Saturday, October 13, 2007

The ghosts of Gettysburg

I’m always trying to get interesting material and photos to present on my blog. My blog is essentially my modern version of a personal journal. I write about what I like and if someone happens to read it and get something out of it, that’s great. If nobody reads, I still express myself openly and that makes me feed good. I’m obviously obsessed with photography and always was. A wife can only listen to an obsessed husband photographer so much. Therefore, my blog is where I can talk frankly about my beloved hobby. If you feel that way too, send me your comments. You can never bore me with photography stuff.

I still manage to visit locations in southern California, where we live, in search of good photo opportunities, almost every weekend. There are indeed plenty of photo opportunities in this neck-of-the-woods from scenery, city life, human interest, special events, sunsets, beaches and everything else in between. We have the mountains around us, the ocean to our west, the desert nearby, Hollywood, city life, country life, etc. All of these locations are within a few hours of driving from our home. I shoot almost exclusively digital, with a Pentax K10D. It certainly has all of the modern technical advancements and helps me capturing images better than any camera I have ever owned. It wasn’t all that long ago that my cameras and lenses were in the 35mm format. I don’t use them anymore, except for a few lenses that still fit my current DSLR.

So today, I want to reminisce a little about some pictures I took with my 35mm cameras. A few years ago, when living in Maine, we took a long car trip from Maine to Florida. We stopped at many places along the way and I took lots of pictures. We were on the road for about two weeks, not counting the week we spent in Florida. Although all those places and cities were nice to visit, one site in particular has stuck in my mind. That place is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

It wasn’t even on our plans to stop there. Getting up early, we left our motel at around 5:00 A.M. After driving for about an hour, we saw a sign for Gettysburg and decided to take a little detour to visit. Of course, everyone knows or should know that it is the site of the unforgettable battle of Gettysburg, July 1- July 3, 1863. As we approached the town, the sun was getting up and a fairly thick fog was hovering over the fields. We finally saw a monument, signaling the entrance of the battle fields. We joked about the folklore legends saying that people have reported seeing ghost of soldiers walking in the fields in the early foggy morning hours. Well…as we got out of our car, there it was, a soldier walking through the misty field, right in front of our eyes. We both stopped talking and didn’t know what to think. There was nobody else around us. I started taking pictures, hoping that the ghost, if indeed it was a ghost, would actually appear on film. I got closer and closer and the soldier started to walk toward me. “I’m a grown up man and I don’t believe in ghosts”, so I tried to convinced myself. The soldier finally got closer to me and uttered “good morning”. He looked real to me so I asked what he was doing this early, walking in the field, dressed as a civil war soldier. “Oh” he said, “we have a reenactment of the battle today and I decided to get here early to pay my respect to the deceased soldiers.

I tell you, for a while, I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. I had a long talk with the man and he educated me more about the site. We visited the fields and took more pictures. The ghost did appear on my film after all.
I wanted to share these photos with my journal and with whoever reads this blog.

Thank you for reading

Yvon Bourque
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