book on the Gabriel Rebellion of 1800 – about 12 years back – and discovered the incredible impact African Americans had in the Revolutionary War.  There were few if any sites on the internet at the time.  So, I decided to write a series of historical fiction, based on African American soldiers fighting for both sides of the war I entitled “Shades of Liberty”.  

7) What is the motivation behind your fictional Shades of Liberty Series?   

My desire to tell a story that had never been told.  I started writing the series about twelve years ago when there was little if any interest.  It is amazing that this topic has gained such a following – helped by light being shed on the social injustice that has been prevalent in this country all these decades. Motivation? I want to make a difference – my small part in correcting something that has been buried for far too long.

8) What do you want folks to take away from browsing your web site?  

Knowledge. An open mind.  Not to accept things for face value on the internet – but to dig deeper to find the truth – something that has been under severe attack not only in the US, but the world. Most of my articles are detailed – not cut and paste from other articles that unfortunately has become the norm on the internet – solely to advance revenue.

9) How would you define your personal mission?   

History is truth – and often we bury it rather than embrace it – so my mission is to promote it – however I can. Without history – as well documented, we will continue to make the same mistakes – over and over – not only in war but in the development of authoritarian regiments dating back centuries – vile roots that need to be exposed.  But also – the sacrifice and contribution by so many incredible people who continue to enrich our present life. I want history to open eyes – so we as a nation and a people – self examine who we are, where we are going, and if we truly deserve to honor who we believe we have become. History is a gate that unfortunately remains closed for so many because we have either lost the keys or don’t care if they ever existed. 

10) What about future career aspirations?   

I hope to finish publishing the novels in my Shades of Liberty Series. I hope to see the story of African American Founders on the big screen.  And I want to make a difference – to cast light on that which should never have been extinguished.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 29 will be posted in November 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) African American Founders African Americans in the American Revolution American History American Revolution American Revolution Journal American Revolution reenactments Harry Schenawolf Reenactments" Shades of Liberty Shades of Liberty-Book 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/10/interview-with-harry-schenawolf-revolutionary-war-journal Thu, 01 Oct 2020 05:00:00 GMT
My Top 25 American Revolution Photos-Last 5 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/9/my-top-25-american-revolution-photos-last-5 Here is my last blog of favorite photos! I've selected 5 more American Revolution reenactment photos to discuss. In 5 blogs, I've reviewed 25 of my favorites. If you missed it, here is my August blog.

I now try to focus on photographing non-battle reenactment subjects, when attending events. Here is a perfect example. It's a boat that was sailing nearshore from Mt Harmon 2019. I knew this would make a great photo if I included, besides the boat & mast, the water reflection. I added filters in ON1 Software to make the photo appear like a painting. This photo glows and has a peaceful effect on me.

This image from the Battle of Monmouth 2008 is one of my better constructed early reenactment photos. I've used it on my the back of my American Revolution Photos business cards for years. A bonus is that this image also has sold a few times. The comments are always about the musket flashes and vibrant colors. I was lucky, got the musket blasts all at the right time.

 

Photographing battle reenactments and sporting events are identical. I've done both. Action everywhere. No real planning, just trying to capture the moment quickly. But, photography does have rules to guide us. Some examples are the rule of thirds, subjects not in the center of the frame, and rule of odd numbers, etc. 

I'm conscious of the rules when walking through the American and British camps. Here is an example from the Battle of Wyoming 2014. I spotted this Native American reenactor applying his war paint and knew this would make a great photo! My focus was on his eye. As he was applying his war paint I noticed his left hand was on his forehead creating a circular effect when holding his mirror. It guides the viewer directly to his eye. Perfect!

My photography buddies always discuss our photos from previous reenactment events. Some of my favorites they don't enjoy and vice versa. That is true, especially for motion & blur photos. I like them a lot and try to create them when possible. My friends don't!

Here is an example of this technique from the Battle of Germantown 2011. The Continentals had stormed the Chew Mansion and were unsuccessful. They were retreating. This photo was panned, meaning my shutter speed was set to a slow setting. I kept the camera level and moved at a moderate speed from left to right, holding the shutter button in continuous mode, so the photos were blurred. Most of the them were unusable but this one was perfect! I think so anyway.

 

My goal when photograph American Revolution reenactments is to capture images that provide a glimpse of what it might have been like during the late 18th century. Unlike the American Civil War, photography didn't exist during the American Revolution. It began in the late 1830s in France. This photo of a Native American Warriors from the Battle of Newtown 2019 seems more authentic. I can picture Native American warriors preparing for battle. How does it affect you?

Did you agree with my choices? Would you have chosen other photos? Please let me know.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 28 will be posted in October 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth Battle of Newtown British Army Chew Mansion Crown Forces Mt. Harmon of On1 Software photography Reenactments the British Brigade Wyoming" https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/9/my-top-25-american-revolution-photos-last-5 Tue, 01 Sep 2020 05:00:00 GMT
My Top 25 American Revolution Photos-5 More https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/8/my-top-25-american-revolution-photos-5-more Because of Covid-19 and no American Revolution reenactments in the foreseeable future, I'll continue reviewing 5 more of my favorite 25 photos. If you missed it, here is my blog from July.

Occasionally, a photo captures an event perfectly like the one below from the Battle of Trenton 2012. It's of 2 Hessian soldiers at the Trenton Barracks with snow falling gently.  It's easy to envision the Hessian troops stationed here in 1776.

I've attended this event numerous times. My best photos are when it has snowed. Magical!

One year it took me twice as long to drive home from this event because of a snow storm. But, the photos I took were worth it!

Some photos are so simple yet they are still memorable. That was true with this photo from the Battle of Monmouth 2017. It started to drizzle. The British soldier just looks up at the sky. He was probably wondering if as he was loading his musket if it would fire? The rifles/cannons won't fire if wet.

On my website, I have many photo examples of musket firing blasts of fire & smoke! You would believe they all would look the same? Surprisingly, no they are all unique. But this one from the Battle of Germantown 2012 is so different than any other. The sparks shooting from the flash pan appear like tiny pieces of metal strands flying in the air. I have never seen another photo like this ever. It's the reason why I like it so much!

I remember vividly taking this photo from Washington's Crossing 2014. It was the last shot I took that day. I was on the NJ side of the Delaware River walking to my car. I turned around and spotted the Durham boat full or reenactors near shore. The sun was setting. So quickly I took the photo. Because I was facing directly into the sun, the resulting photo became a silhouette. Good photos sometimes just happen.

As a child, I remember visiting Fort Ticonderoga, in upstate NY, for the first time. It was magical. The fort appeared so big and majestic when I was young. I had that same feeling again visiting Fort Mifflin for the first time in 2007. What is it about forts that bring out the child in you?

This photo is from Ft Mifflin 2012. I had taken my tripod hoping to capture a photo of the entrance to the fort. What added to the photo  was the cloudy day at sunset. The fort flag, only flown during this reenactment, seemed to glow in the light. When you are visiting Philadelphia, this is a must-see destination!

Did you agree with my choices? Would you have chosen other photos? Please let me know.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 27 will be posted in September 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth Battle of Trenton British Army Crown Forces Fort Mifflin Fort Ticonderoga Philadelphia photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Trenton Barracks Washington's Crossing https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/8/my-top-25-american-revolution-photos-5-more Sat, 01 Aug 2020 05:00:00 GMT
My Top 25 American Revolution Reenactment Photos https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/7/my-top-25-american-revolution-reenactment-photos I reviewed my top 10 American Revolution reenactment photos in my latest May & June blogs. It was both difficult & fun selecting my favorites. I enjoyed reminiscing on where and when they were taken. Since there are no reenactment events in the foreseeable future because of Covid-19 I'll continue to discuss more of my personal best photos. So for this blog and my next 2, I'll review 5 of my favorite photos each month. Then I would have reviewed a total of 25 photos!

This photo is from the Battle of Monmouth in 2009. The American soldiers marching to start the reenactment. Originally, I liked the photo so much it was in my top 10 list.

I've been attending this event for over 10 years. Some of my best photos have come from this June reenactment. Why?

First, the park area itself is picturesque. Behind the visitor's center is a large sloping grass-covered field and woods on both sides. In the distance is a bridge and still further crops in the field. The background is perfect for reenactment photos.

At each event, I plan on the day being hot, usually in the high 90's with extreme humidity. The weather was ideal with many puffy clouds. For me, they add so much drama to any photo.  The light was ideal so the colors just pop, a wonderful photo.

At every reenactment, I'll take some informal reenactor portraits. So many of them have the facial features, expressions & uniforms that make for a powerful photo. Here is a perfect example from the Battle of Germantown 2017.

When I review my event photos afterwards, I immediately decide whether the image is more compelling in b&w or color. It was an easy decision for this one, b&w. In this photo, his demeanor and the light focused on his face make this photo special.

Some of the best events I've attended only happen infrequently. This photo is from the Return to the Hook 2013. I don't believe the event has been held since? At no other event, have I seen a house exterior been built and then burned to the ground? It was amazing.

I was lucky to photograph from such a unique vantage point. There were 2 platforms constructed about 20-25 feet high right next to the spectators' area. That is why I was able to capture so many unobstructed photos of the burning house.

I was excited to learn recently that in October 2021 this event is scheduled again. Plan to attend, it's magnificent. Plus, Colonial Williamsburg is so close, just across the York River.

I'm often asked  which American Revolution reenactment is a must-see? Immediately, I mention Patriot's Day's  (Lexington & Concord) in Boston, MA on April 19. It's the event you will never forget. Unfortunately, it's been 2011 since I last attended. At that time, 3 separate reenactments occurred at the Lexington Green, North Bridge & Battle Road (the route taken by the British expeditionary force.) This photo is from 2010 on Battle Road.

At this event, the British are retreating to Boston and the militiamen are ambushing them along the way. The action is non-stop. As a spectator, you are following them throughout. You feel like you're part of the battle. It provides a small sampling on how the minutemen and British troops must have felt on that eventful day!

Photographers have always manipulated their photos. Before digital cameras, it was achieved in a film darkroom. Today photos are still enhanced. It's not done using chemicals but instead with computer software. In my digital darkroom, I stylized this photo from the Battle of Oriskany 2012. The focus of this photo is the Native American warrior.

He's surrounded by both American & British troops. Who's he attacking? Can't tell. I knew this would make a great photo when the warrior extendeded his arm with a ball headed war club.

By adding blur and movement, in a wonderful photo editing program ON1 Software, I accentuated him further. These few minor editing changes make this photo very unique!

Did you agree with my choices? Would you have chosen other photos? Please let me know.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 26 will be posted in August 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth Battle of Oriskany Battle Road British Army Colonial Williamsburg Crown Forces Lexington & Concord Lexington Green North Bridge on1 software photography Reenactments Return to the Hook the British Brigade The Continental Line https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/7/my-top-25-american-revolution-reenactment-photos Thu, 02 Jul 2020 20:26:20 GMT
My Top 10 American Revolution Reenactment Photos-Numbers 1-5 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/6/my-top-10-american-revolution-reenactment-photos-numbers-1-5 About two months ago one of my reenactor friends suggested I select my top 10 photos for a blog post. The COVID 19 virus has canceled all upcoming American Revolution reenactment events for the foreseeable future. She asked: "Maybe you can do a compilation of your “greatest ” to entertain the “troops” until we get kicking again? Could make for an interesting blog!" I thought what a great idea!  In last month's blog, I selected & reviewed my #6-10 selections. Now I'll reveal my personal top 5 photos.

#5

My goal at every  reenactment event is to capture unique images. The photo below is a good example. It was taken at the Battle of Trenton 2019 reenactment. This event is special because the reenactment occurs in the streets of Trenton, near the Trenton Barracks  and NJ State Capital. I'm so close I could touch the reenactors.

This event is difficult to photograph. To avoid modern elements I zoom in often with my telephoto lens very, very tight. I want no cars, telephone poles, or street signs, etc. in the photos. That's what I did here. I zoomed in close!

I had to move/jog with the reenactors as they fired in the streets. The photo shows the musket in Half-cock -the hammer with flint attached (called a dogs head) pulled back. Then a small amount of black powder is poured from the cartridge into the flash pan. I haven't seen another photo like this before. Yes!

#4

I've always been able to capture fabulous & interesting musket firing photos at every reenactment event. No two blast photos I've taken look the same. But, this one is far different than any other posted on my web site. This photo is from the Battle of Germantown 2019.  Magic happens when the flint strikes the black powder in the flash pan, an explosion. This flash was bigger than any other I've seen; it engulfs the entire photo. All the fire & smoke makes it an abstract photo. There is no clear subject. Your eyes wander aimlessly. Amazing!

#3

My advice when photographing special events is to take tons of photos. Sometimes you just get lucky. I did! That's what happened with this photo from the Battle of Stony Point 2019. It occurred in the morning when the Continental troops were assembling. To get the best images I'll photograph from all different angles and vantage points. Afterward, when reviewing hundreds of photos taken that day, I noticed this reenactor secretively extending his middle finger.

There is a saying, every picture tells a story. This photo has many possibilities. He isn't a real soldier so what could have happened that day that he needed to show his frustrations so dramatically? Plus, the day just started. We'll never know? But, that is why this is such a good photo. So many possible scenarios!

#2

In rare occurrences, a photo expresses everything you're hoping to achieve. That is what happened in this photo from Washington's Crossing-Practice Event in 2019. Here's the background. It's December in PA with John Godzieba portraying George Washington looking through his spyglass. Looks great having the reflection of the NJ's Delaware River in the photo. He's preparing to cross the Delaware River that day. How perfect is that! I couldn't have scripted this photo any better if I tried.

#1

Here is my favorite photo. Probably always will be. Why? Because it's my first really good reenactment photo. It was taken at the Battle of Monmouth in 2009. For the first 2 years, I've posted numerous galleries with hundreds of photos. Some were good. But, this one was so much better. Taking this photo was not easy.

Most of the Monmouth battle reenactments held in June are incredibly hot with many spectators attending. It's important to secure a good location at least 1 hour before the battle starts. In 2009, the cannons were very far away. I knew photographing them would be difficult. My photography equipment was important in constructing this photo.

My Nikon DSR (interchangeable lens) camera has a smaller crop sensor compared to a full-frame sensor camera. Simply, this means the cropped sensor “sees” a narrower field of view. But, the good news is this smaller sensor magnifies my lenses by 1.5 times! Now my 80-400 lens becomes a 120-600mm. Also, to gain even more distance, I added a 1.4 converter which extends the lens even further. Now it's comparable to an 840mm. Why is this significant? The average eyes see around 50mm!

Now, I could photograph the cannons. After many tries I got it. For me, this photo will always be #1!

Did you agree with my top 10 list? Would you have chosen other photos? Please let me know.

Thank you for reading. Blog # 25 will be posted in July 2020. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) "Battle of Stony Point" "George Washington" "Washington American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Monmouth Battle of Trenton British Army Crossing" Crown Forces Delaware River Nikon photography Reenactments s the British Brigade The Continental Line Trenton Barracks https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/6/my-top-10-american-revolution-reenactment-photos-numbers-1-5 Mon, 01 Jun 2020 05:01:00 GMT
My Top 10 American Revolution Reenactment Photos-Numbers 6-10 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/5/my-top-10-american-revolution-reenactment-photos-numbers-6-10 Every April, I look forward to enjoying  Major League baseball & photographing American Revolution reenactments. Unfortunately, both activities are now canceled for the foreseeable future! COVID 19 has changed everything! Who knows when life will get back to normal?

Something positive has happened during this terrible time; people are reconnecting more with family & friends remotely. Me too. One reenactment friend Olga Leake, who I interviewed for a blog in January 2019, suggested: "Maybe you can do a compilation of your “greatest ” to entertain the “troops” until we get kicking again? Could make for an interesting blog!" I thought what a great idea!

I do have many photos to choose from. A brief history about me; I've been photographing American Revolution reenactments since 2007. My web site has over 7,300 photos. My first step in this endeavor was to review all my many galleries and self-critique my photos. A daunting task. I initially selected 41 of my best photos. Some I knew immediately would make the list; others I would need time to mull over.

The photos I selected aren't all necessarily technically perfect but are the ones that have personal significance for me. In every one of these images, I remember all the details of where and how they were composed. For this blog, I'll discuss #10 to#6. Next month I'll list my top 5.

#10

This photo originally was not in my top 10 list. I changed my mind after reviewing it a few times.  It was taken at Valley Forge's March-In event in December 2017. The temperature was extremely cold with snow on the ground, just like in 1776. There was an unoccupied hut in the Muhlenberg Brigade area of 9 log cabins. I peered inside and saw a few muskets stacked and the fire was blazing. Knew this would make a great photo. I dropped to 1 knee and raised my external flash in my left hand as high as possible. And with just my right hand on my camera took numerous photos. Luckily I captured this one.

# 9

Colonial Williamsburg is my favorite place to take photographs. I mentioned this in the 2014 gallery when the photo below was taken.

ONE DAY IN WILLIAMSBURG REFLECTING!
My goal for the last decade has been to visit Colonial Williamsburg at least once a year! Unfortunately, that hasn't always happened. For me, this is the place I go to relax and get away from everyday stresses. I get to stroll around the town that so many of our Founding Fathers developed their political thoughts. It’s amazing that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, etc. walked these same streets. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin visited here as postmaster twice in 1756 & 1763? William & Mary awarded him an honorary MA degree in 1756.

It was early in the morning when I was walking around streets near the Capital. Behind a house was a storage building with a ladder hooked on its side. Looking closer I imagined the windows as eyes and the ladder a mouth. Knew I had a photo opportunity. Later, I cropped it to appear like a face. This photo still makes me smile!

# 8

I'm almost always able to capture at least 1 good flash photo at any event that has a firing cannon. My web site has many excellent photos to choose from. But, this one is my favorite.

It was taken at the Retreat at Ft Lee event in 2017. The day was perfect; it was late afternoon in December so the light was ideal. The orange blast in this shot just pops. Plus, what makes this photo interesting is that the cannon vent spark is so high. Immediately afterward, I shared this in-camera shot with the cannon crew & photo friends next to me. Knew I had a good one.

# 7

Sometimes when taking a photo everything is just perfect. The light is exquisite, subject engaged, colors are exemplary, and a background that is ideal! That is what happened with this photo from the Focus on Women & Civilian Contributions at the Valley Forge in 2019. It was a late afternoon, a perfect time to take a photo. This reenactor was standing against the side of a log cabin holding his musket. Other folks were taking his photo at the same time. He saw me, posed, and provided the perfect grin. Simple. That's why I think it's one of my best photos.

#6

Battle reenactments are loud. When the reenactors fire their musket volleys in unison your ears hurt. Add cannons, especially in close quarters, it's painful! That's what happened in the photo below. It was taken at the Iron Works Hill, Mount Holly, NJ, event in 2011. The canon was firing in the town's main street and when it went off the echo was deafening! It was the loudest cannon I can remember. The British reenactors' expressions show their pain!

I miss this event. It hasn't occurred for many years. There is a great NY style pizza shop downtown where I want to eat again.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 24 will be posted in June 2020. Then I'll reveal my top 5 photos. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army cannon Colonial Williamsburg Crown Forces Ft Lee George Washington Iron Work Hill Mt. Holly Muhlenberg Brigade musket firing New Jersey NJ Pennsylvania photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Top 10 List Valley Forge https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/5/my-top-10-american-revolution-reenactment-photos-numbers-6-10 Fri, 01 May 2020 05:00:00 GMT
Jockey Hollow-Morristown National Historical Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/4/jockey-hollow-morristown-national-historical-park

Most everyone has heard of George Washington's winter encampment of his army in 1777-78 at Valley Forge PA. Because of Prussian volunteer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben (great name) creating a standard method of drills for the entire army it is famous for being the birthplace of the American Army. But have you heard of the encampment at Jockey Hollow, around Morristown, NJ, in 1779-80? It was called the "The Hard Winter"; the most severe known in early America! How bad was it?

This winter produced 26 snowstorms with 6 of them being blizzards! There were snowdrifts over 6 feet & the temperatures were only above freezing a few days. BURRRRRRRRRRR. In the Valley Forge winter encampment of 1777-8, there were over 1.400 deaths. At Jockey Hollow, amazingly under 100 perished. Why? The camp layout and hut construction had improved since Valley Forge. The soldiers lived in less damp conditions and did properly take care of camp sanitation, resulting in less sickness and death.

Where is Jockey Hollow? It is located in Morristown, NJ about 30 miles from New York City. George Washington used this site twice for winter encampments, December 1779-June 1780 & November 1780-January 1781. Around mid-April is the annual encampment weekend. Unfortunately, the event had to be canceled this year because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Wait until next year.

In 2015, I  posted the cover/page/overview of a book aimed at middle schoolers entitled Jockey Hollow-Where a Forgotten Army Persevered to Win America's Freedom by Rosalie Lauerman. Three of my photos are featured in the book.

Some fun photos from recent encampments below.

Below is Henry Wick's house built in 1750. His farm called Jockey Hollow consisted of over 1,400 acres much of it timber. He was also the Captain of the Morris County Cavalry. It was the ideal location to house the army plus it was a mountainous range. It would be a difficult location for the British to attack. The timber from his farm was what was used to build the huts.

Replica of a soldier's cabin in the visitor center.

Six miles away in Morristown, NJ is the Washington Headquarter's Museum (above) & Ford's Mansion, a Georgian style home, where Washington stayed during the encampments. Visit this national treasure; it's a special & historic place!

Thanks for reading. Blog # 23 will be posted in May 2020.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Baron Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben encampment Ford's Mansion George Washington Headquarter's Henry Wick's house Jockey Hollow" Morristown Museum" National Park Service New Jersey Reenactments Rosalie Lauerman The Continental Line Valley Forge https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/4/jockey-hollow-morristown-national-historical-park Wed, 01 Apr 2020 07:00:00 GMT
Founding Father-James Wilson https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/3/founding-father-james-wilson Recently, I've been fascinated with learning more about the creation of the US Constitution. Besides visiting the outstanding National Constitution Center museum in Philadelphia, I've read 2 excellent older books on this subject, the US Constitution, Miracle at Philadelphia, 1966 by Catherine Drinker Bowen & Genius of the People, 1987 by Charles L. Mee Jr.

James Madison & Alexander Hamilton are usually the leading founding fathers mentioned in the creation of the US Consitution. But, have you ever heard of James Wilson? Probably not, most people haven't. He is credited with being the second most influential statesman at the Constitutional Convention! Only James Madison is more important. Wilson addressed the Convention 168 times! He also signed the Declaration of Independence. So why is he not remembered today?

Life-size, bronze statue of James Wilson at the National Constitution Center

James Wilson's legacy reminds me of another founding father I did a book review on a few years ago, Richard Henry Lee of VA. Both men in the 1970’s Broadway play/film 1776, about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, were depicted horribly. Lee was described as a buffoon. And Wilson as a sycophant of John Dickerson. He wasn't indecisive as implied but instead following the wishes of his conservative Pennsylvania constituents.

Wilson Wilson was originally from Scotland and studied at numerous universities without receiving a degree. After immigrating to British America in 1766, he began tutoring & teaching at the College of Philadelphia (now the University of PA). Shortly afterward, he studied law under John Dickerson for 2 years. He passed the bar and began practicing law in Reading, Carlisle & Annapolis.  In 1771, he married Rachel Bird and eventually had 6 children.

In 1774 Wilson wrote  an influential  essay titled "Considerations on the Nature and Extent of the Legislative Authority of the British Government".  This document challenges the authority Parliament has over the colonies. During the American Revolution Wilson & his family moved to Philadelphia. He later became the main author of Pennsylvania's new constitution.

 

After winning American independence Wilson became the University of Pennsylvania's first law professor and founder of the Penn Law School. But, his later years were difficult. After his first wife dies, he married again and had another child. But, his economic ruin occurred because of his unwise land speculation. For a brief period, he was imprisoned in the debtor's prison and had moved to NC to avoid creditors. There is where he died of malaria and buried in 1798. In 1906 he was reinterred at Christ Church in Philadelphia.

James Wilson's Gravesite at Christ's Church in Philadelphia

Thanks for reading. Blog # 22 will be posted in April 2020.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) 1776 Alexander Hamilton American History American Revolution Christ Church Constitutional Convention Declaration of Independence Dickerson" Founding Fathers James Madison James Wilson John National Constitution Center Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania's first law professor US Constitution https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/3/founding-father-james-wilson Thu, 05 Mar 2020 19:24:07 GMT
Photography Friends https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/2/photography-friends A first for this blog, none of the photos were taken by me at a reenactment. Instead, they are recent photos of me from my photo friends.

One of the many great reasons for me photographing American Revolution reenactments is developing friendships with reenactors and fellow photographers who all have similar interests. To have fun, we photographers regularly like to photograph each other and then share. We generally do this for 2 reasons. The first is to show us in action, like the photos below.

The other is when we're waiting for the action to start. We're bored! At each reenactment event, there is a prime location to photograph. So we have to claim our spot early so that means we have to wait...and wait some more. These images show the boredom...and that I'm getting older.

Photo of me in action by fellow photographer Al Pochek! Obviously waiting for the right shot.

The photo below shows us waiting and chatting!

Sometimes we're not the subject; we're in the background.

I appreciate my photo friends. When we're together we talk shop. Either it's about what our cameras are doing/not doing something or where would be the best location to photograph.

Thanks to them for wonderful times!

Thanks for reading. Blog # 21 will be posted in March 2020.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Trenton British Army cameras Crown Forces photography photography friends Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line waiting Washington's Crossing https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/2/photography-friends Tue, 04 Feb 2020 18:21:24 GMT
American Revolution Photos-2019 Recap https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/1/american-revolution-photos-2019-recap For this blog, I'm going to review and comment on the 9 American Revolution reenactments I've photographed in 2019, visiting a historic site and participating in a reenactment wedding. It's been quite an exciting year! 

As a photographer, our goal is to try to make our photos interesting & unique. After reviewing last year's portfolio I incorporated more new ideas & techniques into my photography. Many more images now have blur, motion, combining photos together, panoramas & an occasional video than in previous years. Also, my photos weren't all posted 8 x 12.

This is my favorite image of 2019, photographed at Washington's Crossing practice event. It's George Washington, viewing the Delaware River through his spyglass. I believe the reflection is what makes this photo so special.

For me, having motion & blur in a photo enhances it further. Here are 2 examples from the Battle of Germantown reenactment.

The photo below from the Battle of Newtown reenactment was not planned. As I was reviewing my photos I noticed unconsciously photographing both sides of this reenactor's war-painted face. Combing these 2 photos together is a stronger image than separately. Photographers are lucky sometimes too!

I enjoy incorporating panoramas in my galleries. They provide a broad perspective of the event & scene. Usually, I'll stitch between 3-5 photos together in photoshop. Below is from Ft Mifflin. It shows the size & scope of this magnificent historical fort.

The highlight of the year was visiting the Fort Boonesborough replica site & photographing the reenactment wedding in KY.

I added a few more videos than in previous years. This is an area I need to develop further. A video provides a quick overview of a reenactment, especially a battle. Here is an example from the Battle of Germantown.

After reviewing my portfolio from last year I'm pleased. I experimented and tried new techniques that overall has made my photography better. Looking forward to 2020. Here is a sampling of some of my favorite photos of 2019.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 20will be posted in February 2020.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Newtown British Army Crown Forces Fort Boonesborough Ft Mifflin George Washington Philadelphia photography reenactment wedding Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Washington's Crossing https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2020/1/american-revolution-photos-2019-recap Wed, 08 Jan 2020 18:00:59 GMT
PhotoPlus Expo 2019 in NYC https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/12/photoplus-expo-2019-in-nyc This blog will be different than all my others! The previous 17 all focused on some aspect of the American Revolution. Not this time. Recently, I attended the PhotoPlus Expo at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan on Saturday, October 26. It's probably been over 5 years, don't remember exactly, since I last attended? I'm originally from Long Island so it felt good to be back in the "city". So what is the PhotoPlus Expo?

Beginning in 1983, it's the largest photography and imaging event in North America. There are over 200 exhibitors and brands displaying thousands of the latest equipment, products, and services. Most of the major camera companies are represented. Think of this expo as Disneyland for photographers!

I knew this would be a long trip because it involved taking both the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) & NJ Transit trains from the Philly suburbs. The earliest first SEPTA train to the beautiful 30th Street Station was at 5:30 am.  I'm used to the commute. Every weekday I take the train to work.

From 30th Street to Trenton, NJ.

Once at the Trenton Transit Center, I boarded the double-decker train to the NY PENN station, about a 2-hour trip. When closer to Manhattan the train became packed.

It was about 10 blocks to the Javitts Center. I arrived around Noon.

It took only a few minutes to activate my registration. Once inside, I was immediately immersed in photography-related products and award-winning photographs displayed everywhere. My first stop was the Nikon booth near the front entrance. I've always had Nikon SLR cameras & I'm in the market in purchasing a new one hopefully soon. Oh, if money wasn't a concern! So many great cameras, lenses, & accessories to choose from. This hobby can get very expensive. How much do those big lenses that photographers use at sporting events cost? Easily, over $10,000!

I walked the hall to view the different vendors; it was less crowded than I remember. At the Skink Ink Fine Art Printing booth they had a promotion for a complimentary 8 x 10 print. Fantastic, I believed the photo below photographed at the recent Battle of Germantown 2019 reenactment would look great printed/framed. Thank you Skink Ink Fine Art Printing!

Because of smartphones, folks today have fewer printed photos than in years past. Print, frame & mount your photos; they have so much more impact.

After staying for about 4 hours it was time to go home. Reviewing all the vendor's literature made the trip feel quicker. Next year try to attend the PhotoPlus Expo. For photographers, it's a wonderful day to review & compare products plus dream!

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for reading. Blog # 19 will be posted in January 2020.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Germantown Battle of Germantown Reenactment Javits Convention Center Manhattan NYC PhotoPlus SLR https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/12/photoplus-expo-2019-in-nyc Mon, 09 Dec 2019 20:20:13 GMT
The Battle of Germantown Reenactment https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/11/the-battle-of-germantown-reenactment Ever heard of The Cliveden House in Germantown, PA? It was built between 1763 to 1767 as the summer home for Benjamin Chew and his family. It played a pivotal role in the outcome of the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777.

Washington was desperate for a battle victory after the catastrophic defeats at the Battle of BrandywinePaoli & the British capturing Philadelphia in September 1777. He was hoping, with his larger army, to strike Howe and smaller force at his Germantown headquarters. 

The battle started well for Washington but eventually, everything went wrong. His battle plan was too complicated, plus darkness and a heavy fog caused a considerable amount of troop confusion. And that house!

 

About 120 soldiers of the British 40th Regiment of Foot barracked & fortified themselves in the stone house. It could have been bypassed. But, General Henry Knox was reluctant to have British troops in the house as his troops advanced. So the Continentals charged and charged again at the defenders. About 70 Americans attackers were killed; they never captured the house!

Painting of the Chew House in the battle.

 

That original house is still standing. Amazing! You can see the bullet holes and indentions left by American cannonballs near the front door of the home. This event is one of the most unique American Revolution reenactment I attend.

It's held the first Saturday in October, commemorating the actual battle on October 4, 1777. I've attended this event since 2008. This year I arrived around 8:30 am when vendors & staff were setting up. It was a beautiful fall being sunny & seasonably mild. I immediately found Don Mehaldo-sutler who I interviewed for the August 2019 blog to say hello. Then I found my photography friends and walked the grounds.

This event is a festival. The streets surrounding the house are closed.

Besides the 2 reenactments, there are historical lectures, children's activities, food vendors, house tours, sutlers (merchants), and even a beer garden. Something for everyone.

Because of the large crowd size, I have to change my focus spot for the morning and afternoon reenactments. At the first battle I chose to be outside the main gate to the house. This is where the fighting in the street starts. Eventually the British retreat and the Continental troops advance through the gate & retreat to inside the house. After all the reenactors are all inside the gate, then the spectators can enter and find an open spot in the allowed area. By this time it's hard to find a good photography vantage point.

For the 2nd battle I sit in the area reserved for media. It's close to the house where I get great photos of the Continental troops attacking the house. Always get excellent photos from this spot.

Always a fun day! This is a must-see reenactment event!

FUN FACT: Lieutenant John Marshall of the Virginia Line, the future Chief Justice of the United States, who was wounded during the attack.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 18 will be posted in December, 2019.

Ken Bohrer

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/11/the-battle-of-germantown-reenactment Mon, 11 Nov 2019 17:22:34 GMT
Attending the Battle of Newtown Reenactment again https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/10/attending-the-battle-of-newtown-reenactment-again I haven't attended the Battle of Newtown reenactment in Elmira, NY since 2010. Hard to believe it's been that long! One reason is that the event hasn't been held in years. So I was excited to attend again the weekend of August 24 & 25. My photo galleries from my 2 previous Newtown events in 2010 and 2009 have accumulated the second & fourth most number of web site visitors on my site American RevolutionPhotos.com!

 

This event is to commemorate General John Sullivan's major battle victory over British Loyalists/Six Nations tribes, as part of the Sullivan Expedition, in August 1779. This campaign was ordered by George Washington to destroy towns & crops of the Six Nations that were terrorizing settlers in upstate New York & western Pennsylvania regions.

My GPS stated it would take 3 1/2 hours to drive from Media, PA to Newtown. I left early, around 6:45 am., selecting the major highways to save time. Unfortunately, this was the wrong choice! Highway 81 was closed about 25 miles from Binghamton, NY. A tractor-trailer flipped over causing everyone to exit in a small rural town that became overwhelmed with traffic. I arrived in Newtown almost 2 hours late, after 12 pm.

For the afternoon I visited the American/British and Indian camps. Late in the day was a reenactment in the woods close to the Indian village. But it was difficult to get many good photos with the reenactors skirmishing in the thick woods.

Around 4:00 pm I was tired; it had been a long day. I had researched what restaurant in the area to eat and chose one off the beaten path, the Maple Lawn Dairy Restaurant. It was a pleasant meal and the waitress provided me with directions to my hotel. I now try to eat at local restaurants on my photo trips. When I arrived at the hotel I crashed.

I was up early on Sunday morning. Had breakfast and arrived at Newtown around 8:30 am. When I first arrived the fog covered the area.

After taking the photo above I noticed 2 reenactors near the Newtown Battlefield Monument. Knew it would make a good photograph.

Early in the morning was the church service.  For Sunday reenactment events I'll try to attend. It's good for the soul.
 
Later in the morning was a new British soldier induction ceremony. Best wishes!
 
 
My favorite event was the woods walk. Continental soldiers escorting refugees through enemy territory.
 

Late in the day was the reenactment battle. It was fun because the action was nonstop; on both sides of the road.

Need to be careful in the woods!

Thanks for reading. Blog # 17 will be posted in November 2019.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Newtown British Army Crown Forces John Sullivan photography Reenactments the British Brigade https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/10/attending-the-battle-of-newtown-reenactment-again Thu, 03 Oct 2019 20:26:22 GMT
Interview with Bryn Kelley-Bride https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/9/interview-with-bryn-kelley-bride  

In my June Reenactment Wedding & July Locust Grove Encampment & Wedding/Reception blogs I described the American Revolution reenactment wedding that I was privileged to photograph in late April at Locust Grove in Louisville, KY. It was a fantastic experience to be part of Bryn Kelley's and Greg Hudson's special day!

Contentment!

I had asked Bryn to be interviewed for a future blog before the wedding. She gladly accepted. I knew this event would make for a great interview.

Interview with Bride Bryn Kelley-

BEFORE THE WEDDING

1) How long have you & your husband become active in American Revolution reenacting?

We have 38 years combined experience. My husband was born into the hobby, so he has been doing this for 31 years. I, on the other hand, have been reenacting for about 7 years.

2) How many events do you attend yearly? Do you have a favorite?

We typically attend seven or eight events a year. One of our favorites is definitely the Spring Encampment at Locust Grove, where we were married this year; another favorite is the Vermillion Valley Encampment at Forest Glen Nature Preserve in Illinois.

3) When did you decide to have a reenactment wedding?

From the minute we knew we were getting married we knew it would be a reenactment wedding, it just seemed perfect. Reenacting is how we met and has been important in many big steps in our relationship.

The beautiful bride on her day.

4) What was your families & friends reaction to this idea?

Admittely, most of our friends who were not reenactors were a little confused. Once we explained it, they thought it was really unique and exciting. Our friends who do reenact were very excited to see what we were going to do with our wedding. Our family thought it was a lot of fun and enjoyed putting together their outfits.

5) How long did the wedding preparation take?

The wedding planning took roughly 14 months.

Proud Father-Law!

AFTER THE WEDDING

1) How was your wedding day?

It was wonderful and exhausting. It meant so much to have people there who love us.

2) Did everything go as planned?

While weddings never go as planned and it rained, it all made for fond memories

3) Would you have planned anything differently?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cutting the Wedding Cake.

4) What was overall reaction afterwards from your family/attendees?

Everyone was tired but had a really good time, they were all very happy for us and excited that they got to partake in the celebration.

5) If another couple was planning a reenactment wedding what advice would you give?

Hire a day of coordinator that is not family. We didn’t and it would have been nice to have.

The Wedding Ceremony.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 16 will be posted in October 2019.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American Clark George Grove History KY Locust Louisville photography reenactment reenactments Revolution Rogers The North West Territory Alliance (NWTA) wedding https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/9/interview-with-bryn-kelley-bride Tue, 03 Sep 2019 13:09:19 GMT
Interview with Ron Mehalko-Sutler https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/8/interview-with-ron-mehalko-sutler What is a sutler? Ever heard of the word before? From the Oxford English Dictionary, it means "a person who followed an army and sold provisions to the soldiers." At many American Revolution reenactment events, besides being exposed to army camp life and battle reenactments, you will find merchants selling their merchandise. Some cater to reenactors and others such as Ron Mehalko founder of Revolution Wear focus mostly to spectators.

I've known Ron since I started photographing American Revolution reenactments. I believe we met at a Battle of Monmouth event? He was setting up his table early in the morning. I introduced myself and mentioned being a photographer. Since then at different events I would always visit & say hello.

Ron's  spot at the recent Battle of Monmouth reenactment!

I asked Ron to be interviewed a few months ago. He graciously agreed. To fully appreciate the reenactment experience spectators should wander around the merchant's tables. You'll always discover interesting items/souvenirs.

Interview with Ron Mehalko of Revolution Wear-

1) How long have you been a sutler (merchant) at American Revolution events?

I actually started out selling wholesale to Revolutionary Historic Sites and then pursed the idea of also selling retail at reenactments? Attended my first reenactment in the spring of 2002. It was a tough start but was able to convince those in charge and other participants that what I wanted to do was a good fit.

2) How did you create Revolution Wear and start your business?

I started thinking about the number of historic sites I visit and how disappointed I always was in what was offered for sale in the gift shops. I thought I could provide a better alternate and it seemed to work gauging from the feedback and reorders I received.

Setting up early in the morning!

3) Why did you focus on US colonial history?

My dad gave me a book on Thomas Jefferson and once finished my daughter and I took our first trip to Colonial Williamsburg. After that one visit we were hooked. The Revolution and 18th century culture have been a huge interest of mine ever since. All of this started me on the path to thinking about #2 which lead to #1.

4) How many events do you usually each year?

Typically about 6-8 events each year.

The sutlers area.

5) How do sutlers add to the reenactment experience?

It allows the public to see up close the type of clothing and accompaniments which the soldiers use day to day and for battle. There was always an 18th century solution to all the little problems just as today. I however focus on the history of the revolution using symbols and flags on my apparel as a reference point. I enjoy talking to the visitors about the symbols and how it had an impact on the soldiers and public.

6) Are spectators surprised that vendors particpate in reenactment events?

Not so much surprised but there is a general lack of knowledge of what a sutlers ‘job’ was and how they were a benefit to the soldiers. I often point to the Civil War (which most people seem to have a better grasp of) and how the photographers followed the army to provide a service and I will say we have the same function just different.

Busy with customers!

7) What items do you stock? Which ones sell the best?

My sutlery is very different than all the rest. I do not sell 18th century items which meant Revolution Wear was not readily accepted. But eventually it was which I think was due to everyone seeing that I sold quality merchandise very pertinent to the Revolution, the public was interested in what I sell and had to say and the openness and good will of the other sutlers.

8) Do you create your merchandise designs?

Yes, and no. I started out using flags from the Revolution as the basis of my designs on the hats. That evolved into using the same basic designs on tee shirts and polos. Having the tee shirts as a ‘pallet’ allowed me to expand to new printed designs but still all based on the American Revolution. I have always shied away from altering the symbols and having oversized multi-colored designs as many others offer.

       9) How many of your customers ask you questions about the American Revolution? If yes, what was the most unique question you were asked?

I do get a number of questions, mostly about the symbols which are on the shirts and hats and I always take any opportunity to give an explanation and many times a bit of the back story of the who and why. Most times I have to stop myself from going on and on. To educate the public in any small way has always been a goal of mine and I enjoy it a little too much.

10) How do view the future of American Revolution reenacting?

I am concerned about the future of it all. I see the soldiers getting gray but do not see many younger recruits to take their place. It most likely is not as bad as I see it from standing under my fly as they march by but from what I have heard it is a concern in general.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 15 will be posted in September 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Monmouth Colonial Williamsburg merchant Reenactments Revolutionary Historic Sites sutler the British Brigade https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/8/interview-with-ron-mehalko-sutler Mon, 05 Aug 2019 15:37:04 GMT
Locust Grove Encampment & Wedding/Reception https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/7/locust-grove-encampment-reenactment-wedding In last month's Reenactment Wedding blog post I shared my excitement in photographing a reenactment wedding in KY. For this blog, I'll recap that special day.

I arrived at Locust Grove, the 55-acre 18th century restored farm site, around 9 am on a beautiful spring morning. Many of the reenactors were still setting-up; so I met with them & walked the grounds and outbuildings. Others were preparing breakfast.

The Locust Grove Revolutionary War Encampment is an annual event. The bride and groom met here a few years ago. These reenactors are part of The North West Territory Alliance (NWTA). This is an American Revolutionary War reenactment organization located in the Midwest. 

The day was for the public to meet & greet with the soldiers and camp followers. Later in the day, there was a solemn salute at the cemetery for the Locust Grove descendants and a tribute for a recent reenactor's death.  In the late afternoon was a small tactical demonstration.

Below is Lieutenant Greg Hudson (groom) of the Illinois Regiment of the Virginian State line.

The weather was perfect ...until about 2 hours before the wedding. Later in the afternoon, it got cloudy and then a light shower started. The ceremony was delayed for almost an hour. The wedding commenced Around 5:30 pm outside in front of the house.

The beautiful bride and her parents!

The wedding Ceremony.

The bride/groom plus bridesmaids/groomsmen and their children.

Outside reception & wedding cake.

And of course some dancing after dinner!

 

Thanks for reading! Blog # 14 will be posted in August 2019.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments George Rogers Clark KY Locust Grove Locust Grove Revolutionary War Encampment Louisville photography reenactment wedding Reenactments The North West Territory Alliance (NWTA) wedding https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/7/locust-grove-encampment-reenactment-wedding Mon, 08 Jul 2019 20:30:40 GMT
Reenactment Wedding https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/6/reenactment-wedding Photographers want to tell a story with pictures. When sharing my photos with the public, I'm hoping to instill an appreciation & understanding of soldiers/camp life during the American Revolution. That has always been my goal in photographing American Revolution reenactments!

On my web site Americanrevolutionphotos.com, I have over 16,000 visitors with over 6,500 images posted. The comments about my site have been overwhelmingly positive. One e-mail that I received, in late December 2017, was the beginning of an extraordinary adventure that I will never forget!

The e-mail was sent from the mother of a bride to be from the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Her daughter was getting married in April 2019 at a historic home in Louisville, KY. Would I be interested in photographing a reenactment wedding? Wow.

Everyone at this wedding including the bridal party & guests would be in colonial attire. The event would be held at Locust Grove, a 55-acre 18th century restored farm site. This 2 stories Georgian brick house was the last residence of famous General George Rogers Clark. From this trip, I learned that Clark founded the City of Louisville. Did you know?

The wedding would be held on the same day as a Revolutionary War Encampment event that was open to the public. Shortly after the encampment ended, around 4pm would be the ceremony. Immediately afterward would be the reception with everyone in the back of the house. I was upfront about never photographing a wedding before. Then I asked how did they find me?

They were looking for a photographer who was familiar with and understood reenactments. After searching numerous web sites and I was selected. What an honor to be asked to photograph, such an important event, a couple's wedding!

I knew that this experience could be a once in a lifetime. It was one of the easiest yes decisions I've made in my life. After the arrangements were finalized, I had over 1 year to prepare for the trip. In next month's blog, I'll describe the encampment & wedding experience.

Thanks for reading! Blog # 13 will be posted in July 2019.

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments George Rogers Clark KY Locust Grove Louisville photography reenactment wedding Reenactments wedding https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/6/reenactment-wedding Fri, 07 Jun 2019 17:30:30 GMT
Visiting Fort Boonesborough https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/5/visiting-fort-boonesborough I’m a baby boomer. My favorite TV program in the 1960s was Daniel Boone, starring Fess Parker. The show was about Boone and his family in KY during the American Revolution. He had led a group of settlers through the Cumberland Gap in 1775 and established Ft Boonesborough. At the time it was one of the earliest English settlements west of the Appalachian Mountains.

The 6- year long running hour-long series was set in the 1770s and 1780s. As a young fan, I didn’t wear a coonskin cap like Parker but instead played with a Kentucky rifle cap gun.

Since I live in the Philly metro area I've had the opportunity to visit the Daniel Boone Homestead, where he was born. It's located in Birdsboro, PA, a short distance from Reading, PA. Amazingly, many years ago I visited The Historic Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, MO when living in the St. Louis area. Boone moved here in 1799 and died at 85 in 1820. Why did I travel to KY for the first time and visit Fort Boonesborough? That's an amazing story for next month's blog.

So I was excited to visit the restored fort, that is part of the KY State Parks system. When I arrived on Friday, 10AM it was a cold rainy morning. Immediately, after seeing the fort I recalled fond childhood memories watching the TV show.  I gathered my camera equipment and proceded to the main entrance. You can't miss the large Fort Boonesborough Monument close to the entrance. The inscription reads

  • Dedicated by Their Descendents to the Sacred Memory of the Brave Pioneers who Entered the Wilderness of what Later became Kentucky and   Formed the Settlement known as Boonesborough, First Fortified Settlement in Kentucky. We Honor These, Among the First Families of Kentucky.

After paying a nominal admission fee it was suggested I watch a short film in the orientation center. Then I strolled in the fort taking pictures. Eventually, visited the interpreters in the cabins. One retired schoolteacher, who started 2 weeks ago, was learning how to make candles.

So is this the original fort? No. But, in 1974, a reconstruction of the historic fort was dedicated. It's located on higher ground than the original structure and it is made up of 10,000 southern yellow pine logs.

The original Fort Boonesborough site is located in the park and a short distance from the Kentucky River.

It was so much fun to reminisce! I hope to return and experience the annual battle reenactment of the 1778 Siege of Boonesborough held in late September. The event commemorates the 1778 attack on the fort by Native Americans and French Canadians during the Revolutionary War.
 
FUN FACT: Daniel Boone was a waggoner at the infamous Braddock’s Defeat in 1755. George Washington, Second in Command, gained fame in this battle by leading an organized retreat after the British Commander General Edward Braddock was fatally wounded in the ambush.

Thanks for reading! Blog # 12 will be posted in June 2019.

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Daniel Boone Daniel Boone TV Show Fess Parker Fort Boonesborough KY https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/5/visiting-fort-boonesborough Wed, 15 May 2019 16:26:54 GMT
Founding Father from Williamsburg, VA https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/4/founding-father-from-williamsburg-va Which founding father was the mentor/teacher to Thomas Jefferson & was probably murdered by his 18-year-old grand-nephew? Need another hint? His home in Williamsburg,VA was headquarters for George Washington during the siege of Yorktown in the fall of 1781. 

That would be George Wythe one of the most highly respected & leading statesmen in the Revolutionary era! Here are some amazing facts about him.

In the 12x18 foot painting of the Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull displayed in the US Capitol rotunda George Wythe is partially visable in the painting.

Always in my regular visits to Colonial Williamsburg, read blog# 3 www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/9/my-colonial-williamsburg-experience, I'll always stroll around the palace green in front of the Governor's Palace. The palace green is 9o0 feet long lined on both sides by southern catalpa trees, just like it was in the 18th century. On the left, almost in the middle of the street is the Wythe House, a 2 story 1:2 ratio brick building. It's considered by many to be the most handsome colonial home in Williamsburg.

 

George Wythe's house porcelain collectable

 

Wythe's most prominent law student was Thomas Jefferson. He lived in his home for 5 years from 1760. Jefferson wrote about his mentor

"No man ever left behind him a character more venerated than George Wythe. His virtue was the purest tint; his integrity inflexible, and his justice exact; of warm patriotism, and devoted as he was to liberty, and the natural and equal rights of man, he might truly be called the Cato of his country...(He was) my faithful and beloved Mentor in youth, and my most affectionate friend through life."

In 1780 the capital moved from Williamsburg to Richmond. After Wythe's wife's death in 1791, he accepted an appointment as Judge of VA's Court of Chancery in the new capital.

His death a few years later in 1806 at age 80 was tragic. His 18-year-old grand nephew George Wythe Sweeney, who was living with Wythe at the time, was suspected of poisoning him. He had already committed several capital crimes. Concerned that Wythe's had bequeathed generous amounts to his former slaves, Sweeney is thought to have added arsenic to possibly coffee or strawberries. One former slave died quickly, Wythe after 2 weeks and the other former slave survived. Sweeney was brought to trial but was acquitted because of only circumstantial evidence against him. Wythe's buried in St. John's Episcopal Church churchyard in Richmond. His funeral was the largest in VA at that time.

When you visit Colonial Williamsburg definitely visit his historic house!

Thanks for reading! Blog # 11 will be posted in May 2019.

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution Dr. Benjamin Rush Reenactments Thomas Jefferson VA Williamsburg https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/4/founding-father-from-williamsburg-va Wed, 03 Apr 2019 16:38:06 GMT
United States Capitals https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/3/united-states-capitals Washington D.C. became the U.S. Capital on July 16, 1790. How many other capitals has the U.S. had?  Difficult question, right? Thought of an answer? The number is 8. Okay, now can you name them?

Most of us would know Philadelphia and maybe New York City. Then it becomes difficult. Here' the list.

 

  1) Philadelphia, PA                                                               5) Princeton, NJ

   2) Baltimore, MD                                                                 6) Annapolis, MD

3) Lancaster, PA                                                                   7) Trenton, NJ 

   4) York, PA                                                                            8) New York City

How many did you know?

During the American Revolution, I learned in my grade school history classes that the Continental Congress had to skedaddle out of Philadelphia from the advancing British Army periodically. So when & where did they go? I didn't remember?

It couldn't be too far? Right? Travel was difficult in the 18th century especially on horseback with few & terrible roads. For this blog, I decided to focus on the capitols during the American Revolution period from 1776-1783.

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, in the Pennsylvania State House, now called Independence Hall, declaring independence from Great Britain. The Continental Congress then became the new government for the 13 American colonies.

At the end of 1776, the British Army was threatening Philadelphia.  The Continental Congress members needed to flee on December 12, 1776, about 100 miles away to Baltimore, MD. The delegates chose Henry Fite's 3 story brick home/tavern, one of the largest homes in the area far enough away from possible British Navy bombardment. The delegates stayed until February 27, 1777.  Below is a sketch of the building that was destroyed by fire in 1904.

 

With the British threat over the Continental Congress delegates reconvened at Independence Hall on March 4, 1777. Their reprieve didn't last long. After Washington's disastrous defeat at the Battle of Brandywine once again the delegates had to flee Philadelphia on September 11, 1777.

This time to Lancaster's County Courthouse in York, PA  65 miles away west on September 27, 1777 for 1 day. Yes, it was capital for only 1 day! I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for the delegates. They were virtually fleeing for their lives. If caught, they were considered traitors and would have been hung!

Seeking a more secure location the delegates fled 25 miles west of Lancaster, PA to the York County Court House in York, PA on September 30, 1777, where they convened until  June 27, 1778. Below is a stock photo of the restored Colonial Courthouse in York, PA.

 

 

Once the British Army evacuated Philadelphia on June 18, 1778 for New York City the Continental Congress returned to Philadelphia. They found the conditions in Independence Hall deplorable. So it was decided to move to Philadelphia College, now The University of Pennsylvania, and convene from July 2, 1778, to July 20, 1778. The college in the 18th century was located at 4th & Arch Street. They gathered there for about 3 weeks until Independence Hall could be repaired. Once Independence Hall was  habitable the Continental Congress met here until June 21, 1783.

Even after the Victory at Yorktown, VA, essentially ending the American Revolution, the delegates had to flee once again. This time it wasn't the British Army invading Philadelphia but the disgruntled Continental Army demanding back pay. The delegates fled 40 miles northeast to Nassau Hall at the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) on June 30, 1783, until November 4, 1783. Isn't it amazing that the Continental Congress wasn't captured by the British Army during these years? What a remarkable story!

 

Thanks for reading! Blog # 10 will be posted in April 2019.

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) PA American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Continental Congress Independence Hall Lancaster PA Nassau Hall Philadelphia Princeton Princeton University Reenactments US Capitols York https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/3/united-states-capitals Sat, 16 Mar 2019 15:32:27 GMT
Dr. Benjamin Rush from Philadelphia, PA https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/2/dr-benjamin-rush-from-philadelphia-pa  

Before reading Harlow Giles Unger’s wonderful book, Dr. Benjamin Rush-The Founding Father Who Healed A Wounded Nation, I knew very little about Dr. Rush. Sure I had read that he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and had convinced the retired John Adams & Thomas Jefferson to renew their written correspondence after many years of being bitter rivals. Rush was friends with both men. He met them when they were all members of the First Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia in 1775.

 

The author proceeds to describe all his many of Rush’s accomplishments and why he should be remembered today. Here are some of his many achievements

•          Doctored to the poor in the Philadelphia slums; even during the smallpox epidemics

•          Only MD to sign the Declaration of Independence

•          Father of American Psychiatry & Veterinary Science

•          First Professor of Chemistry in America

•          Helped organize the first anti-slavery society in America

•          Suggested the title for Thomas Paine’s classic text, Common Sense

•          Known for his efforts to reform care given to the mentally ill

•          Opposed the evil effects of tobacco and alcohol

•          Founded Dickerson & Franklin colleges

•          Helped Meriwether Lewis prepare for the Lewis and Clark Expedition

 
After reading Harlow Giles Unger’s book I now knew more about Dr. Rush. Living in the Philadelphia region made it easy to view his historical landmarks.  Just in case there was another government shutdown I visited on Saturday, 2/9. The commute to the city was easy on a blustery, cold, windy, raw day. My first stop was the Christ Church Burial Ground to photograph his tomb, no luck. This cemetery, where Benjamin Franklin is also buried, is closed the months of January & February.

My next stop was The Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank of the United States, part of the Independence National Historical Park, located on Chestnut Street, between 4th and 5th Street. It houses the "People of Independence" exhibit. Below is his portrait.

 

Only a few blocks away from Independence Hall on 3rd & Walnut St. is a garden called the  "Benjamin Rush Garden". This is the site where his home once stood.

Then why is Rush not remembered more favorably today? Maybe because he criticized George Washington, not once but twice, first as military commander and later as President. As Surgeon General of the Continental Army Rush was appalled with the medical treatment the soldiers were receiving early in the war. He complained often to Washington but felt nothing was being done to make conditions better.

Rush angrily wrote a letter to VA Governor Patrick Henry with his concerns. Henry forwarded the letter to Washington. At that time another plot was developing among some Continental Generals to remove Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Even though Rush wasn’t involved in that plot many in the Continental Congress assumed he was. He had no choice but to resign.

When Washington was President Rush also criticized him for some of his executive decisions. In hindsight, probably not a good idea to question the universally revered Washington?

Rush was not without controversy though. He believed in bloodletting, to the point of being obsessive. This is a process of withdrawing blood to help heal an illness or disease. It was a common medical practice for over 2,000 years. Rush administered this procedure to all his patients, no matter the ailment. But this procedure was becoming controversial.  During the yellow fever epidemics in the 1790s, it destroyed his reputation & medical practice. President Adams helped during this difficult period by appointing him Treasurer of the Mint. Rush was able to continue in medicine for the rest of his career when in 1791 became Professor of Medical Theory and Clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Thanks for reading! Blog # 9 will be posted in March 2019.

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) Independence National Historical Park American History American Revolution bloodletting Christ Church Burial Ground Declaration of Independence Dr. Benjamin Rush Founding Father John Adams Philadelphia Rush's Garden The Portrait Gallery Thomas Jefferson Thomas Paine https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/2/dr-benjamin-rush-from-philadelphia-pa Mon, 18 Feb 2019 17:36:56 GMT
Interview with Continental Soldier Olga Leake https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/1/interview-with-continental-soldier-olga-leake During the American Revolution, there are a few examples of women soldiers in the revolutionary army fighting against the British. For some, this happened by virtue of their circumstances; such as the legend of Molly Pitcher. She supposedly attended the cannon of her fallen husband during the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. Research shows she was a composite of 2 women Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley and Margaret Cochran Corbin. Others concealed their sex and joined the army disguised as men.

At all of American Revolution reenactment events, I’ve attended women participate mostly as camp followers (that term was not used in the 18th century). But not all. Some portray soldiers in both the Continental & British regiments. One of these women, Olga Leake, portrays  a Continental soldier in the  3rd PA Regiment. Since I know & photographed her over many years I asked her to be interviewed.

 

Interview with Continental Soldier Olga Leake-

1) How long have you been reenacting?

I’ve been reenacting since 2000.  I had been teaching HS Social Studies to Special Education students and wasn’t interested in history until I had to teach it. Special Ed. Teachers in PA are trained for dealing with the needs of special learners and not in content areas. So it’s a DIY when it comes to subject areas and the Special Ed. Teacher has to be on par with a subject area teacher who went to school for that subject. When I did all the extra work to adequately cover the subject matter for my students, I realized history was pretty cool. In 2000, a student of mine reenacted Civil War with her parents and I thought that was the ultimate in history DIY. Her parents invited me to take part in an event at the Colonial PA Plantation. I was hooked from the start!  

2) What interested you in being a soldier instead of a camp follower?

I actually started out as a camp follower. First in CW, where I did a lot of campfire cooking, then in Rev. War, with a few period tweaks to those CW receipts. There were many times when I was the only female in the unit and doing all the domestic chores. When I would see the men come back from a battle, I found their comradery amazing. But all I was doing was cooking and cleaning. Then I would be all by myself when they went out to battle. I love campfire cooking but talking to a Dutch oven makes for dull conversation. So I took to photography to get closer to the battle. What I saw through the camera lens made me wish I was out there instead of sitting behind the yellow caution tape. After the battle, I would beat it back to camp and the guys would return, where I would hear the guys talk about the battle, the good, the bad and the ugly. All I had to contribute was, “Dinner’s ready.” It made me want a piece of the battle experience and I wanted to feel more a part of the unit by being one of “the boys”, rather than just with “the boys”-literally to be part of the band of brothers. I enjoyed what I was doing as a camp follower, but it was isolating and I wanted to feel the buzz and “see the elephant.”

 

 

3) How did you join the 3rd PA Regiment? Did you consider other units?

It’s a bittersweet story. I had met someone while volunteering at Ft. Mifflin for Seige Weekend 2004. We had started to date in December 2004 and one of our dates was the Crossing, which was my first Rev War event. I thought I’d try Trenton and one of my friends in my CW unit was in the 3rd PA. He sponsored me for Trenton, as I didn’t want to impose on my new date. About two weeks after Trenton, my date suddenly passed away and I decided to stick with Rev War, so it didn’t feel that he was gone so quickly. His passing was bitter, but the 3rd PA was there and I was welcomed with open arms, and it became sweet. I never considered any other unit. Why try something else when you know you’ve found the best! The only thing that took me back a bit, was when I decided to soldier and did the research to find out about the Light Company. I knew I’d better start working out!

4) What was there first reaction when you expressed interest in joining?

There was the positive reaction from the 3rd PA, as they were happy that they were getting someone who was an experienced campfire cook. But my family thought differently. I went from my Mom and Pop saying, “Why you do?”, as they both were WWII vets and emigrated to US in 1951. She was a nurse attached to the Russian Army and he was a POW, held by the Germans. So read their response with a Russian accent and wave your hands around for punctuation. My brother was a Vietnam vet and he thought it was seriously cool, especially since I used to get on his case about having firearms in the house. Then when I went soldier, I became a gun owner, and eventually of more than one.

 

5) Some women secretly fought in the American Revolution. Did you do research on this topic that peaked your interest?

I did some light research but it was after the fact, once I had been doing soldier for a while. My research concentrated on being a (male) soldier. If I’m going to pass as a guy, I didn’t see the point in following some other female’s example. I needed to know what was expected of the (male) soldier and make it work for myself and how I would fit in the unit. The most interesting thing I found was once I dressed as a male, I started to act like one. I started to sit like a guy, use more colorful language and drink some unique beverages. Then there was the unusual itch and scratching thing. But that’s TMI. So I guess clothes really do “make the man.”   

6) How many Rev War events do you attend yearly? Do you have a favorite one? Why?

I don’t count how many events I go to. I try to get out to all of them and then start deducting. When it comes to favorite events, I think every event has something that keeps me coming back. It’s more that I have favorite or memorable thing from different events. I was born and raised in Philly and currently live in Delaware County, so anything close to home is close to my heart.

7) What is your greatest enjoyment from reenacting?

Watching young people come to history and love it. I learned from books and really didn’t care about it. Until I had to teach it, it was boring. But I let my students guide me and tell me what they wanted to know. I stayed loosely within the curriculum and found that they were the real teachers. From them and their questions, I learned to love history, then become a reenactor, so I not only talk-the-talk, I walk-the-walk. 

 

 9) What’s your thoughts on the future of Rev War reenacting? 

We need to make way for the future of reenacting by embracing the young people who are coming to it now. They’re already ahead of the veteran reenactors when it comes to being historically correct, by their age alone. That was the easy part. It’s up to the veteran reenactor to guide and mentor the young people who will pick up the mantle of reenacting. If that doesn’t happen, then history dies twice-once, for the reenactors, and twice, for humanity. We need the youth to carry on “the story.”

10) How do you learn more about colonial history?

I found the “hook” for my SP ED students started by the historical movies. The old productions really could be horrendously inaccurate, but that’s where you do the research and debunk, while they watch. Then visit historical sites. Once I retired from teaching, I began to work at Ft. Mifflin, where I am an educator and tour guide. I had the best experience ever in September 2018, a few years after leaving the public education arena, to have two young girls come up to me at Paoli Battlefield’s annual Heritage Day, and ask me if I worked at Ft. Mifflin. I said yes and found out that they had been in one of my Rev War Soldier Life classes at the fort. Better yet, I was dressed at Paoli, as an 1812 Marine. They also saw me at the 2018 Malvern Memorial Day parade and I was kitted up as a Federal CW Hospital Steward. So not only did they learn some history, but they also had an example of what a woman could do. I see that as a win-win.

11) What books do you recommend about women during the American Revolution?

I would recommend anything that comes close to a primary source. Also, I tend to go for the author, rather than a book. Carol Berkin, Cokie Roberts, Mary Beth Norton, and Don Haigist are some of the authors that have their works on my bookshelf. It’s important too, to try to balance things by hearing the storied voices of both sides of the conflict. Remember the ladies, on both sides. Then one can understand why a woman would take up arms, as a “man.” I think maybe my inner voice has told me to soldier for the ladies who have, if they could have. 

12)  Any question I missed?

Maybe what’s my favorite Rev War receipt, but you come hang around the 3rd PA campfire any time and see what we’ve got cooking. You won’t be disappointed! 

 

Thanks for reading! Blog # 9 will be posted in February 2019.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) 3rd PA Regiment American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments Battle of Monmouth British Army Colonial PA Plantation Crown Forces Light infantry Molly Pitcher photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Women in the American Revolution https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2019/1/interview-with-continental-soldier-olga-leake Fri, 18 Jan 2019 17:53:53 GMT
Always Appreciate Their Sacrifice https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/12/always-appreciate-their-sacrifice Whenever it snows my first thought is to visit Valley Forge National Historic Park and photograph the area surrounding the Muhlenberg Brigade Huts. When  possible I drive the 30 minutes to Valley Forge. To dress for the cold, I’m always layered with a thick winter jacket, gloves, scarf, boots & a hat covering my ears. I’m well protected. Most times, the snow is whipping, and in severe storms, I can barely see anything in front of me. I’m cold, tired and sore but I create some memorable photos. My goal is to photograph the harsh conditions!

Although freezing, numb & uncomfortable I’m always recalling the terrible conditions Washington’s troops had to endure in the winter of 1777-8. I’m dressed for the elements; they weren’t. Of the 12,000 soldiers & 400 women & children in the encampment, who were virtually naked, lacking supplies & food, nearly 2,000 died.

This wasn't the only time the Continental Army had to suffer in a winter encampment. Did you know that from  December 1779 to June 1780 the harshest winter of the war was at Jockey Hollow/Morristown NJ?

In my 7 times attending either the First Crossing Reenactment or annual Christmas Day Crossing at Washington Crossing Historical Park, I'm always cold. In some years, snow is on the ground making the reenactment more realistic. I'm dressed for the weather but it doesn't matter, I'm uncomfortable. In about half of my visits, the reenactors were able to cross the river. When they couldn't, either the current was too strong or the water level wasn't high enough! Washington couldn't cancel. His challenge before the crossing says it all "Victory or Death". What he and his men had to endure Christmas night is unimaginable!

Washington had plans for 3 separate crossings planned but only he was successful. Starting early in the middle of the night in total darkness, during a nor'easter, the temperature below freezing with a snowy drizzle/sleeting rain, lightly clothed, about 2,400 poorly clothed troops with 18 cannons plus horses in total darkness crossed the Delaware River in all types of watercraft. Then they marched about 9 hours in these conditions to the outskirts of Trenton for the battle. Think of the difficulty. I'll always appreciate their sacrifice!

Both the Valley Forge National Historic Park & Washington Crossing Historical Park hold annual reenactments. At Valley Forge, they commemorate the actual days Washington's troops march in December 19, & march out June 18. At Washington's Crossing there is the reenactment on Christmas Day and practice event on a Sunday about 2 weeks before Christmas. These events are annual traditions for many people and are well attended. Go, you will be inspired!!

Thanks for reading! Blog # 7 will be posted in January 2019.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) "43rd Regiment of Foot" American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces George Washington Historic Jockey Hollow/Morristown NJ Light infantry Muhlenberg Brigade Huts photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line Trenton Trenton Barracks Valley Forge Valley Forge National Historic Park Washington Crossing Historic Park https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/12/always-appreciate-their-sacrifice Thu, 13 Dec 2018 20:23:36 GMT
Interview with Major Paul Loane of the 2nd PA and 43rd Regiment of Foot https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/11/interview-with-president-paul-loane-of-the-2nd-pa-and-43rd-regiment-of-foot The Revolutionary Germantown Festival held in early October to commemorate the reenactment of the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777. What’s fascinating is that the original house, Benjamin Chew House, a pivotal factor in the outcome of the battle still stands. Chew was head of the Pennsylvania Judiciary System under both Colony and Commonwealth, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Province of Pennsylvania. The house, built between 1763 and 1767, of ashlar gray stone, was a summer retreat for his family.

In the 10 plus years I’ve been attending this event one central figure was always prominent in my photos and that was Major Paul Loane of the Second Pennsylvania and 43rd Regiment of Foot. As Commander of the Crown Forces during this reenactment, he’s almost always standing in front of the house’s Iron Gate waiting for his troops to arrive and later leading them into up the steps into the house before the American siege. At another earlier event, I asked if I can interview him and he agreed.

 

Interview with Major Paul Loane of the Second PA and 43rd Regiment of Foot-

1) How long have you been reenacting?

I began reenacting in the summer of 1972.

2) How did you join the 43rd Regiment of Foot? Did you consider being a member of other units?

With the Bicentennial looming ahead, I had looked briefly at a couple other Philadelphia-area units but did not find any as appealing as the “Second Pennsylvania Regiment and 43rd Regiment of Foot.” I particularly liked the organization’s aim of accurately portraying both a Continental and a British regiment and its mission of supporting historic sites and educating the public. Of course, the unit also was poised to take a leading role in the upcoming Bicentennial and that was very attractive as well. But probably most of all, I liked the guys in the regiment. There were many historians and collectors among them (I’ve collected Civil War militaria since I was ten) and the camaraderie and exchange of information was great. I portrayed the unit’s Sergeant Major through the Bicentennial and it was great fun!

3) What are your roles as Major of the “Regiment”?

We are a non-profit, educational organization and operate with an elected board of officers and an executive board, so my duties as “president” are the same as any person who oversees a healthy and growing volunteer organization. I gather and disburse information to our membership. I make sure that all my dedicated colleagues, like my treasurer and quartermaster, have what they need to take care of their duties. I work with sponsors to gather support. I support our recruiting efforts. I try to provide new content for our website. I interact with historic sites and community leaders to develop the events they want. Sometimes I am able to create a new event for the reenacting community to enjoy. I also happen to portray the unit’s commander on the field, so I have to know the appropriate commands and maneuvers as well.

4) Do you ever portray an officer from the 2nd PA regiment? If not, why?

Yes, we are the Second Pennsylvania for about half our events, so I portray the commander of that unit as well. Basically, we are the 43rd of Foot for most of the battle reenactments (Monmouth, Germantown, etc.) and we are the Second Pennsylvania for most of our living history events at regional historic sites (Valley Forge, Princeton, etc.).

5) How many Rev War events do you attend yearly? Do you have a favorite one? Why?

Our unit usually has 18-20 events on our calendar. Sorry, but I have too many “favorites” to single out just one.

6) What is your greatest enjoyment from reenacting?

Having been a Rev. War reenactor for 45+ years, I’ve made a lot of friends among my peers and I always enjoy seeing them. I also love it when a complex battle scenario comes off just the way it was planned and all the participants have a positive experience and the public goes away in awe. But perhaps the most enjoyable part is just sitting around a campfire at night with friends, laughing and telling stories.

7) This can be an expensive hobby! What does the average Rev War kit cost? Can any of your equipment be written off taxes?

As an IRS recognized non-profit, just about every expense having to do with the regiment is tax deductible for most of us. Obtaining both the British and American kits, along with a musket, can cost upwards of $2000. However, we can loan new members just about everything they need so it all does not have to be purchased at once and they can turn out with us right away. Once you have all your gear the spending decreases dramatically.

8) What do you hope the spectators who attend will learn?

The humanity of the combatants of both sides. There is so much mis-information and myth connected with the soldiers of the American Revolution that almost everything we do surprises them. Yes, there were good reasons for the way they dressed, fought, and lived day-to-day. As we’ve seen, Living History is a unique, three-dimensional method of education and really can have an impact on people. It is a  wonderful thing to bring someone to the “Ah-Ha!” moment.

9) What’s your thoughts on the future of Rev War reenacting?

As schools now seem to downplay teaching History, the naysayers are pretty gloomy about attracting a new generation to reenacting. However, the internet and video games appear to be energizing that generation and creating a good curiosity about the past. I think that Rev. War reenacting, particularly along the Atlantic seaboard, will continue to have a bright future.

10) How do you learn more about colonial history?

Read. Research. Go to historic sites and ask questions. Thanks to the internet, when it comes to books, dissertations and access to 18th Century archives, this is a golden age.

11) What books do you recommend about the American Revolution?

Way too many to list, however I particularly liked A Revolutionary People at War by Charles Royster and The Spirit of ’76 by Commager and Morris. If you’re a reenactor, you must read Matt Spring’s With Zeal and With Bayonets Only and John Houlding’s Fit for Service. For those interested in campfollowers, Belonging to the Army by  Holly Mayer is excellent.

12) Any question I missed?

We reenactors get all kinds of questions from the public at events and there is one that is legendary: “Is that a REAL fire?” asked by someone observing us prepare a meal in camp over crackling, flaming logs. It seems so absurd that it has become sort of an inside joke among us. I was recently visiting Plimoth Plantation, the fabled recreated 17th Century town in Massachusetts, and was talking to an interpreter in the “long house” inside the attached Indian village. I noticed she was sitting in front of a small fire and so I asked if she, too, was ever questioned if that was a “real fire.” She laughed and said “yes, many times.” Some things are universal in the world of Living History.

 

    Thanks for reading! Blog # 6 will be posted in December 2018.

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) "43rd Regiment of Foot" "Battle of Germantown" 2nd PA" American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces Light infantry Philadelphia photography Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/11/interview-with-president-paul-loane-of-the-2nd-pa-and-43rd-regiment-of-foot Fri, 16 Nov 2018 19:22:23 GMT
Visiting the Museum of the American Revolution (MAR) in Philadelphia https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/10/visiting-the-museum-of-the-american-revolution-mar-in-philadelphia The Philadelphia region has access to many museums and historical sites, especially in Center City. The Museum of the American Revolution (MAR) opened in April 2017 and I haven't visited yet. So a few weeks ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I packed my lunch and took the SEPTA train from the suburbs to the city.

The train ride was about 30 minutes. At the last stop, I had to walk about another 10 blocks to the museum. The MAR is located 3rd Street and Chestnut only a few blocks away from Independence Hall, The National Constitution Center and other great museums in the area. Years ago this was where the old Independence Hall Visitor's Center was located.

After obtaining my ticket I stayed on the ground floor and immediately headed for the Gift Shop. Browsing, I started mentally compiling a list of books to add to my reading list.  Directly across from the Gift Shop was the Patriot’s Gallery.

It was set-up as a child's playroom. I noticed adults and their kids playing dress up in colonial clothes &  pretending to be soldiers with wooden toy muskets. Other children were involved in arts and crafts such as making a paper replica of Washington’s Tent.

Although I had already had lunch I visited the Cross Keys Cafe. What a great place to relax and get a quick snack. Next time I'll have lunch here. Then went to the Lenfest Myer Theater to view a short 15-minute orientation film about the American Revolution.

When you climb the spiral staircase to the 2nd floor you notice huge paintings showing Washington's Crossing, Valley Forge and the surrender at Yorktown. As you enter the exhibits you immediately view a large mural of protesters tearing down King George's III statue in NYC.

The museum is comprised of 4 main themes, Becoming Revolutionaries, The Darkest Hour, A Revolutionary War and A New Nation. Today my focus was to get an overview of the museum so I didn't stay in one spot too long.

The more I continually learn about the American Revolution has made me appreciate, on both sides, the dedication and sacrifices that were made by all involved. I'm in awe of their fortitude and courage!

Definitely, the highlight was seeing George Washington's sleeping & war tent used during the war. In the small theater, there is a short film describing how the tent was used and what happened to it after the war. Interesting story. Then slowly a curtain rises and you see the tent. It made me think of the hardships and ordeals Washington had to endure in this 8-year war.

Soon I'll visit again and spend more time in each of the exhibits.  Here is the MAR's website https:/www.amrevmuseum.org I also want to visit The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown in VA Funny how both museums opened about the same time.

Thanks for reading! Blog # 5 will be posted in November 2018 featuring an interview with Paul Loane.

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces George Washington museums Philadelphia Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line the Museum of the American Revolution Thomas Jefferson https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/10/visiting-the-museum-of-the-american-revolution-mar-in-philadelphia Mon, 22 Oct 2018 20:21:16 GMT
My Colonial Williamsburg Experience https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/9/my-colonial-williamsburg-experience Where do you go just to relax? Is it the beach, mountains or a big city? For me, it’s visiting Colonial Williamsburg!

As a young boy, many years ago, I remember my family visiting often during my summer breaks. It was a long trip driving (about 8 hours) from Long Island to Williamsburg, VA. On every visit, I would receive a new toy cannon to add to my extensive collection. For years, I always wanted a tricorne hat. Just like the one below. Eventually, when I was older it happened. I was thrilled!

Tricorne Hat

 

My parents always had reservations at the same hotel. Recently, my wife & son (3 1/2 years old) stayed there too. In the bathroom was a wall mounted bottle opener that I remembered from all my visits as a youngster. Old memories immediately came back! Now my goal is to visit Colonial Williamsburg yearly to create new special memories with my family. Soon my son will be asking for that tricorne hat!

How to describe Colonial Williamsburg? It is an over 300-acre living history museum that includes 88 original 18th-century structures. For 80 years from 1699 to 1779, Williamsburg was the capital of VA, the largest colony in America at that time. In 1780 the capital moved to Richmond. The town, except for the College of William & Mary, was virtually forgotten. Then in the late 1920’s the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin rector of Williamsburg’s Bruton Parish Church convinced John D. Rockefeller Jr., the wealthy son of Standard Oil fortune to restore the historic town to its 18th-century appearance. A fantastic book that shows this remarkable transformation is Williamsburg Before & After by George Humphrey Yetter colonialwilliamsburg.com/Williamsburg-Before-and-After

My ideal day is to arrive in town just before sunrise. I bring a large cup of coffee and my SLR camera attached with the all-purpose 24-85 mm lens. Most mornings I’ll usually observe W&M students jogging, retired folks walking their dogs, and/or maintenance crews in their pick-up trucks cleaning the area. Between the Wren Building and the Capitol, a short distance of less than a mile, I get to stroll around the town where so many of our Founding Fathers developed their political ideas. It’s amazing that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Henry, etc. walked these same streets. Even Benjamin Franklin visited here as postmaster twice in 1756 & 1763. It’s not difficult capturing great photos in such a wonderful place. A photo below of the Governor's Palace.

Governor’s Palace-Early morning!Governor’s Palace-Early morning!

One early morning, I was walking near the capital and notice a ladder on the side of one of the buildings. See below.  I looked closer and immediately knew it would make a great photo. What do you see? To me, the ladder looked like a person’s mouth, the windows a pair of eyes, and the roof shingles hair. One of my favorites. Makes me smile.

Over the years special reenactment events occur. When it’s held in June, unfortunately not recently, Under the Redcoat depicts the British occupation (for about 10 days) of Williamsburg in 1781. Below are some photos from this program.

Another wonderful event that I hope occurs again soon is Prelude to Victory. This event celebrates the anniversary of George Washington & the French General  Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau and their armies stopped in Williamsburg for a few days rest before proceeding on to Yorktown for the last major battle of the war. I had the opportunity to speak with Marquis de Lafayette portrayed by historical interpreter Mark Schneider. Of course, he was in character. He has also interpreted "Bloody Ban" Banastre Tarleton. You never know who you might meet when you visit. Click here for more information about Colonial Williamsburg www.colonialwilliamsburg.com

Later next month I have family members visiting from abroad. Of course, we will be traveling to Williamsburg for a long weekend. Luckily, the drive won't be as long, about 5 hours, since I now live in the Philly suburbs.

Thanks for reading. Blog # 4 will be posted in October, 2018.

Ken Bohrer

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Colonial Williamsburg Crown Forces George Washington Reenactments Thomas Jefferson VA Williamsburg https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/9/my-colonial-williamsburg-experience Sat, 15 Sep 2018 16:00:00 GMT
Photographing American Revolution Reenactments-Blog # 2 https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/8/photograping-american-revolution-reenactments It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been photographing American Revolution reenactments now for over 10 years.  On my photography website AmericanRevolutionPhotos.com there are over 5,000 photos and 12,000 visitors.  I’m fortunate to live in the Delaware Valley region where so many Revolutionary Era events are held annually.  I’ve also had the opportunity to travel from Boston, MA to Greensboro, NC photographing other reenactments. Many of my photos have been published in numerous books and magazines including Popular Photography magazine. How did I start focusing on this type of photography?

Since I was young, I’ve always been interested in studying the American Revolution. This period of history has always just fascinated me. When I first moved to the Philadelphia region and started attending reenactments, I reviewed numerous American & British regiments websites. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the photographs posted. I knew I could do better.  In the beginning, I was just hoping to catch a few musket or cannon flash photos at these events. After so many years of practice, it now occurs almost every time. Above is an example.

When I reviewed this photo from the recent Battle of Monmouth, I was still thrilled.  I’ve been asked often, how do you capture these images? I honestly say, don’t know. My camera allows me to shoot in rapid fire, almost 8 shots a second! But I’m definitely doing something right. It’s fun to hear the camera continuously clicking, in rapid fire mode, when I hit the shutter release button. But, I recognized eventually that there is more to the reenactment experience than the actual reenactment itself.

About 5 years ago, I was speaking with one of the ladies cooking lunch in the Continental camp.  She was familiar with my website and her first remark to me was a quote from  Abagail Adams “to remember the ladies.” I understood immediately what she meant!  I was only photographing the reenactments and missing the camp life experience. From then on, I made sure to visit both the American & British camps when I first arrived at any event.

Plus, it’s important for photographers to try new and interesting artistic techniques. Should the photo be in color, B&W, photo dimensions, panoramas, etc.? Recently, I purchased knee pads (less than $15 at Home Depot) so I could get different angles and vantage points by being low and shooting upwards. Everything appears to be so much larger in the photos. Plus, it’s easier to crop out any unnecessary elements later if warranted. A photo below, while on one knee, of the British camp.

 

Below is my favorite photo from the Battle of Monmouth reenactment. Why? Before the reenactment started, I conceptualized the photo in my head when I saw the British troops marching in the distant cornfield. The contrast between the green field and British red uniforms makes this image unique. Plus, it’s also colorful and one of a kind photograph. Do you agree? I’m lucky too. Not everyone has the essential equipment to capture this photo. When I attach my 1.4 teleconverter (extends lens distance) to my long 80—400 lens it becomes an 840mm. I'm capable of photographing almost anything very far away!

Thanks for reading! Blog # 3 will be posted in September, 2018!

Ken Bohrer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) 240th anniversity of Monmouth American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces Light infantry Monmouth Philadelphia photography Popular Photography magazine Reenactments the British Brigade The Continental Line https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/8/photograping-american-revolution-reenactments Tue, 07 Aug 2018 20:16:13 GMT
Interview with Captain David Hospador https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/7/interview-with-captain-david-hospador June 16, 2018

I was excited to drive the 1 ½ hours for the Battle of Monmouth 240th anniversary reenactment in Manalapan, NJ. Since 2008, I’ve only missed this event a few times and that was because of health issues. Some of my best photos were taken here. In fact, one of them is on the back of my business card.

Why do I enjoy this event so much?  Its location is one reason. When walking behind the visitor’s center you just stop and gaze at the background. You see a cluster of trees sporadically growing everywhere and in the center a big grass field sloping gradually downward. In the distance is a huge corn field. Everything is so green. It’s so stately. This awe feeling happens every time I come here.

But this Saturday was special. I was interviewing Captain David Hospador of the 3rd PA Light Infantry, Commander of the American forces. I knew David from chatting at many of the events over the years. He is one of my favorite reenactors to photograph, so animated. Some of my favorite photos are of him in action.

The weather was better than in most years. It wasn’t as hot. Usually, the temperature is in the high 90’s with stifling humidity. Very similar to what had happened at the actual battle. Many soldiers on both sides died from heat fatigue. Besides the extreme weather, this famous battle is known for the usually stoic George Washington losing his self-control with his second-command General Charles Lee. He retreated from the battle because he didn’t believe his troops could defeat the British regulars. Also, the legend of Molly Picher was created here. She (probably Mary Ludwig Hays) allegendly manned her husband's cannon when he was killed and in the battle a cannonball whizzed between her legs tearing off her most of her petticoat!

www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/p1038957122

Interview with Captain David Hospador of the 3rd PA Light Infantry-

1) You’re one of my favorite reenactors to photograph, so animated. You really appear to enjoy yourself during the events? Thank you, I truly love this hobby, the history, the people and the idea that we are remembering those men and women who lived during this time and those who fought in the war. As for my liveliness in the field, it spawns from the fact that I lead my unit on the field and I need them to follow my lead and do, without question, what I order them to do for me. So I will go over and above to maintain control, also its fun to be an officer.

2) How long have you been reenacting? Since the beginning of 2002. My one wish is that I started doing this earlier in life.

3) How did you join the 3rd PA? Did you consider other units? My wife's hairdresser was a member of the unit. When we became engaged she told me I had to meet Bob, her hairdresser. I asked her why I needed to meet Bob the hairdresser. She told me how he does this Revolutionary War reenacting and that I might be interested in doing it for a hobby, she was right.

4) Ever thought of joining a Crown forces regiment? If not, why? Nope, red-blooded patriot here. I will say this, I love my British counterparts and I'm thankful that they wear the scarlet uniform. I consider man of them my friends.

5) How many Rev War events do you attend yearly? Do you have a favorite one? Why? 15-20 events ranging from one day living history to weekend long reenactments.

6) What is your greatest enjoyment from reenacting? It's a toss-up between the wonderful friendships I have with my fellow reenactors, especially those in my own company and recreating the history for people to learn from and enjoy.

7) This can be an expensive hobby! What does the average Rev War kit cost? Can any of your equipment be written off taxes? As it is an educational resource some of what we do is tax deductible. It can get expensive, a good musket can run over $1000. My unit is lucky, we make a lot of our own clothes and equipment. What also helps is that we have, what we call, loaner gear for people who want to try the hobby before investing money in it.

8) What do you hope the spectators who attend will learn? Something that they weren't taught in their history class. Many of us have learned so much from our research and we love to share it with others.

9) What’s your thoughts on the future of Rev War reenacting? I believe social media will play an important part in the future of the hobby. Our participation numbers have been dwindling over the past 15 years and it will take work to bring people into the hobby.

10) How do you learn more about colonial history? Honestly, in this day of electronic media and internet video/encyclopedias, my favorite source is still a good book or original material. My unit has a copy of our Orderly Books from April 1778 through the end of the war it makes for great reading.

11) What books do you recommend about the American Revolution? There are so many I couldn't recommend a handful let alone one!

12) Any question I missed? Yes, how long were you a private, non-commissioned officer and then an officer? I was a private for around 4 years, then I was appointed as a corporal then a sergeant for another 5 years, then I was elected the officer in 2012.

13) What's the difference between being an enlisted man and an officer? As an enlisted man I was concerned with my clothes and equipment and learning the drill and working with the other guys in the company to be good and safe in the field, learn the history and other stuff on an individual level. As an officer, I have to oversee the men and women in the company, make sure they learn what they need to learn, and to run the company behind the scenes, which is no small feat. I'm responsible for everything.

NEXT BLOG POST: August,2018-Photographing American Revolution Reenactments

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americanrevolutionphotos@gmail.com (American Revolution Photos) 240th anniversity of Monmouth American History American Revolution American Revolution reenactments British Army Crown Forces Light infantry Monmouth Reenactments https://www.americanrevolutionphotos.com/blog/2018/7/interview-with-captain-david-hospador Thu, 05 Jul 2018 20:18:07 GMT