Close Assault - Memorial Day Weekend at Camp Mabry 2015

It has become customary for me to spend some time at Camp Mabry on Memorial Day weekend photographing their Close Assault WWII Reenactment. The actual battle reenactment is brief at this event. The focus is on giving a living history lesson by discussing the weapons, gear, tactics, and conditions of the battlefield in the war against Germany. I'm always amazed at the effort these reenactors put into staging historically accurate events like this. They do so at their own expense (and it is VERY expensive). They do this not to glorify war. They do it to educate and remind folks of the realities of war and the great sacrifices that it demands. 

Memorial Day weekend is a time when Americans get to enjoy a 3 day weekend with friends and family. It is easy to forget that the reason this holiday exists is for we as country to take a day to reflect and remember the countless lives that were lost in defense and preservation of the freedoms we cherish. The most powerful moment at Campy Mabry's reenactment events for me is always the close of the program. The troops line up to offer a salute and a moment of silence for their country's fallen soldiers. War is a terrible thing but sometimes it becomes a necessity. We hope that when we fight it is for a just cause. We hope that out of the destructiveness of war that a greater good is achieved. When we fight, one thing is certain. Many will go to battle - too many will not return. It is those who gave everything they had to give that we remember on Memorial Day.

While the battle reenactment at Campy Mabry is the highlight for many in attendance, I am there to mingle with the troops as inconspicuously as possible. These folks take their roles seriously and I don't want to interfere with their portrayals. I strive to see and capture those moments when the reenactors are lost in their characters - the battle stares, the looks of concentration as plans and safety rules are recalled, the attentiveness to preparations of uniforms, weapons, and vehicles. Those "war faces" if you will.

Images were captured with a Fujifilm XT-1 and XF 55-200mm lens. Full image gallery from the event is here.

Guns of 1863

This past weekend I got to attend "Guns of 1863" a Civil War reenactment event at Camp Mabry in Austin. Anyone who follows my work knows that I'm fond of photographing the WWII events at this National Guard base. This was my first time attending a Civil War event. As always, the focus was on presenting an accurate living history lesson. Attendees were educated on the uniforms, flags, weapons, and musical instruments used on the battlefields of this dark time in American history. I learned a number of things about the Civil War myself. The facts and statistics about the loss of life was staggering. What a horrific period. These events are held by the Texas Military Forces Museum's Living History Detachment not to glorify war but to educate and remind us of its cost and consequences.

While many people come to see a battle reenactment, my favorite part these events is always wandering amongst the reenactors and looking for those moments that they are immersed in their characters. These people take their roles as living historians seriously and at great personal sacrifices of time and expense. As my way of saying thanks for what they do, here are some of the "war faces" of the Civil War as seen in 2015 at Camp Mabry. My full gallery of images from the event can be viewed here.

Images were captured with a Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 55-200mm lens, Classic Chrome simulation.

Handbuilt Motorcycle Show 2015

Last weekend I stopped by the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show that was put on by Revival Cycles in Austin. I attended last year and I was looking forward to making a return visit. I love motorcycles and while I'm not very mechanically inclined I do appreciate the art, creativity, and ingenuity that goes into building these machines. I tried to get more detail shots this time. While the overall motorcycles were great, there were some amazing details on them if you got in close and looked things over - something that is easy to do and encouraged at this show. From machine shop creations to custom paint, there were a lot of interesting and inspiring creations to admire. Here are a few samples of the many bikes on display. My full image gallery from the show is here.

Fuji geekery - All images were shot with a Fujifilm X-T1 and the XF 14mm f/2.8 lens. Classic Chrome in camera, adjusted for tone and contrast in Lightroom.