What? No Stories?! Just a Bunch of Stupid Pictures?!

Today I went on a Photo Walk around Gettysburg.  It’s the second one I’ve done with this group and today we chose to walk around the Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg.

I had a wonderful time.  We spread out in the cemetery keeping each other in line of sight, but mostly wandering around reading the headstones, quietly taking our pictures, and enjoying the day.   When we did catch up to each other, the conversation was pleasant and quiet, as befitted the setting.

It’s a bit late and I’m worn out from my day and spent a long time playing around with my pictures, so instead of writing much, I’m going to post before and after images of my photos.

Here goes, pictures are posted in the order in which they were received/taken. Don’t forget that if you click on them, you can see them larger.

I was pleased with the composition–the big tree, the little canons, the sky behind the tree, but didn’t like the sign in front of the tree, or the little marker on the left in the foreground.

So, I played a lot with colors, considered black and white, tried to make the sky a little bluer, but then had fun making the sky redder (redder?  that’s not a word.)  In the end, I went with this orange sky and I removed the sign and the little marker.

I liked the way this bus looks like it’s abandoned in the woods and getting covered with vines.  It’s not.  It’s sitting in the parking lot, but from this angle you can’t tell.  I also like how you can pretend that the canon is active, and the war is taking place while spectators are watching in their bus.

I left this picture pretty much entirely alone, except for bumping up the shadows.  Bumping up the shadows seems to make the colors richer as well, and I like it.

There’s a big statue of a General riding on his horse, maybe twenty feet high?  I don’t know.  It’s high.  I laid on the ground and took this picture zoomed on the horse’s face.  The horse looks scared in this shot.  I took the same picture at a different exposure, and I must have shifted juuuust enough that he doesn’t look as scared in any of the other shots.

So, I stuck with this shot and played with the shadows (again), which brought out the tiniest bit of color and makes his eye look better.

Canon wheel out of focus, cows in focus.

Same picture with shadows darkened and highlights lightened.

Same angle, only this time the wheel is in focus and the cows aren’t.

Adjusted with darker shadows and lighter highlights.

This is the gatehouse which is the entrance to the cemetery.  When I turned to look at the arch, I could see the field I had just been standing in with the statues and canons.  I thought I might be able to turn the arch into a kind of frame.

I worked on this picture on the computer for a bit, but started getting tired and instead of learning how to add clouds to the sky (because I have a bunch of cloud pictures!) I just burned the sky a little and called it a day.  The sky is horrible, I know, but I’m not working on it any more tonight.

I liked this carving of a rose on this headstone for Amanda M, who died June 10, 1877 and had this carved on her headstone: “Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none …” I can’t make out the last word.  It looks like “abiding” but I’m not sure that makes sense.

Increased shadow, decreased saturation of colors.  I wish I was just a smidge more in front of this rose.  I took a shot head on of it, but that was pretty dull, so I tried this sideways shot, but now it’s almost too sideways.  But it’s still a nice carving.

I love this.  It wasn’t intended to be a scary face, I’m sure, but over the years, the carving has been eroded and there are cracks in it that turn it into a creepy face.  I spent a lot of time taking pictures of this from many different angles and different zooms.  The stone work was on top of a stone for a woman who died 10 days after giving birth.  Directly in front of her stone another stone had been placed–so close it was touching hers, where the baby, who lived for only four months after the mother died, was buried.  “Dear Kate and Our Babe” was carved on the stone.

I tried a lot of different things with this one to try to create the mood I wanted.  In the end, I used a preset thingee called Cross-Process which makes things sort of bluey-yellowy-ish.  I didn’t use the full cross-process; I toned it down, and I’m sure I played with shadows.  Because pretty much every picture that I take, I play with shadows.

The saddest graves were the ones for children.  Before I had children, I probably wouldn’t have been as bothered, but now that I have kids, these headstones bothered me a lot.  The children were given either much smaller headstones than adults, or they were given more ornate headstones, like the one above for little George.

I thought George looked better with more foliage behind him, so I added some more.  He also got the shadow treatment.

This one was for John, who was five years old when he died.

I played a lot with settings on this one.  Desaturated, warmed the temperature. Added a border on a whim.

If you look carefully, you’ll see a fuzzy blob under the sheep’s chin.  Someone put a stuffed sheep there, and it’s half disintegrated.

Played with saturation, shadow and temperature for the above.

If you made it this far, congratulations!  This was some pretty dull writing.  If I had the energy I’d tell you all sorts of stories from my childhood of all the picnics my parents took me on in the graveyard and how the dog mistook my mother for a headstone and peed on her and about how my parents would scare me with stories about the ghosts of little dead children coming to haunt me, and how we’d plan to have elaborate headstones with carvings of all our pets on them, but I’m tired so I’ll tell you another time.