The Battle of Fort George – 2017

The Battle of Fort George – 2017

Many people have asked me how I first got into the reenacting hobby; my answer is a strange one for some. I got into the hobby through photography. It was back in 2008 when the Fort York Guard requested that I come along to the annual Siege of Fort Erie event to grab some photos. I walked away with some great shots, and my presence soon migrated to the 7th Battalion, 60th Regiment of Foot, a brand new reenacting unit at that point. I watched as these dedicated individuals portrayed what the British military was like during the Anglo-American War of 1812 and learned a lot more about the conflict than I had in Grade 8 history. In 2011, I made a decision, having saved up enough money I was going to join the hobby, and trade my camera in for a musket (not literally of course).

A Spring in his Step
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Taking the Polish
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

Getting the Polish On
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (stock) 6:00 @ 20C

I would still bring a camera with to some events, capturing more behind-the-scenes actions of camp life as a reenactor and the quirks of my unit (7/60th of course). Occasionally, I would still visit an event as a photographer, or even take a day off if I had some injury or lack of a unit to march with, which has become less an issue today. But I usually left the big guns at home because often I don’t have the room to lug around any more than a small collection of compact cameras and no long telephotos. This year’s Fort George Event had a bit of a twist; we were staying in the blockhouse on the site, so I had a secure spot for my camera gear and not having to bring all the camping gear I had room in my car.

Stalking the Line
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

You Call that Polished?
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Drum Major
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Efke KB100 @ ASA-100 – Blazinal (1+50) 10:00 @ 20C

Saturday I stuck to the Hasselblad 500c as I was shooting for the July Summer Film Party contest and I joined the 10th Royal Veteran Battalion for both the change of command ceremony and the two battles. All of them went off wonderfully with the evening tactical being a favourite of mine. On Sunday I was ready to shoot differently, with a proper event kit, that is my Nikon F5 and 70-200mm telephoto lens and several rolls of film.

The Look
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Sentry Duty
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Oh Hai
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Kodak Plus-X @ ASA-125 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:00 @ 20C

Having studied the work of several photographers who frequent events, namely Michael Hurley, and taking the critique from my lovely wife to heart I left the wide and normal lenses at home and packed the only the 70-200mm and 105mm lenses in order to photograph the people as well as the battle itself. And the best part is that I woke up Sunday in the right mood for some people photography. Locking my lens into f/4, I went to work around camp. The joys of being known as both a reenactor and a photographer are that I can wander about at will.

Come on Lads
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

Let's Show 'em what we're made of
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

One Final Volley
Nikon F5 – AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G VR – Agfaphoto Vista Plus @ ASA-400 – Processing By: Burlington Camera

When it came time to do battle I switched out for a colour film stock, thanks to my friend James. I had never shot Agfaphoto Vista Plus a fast colour negative film but it sure felt and behaves like Fuji Superia 400, even down to the negative marks on the edges. And of course switching into a shutter priority mode, something I had not done before when shooting a battle sequence. Now the trick with shooting a reenactment is burst shooting, but having only a single roll of 36-Exposures, I had to trust my gut and ability to shut off the brain and listen for the commands. Make ready, bring the camera up and compose the image, present, half-press the shutter release to get focus and exposure, FIRE, fire off a single shot. A little different than with a musket, but sometimes you need to adapt to a situation. A different way of doing things like the two digital shooters flanking me. If you want to see the full set head over to my Flickr set.

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