Sunday, October 18, 2009
Worth a Thousand Words
Currently being without a camera makes it clear to me that this blog has always taken a visual lead, that is, the prose supporting the photos rather that the more traditional photos supporting the prose.
I like taking pictures, and this digital revolution has made photography inexpensive, easy, and almost as essential as any of the five senses. That my camera died of exhaustion is no surprise really when I consider that it has been on my belt and in daily use for nearly two years. The Canon Powershot has also freed up my videography, making it easier to shoot video on the fly with very adequate sound and picture quality considering the compactness of the camera. Lest this start sounding too much like a commercial I end by simply saying that Canon is a pretty swell little camera.
Had I a functioning camera yesterday I could have taken some shots of two tour-hour Ranger-led tour. In lieu of a photo merely visualize cold weather coupled with a light, saturating rain. It was ragged and bone-chilling. I ended up telling the whole battle story from the warmth and comfort of the observation room and then inviting those who wished to join me for a drive around the park with stops at the iconic areas of the battlefield for additional narrative and conversation. I actually had about 25 true-believers go the distance with me for the following hour out on the field. Considering the rotten weather it turned out to be quite a delightful time.
Every season I find myself incorporating a new theme or element in my talks, and this year I've hit upon one that has really resonated with my audience. After I greet everyone and lay out the goals for the two hour tour, I offer this observation;
"Now I know that a good percentage of this group is made up of true believers - life-time students of the Civil war, another percentage represents the real good sports who've come along for the ride, and I'm also fully aware that among you are the outright hostages who'd much rather be elsewhere. My aim, for all of you, is to make this the best two hours of your day".
The good sports and the hostages really seem to enjoy the recognition; which they really do deserve. Not everyone shares our passion, but thank goodness they can suffer ours with such good grace.
And that grace is something I wouldn't be able to do justice to with even with the best of cameras.
Maintaining focus, just north of Sharpsburg,