I discovered that I do not live that far from Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. It’s an American Civil War National Park. So I woke up at an unholy hour and drove the hour to get there to do some sunrise shots.
One of the things about battlefields having visited a view now is that they are flat. You need wide open spaces to maneuver your army back then. While there may be slight hills here and there you don’t have a lot of features and those that tend to standout.
The sun was rising and when I was getting out of my car I saw the tree and the sun. I quickly grabbed my gear and was walking and pulling out tripod legs as fast as I could. Once I got into position I started to take the pictures. I didn’t want to miss the light.
It’s obvious that this is a HDR image. I have started to shoot with it again just to get into practice and put Aurora 2017 through its paces. For once I did the mapping myself. One of the joys of HDR images is that you get halos around objects so it took a lot of work. Even still it’s not perfect. The once nice feature about Aurora 2017 is that you can export straight into Photoshop so it makes some of the image cleanup easier without having to save a file.
This shot comes form the Manassas Battlefield. This is only half the canon that was in this particular row and I don’t know how historically accurate their placement is but they were on a slight rise so strategically speaking it would have been a position to fire down on enemy troops. While I wasn’t intimidated walking up to them it would not be something that as an average soldier I would have wanted to attack. While canon themselves weren’t accurate back then they were lethal when loaded with shot which was small ball bearings designed to just take out a swatch of soldiers walking in format. The Civil War was the first modern war that showed how good we humans are at killing each other.
The photo itself mostly edited in Tonality CK. Once I had my basic edits I brought it into Tonality for the monochrome conversion. I find myself using it more because it gives you much more granular control over the conversion than Nik Silver Efex. Granted, Silver Efex is free so you can’t knock it and it served me well over the years but I lean towards Tonality now. Once I had the conversion I did a bit of dodging and burning and said enough.
Full resolution here.
I shot two locations over the weekend. The Tidal Basin in Washington, DC and Manassas Battlefield in Manassas, Virginia. After I shot the moon I saw this statue when I arrived. What you see is roughly what I saw when I turned my attention that way. My first thought was what the hell is the rider doing there but then it dawned on me it was a statue of a Civil War soldier. I didn’t read the plaque that was near the statue because it was too dark and when I was packing up to go I forgot to go back and check it.
This will likely be the only color image from this series as the day turned grey on me. It said partly cloudy in the forecast but it went full cloudy. Still, this shot made it worth going out there for.
This image is more or less straight out of the camera. I added a gradient to blacken the grass a bit but that’s it. Not even sharpened, I just gave it a minor unsharpen mask to give a bit more color separation. The light trail behind the tree is a plane taking off. I debated on fixing it but I liked it so it stayed.
The full resolution will be on Flickr.
While everyone seems to love the flowers I needed a break. These images were shot at the same time with the sun being bright in the sky. To be perfectly honest I am just goofing around here which is why the image sizes are all over the map and there isn’t even a consistent editing style. I did debate removing the pigeons from Grant’s head I kinda like the irreverence of the whole thing.