On Labor Day weekend, I attended the Huntington Beach Civil War Days Living History and Reenactment.  Before I took a single picture, I had two things in mind. One I wanted to photograph the battle while sitting and the second was all the photographs would be black & white to fit the civil war era.

So for the first battle, I sat on the ground so that I could get a low field level view.

Civl War Days Battle 1

Click photo for a larger view


For the second battle, we had moved to a new location where I couldn’t sit without my view being blocked, so I stood.

Civil War Days Battle 2

Click photo for a larger view

Look closely at the two photographs and notice how the two perspectives affect what you see and feel. They are similar in that both show the fallen soldiers with the battles continuing behind them. But the first one makes you focus on the fallen, while the second makes you focus on the background. The first one brings you in and the second feels more editorial or objective.

Lessons Learned:

  • Changing your angle can have a big impact on your photograph
  • Don’t stop with one angle, try many.  In this case, I used two angles, standing & sitting from one location. I could of and maybe should have moved to different parts of the field as well


  • Larry Becker of NAPP issued an assignment on a past episode of DTown TV, to take 40 pictures of one subject. I admit I haven’t tried it yet, but I think it would be a great exercise to understand that the first view or angle may not be the best and you may be missing something if you stop at your first shot

In my next blog post, I discuss how I post processed my photographs so that they look like they were taken in the Civil War era. The photographs above do not reflect that post processing

Oh, In case you were wondering, the Confederate army won the first battle and the Union won the second