Monday, June 7, 2010

Holga Camera work at Gettysburg

Devils Den

Last March I was able to get back to Gettysburg. This time I wanted to experiment & take some photographs with a plastic Holga camera. I have not used one before & was not sure of what to expect. I shot a total of four rolls of 120mm back & white film. To my surprise the photos all turned out. Most of them showed the characteristic light fogging around the edges. Sometimes the shutter didn’t move out of the way fast enough and clipped off the corners. Over all I’m quite satisfied with the results. The photos create a mystery all there own. And it has opened up some new approaches for working with photographic images.
Although I had limited time to roam the field, the weather for once cooperated & didn’t rain. March weather can be dodgy but on this day it worked out great. Early spring is a classic time to explore battlefields because the foliage is all down & there are no bugs. I started my visit at Benner Hill to the North East of the field. It was the site of a Confederate artillery position. From hear the confederate guns were to support the bombardment of Cemetery Hill before Pickett’s Charge. Instead the guns were pounded by counter battery fire from the superior Union guns on Cemetery Hill. The Confederate guns were forced to retire.

Next Stop Rose Farm.
With William Frassanito’s book “Gettysburg: A Journey in Time” in hand, I hopped the snake fence into the famous field on Rose Farm. My goal was to line up some shots that correspond with Gardner & O’Sullivan photos of Confederate dead. It is quite a moving experience exploring this field. There is now doubt that the rocks are still there in the proper placement. The tree line has been restored to approximate1863 placement. However I don’t think I found any of the original camera angles. It will take much more time & study to set up a proper then & now study.
I am quite pleased with my photos anyway. It is clear that my photos allude to the originals but have there own quality.
I am experimenting with different scanning processes for digitizing the negatives. I first scanned the negatives with a flatbed scanner & got some interesting results. The images looked very 1863ish. The sky and trees were out of focus & blurry. It is quite interesting. Scanning the images with a film scanner gives more normal photographic results.

View South from the Rose Farm

Rose Farm looking West

View of the 20th Maine entrenchments from the base of little round top.