Monday, August 30, 2010

Gettysburg Battlefield!

I did a solo trip to Gettysburg National park this past weekend. This was the first time I made a trip to a 'touristy' location in US all by myself. It was a different experience having to navigate the auto tour using a map and driving at the same time. I started out at the visitor center where the national park guiderecommended me to visit the museum before I go on the auto tour. I am not a great fan of museums (and nothing much to photograph there either) so I paced through the various sections of the museum fairly quickly. If you like museums and a fan of history, this is a great place for you! If not, you may skip the museum. There was a interactive video and the famous Cyclorama in the visitor center, I skipped them too!

After a quick visit to the museum and a customary visit to the restroom, I headed back to the car and started the auto tour. The auto tour at Gettysburg National park is about 20 miles long (most of which is one way and perfectly guided by signboards). It covers pretty much all of the important spots that are relevant to the three day part of the civil war that happened at Gettysburg battlefield. Gettysburg battle is apparently bloodiest of all wars where more than 51000 soldiers died in a span of about 3 days (in July 1863). It was a little brutal to realize the amount of bloodshed, but what else can I expect during a visit to a battlefield?!

I followed the tour map and visited the various marked spots, stopping very frequently for photographs. I also considered this trip as a test run for my new Canon 7D before my trip to Germany/Amsterdam next week. Of all the features, I liked Canon 7D for its sheer speed. Man, the camera is quick! 7D takes 3 shots in less than a second, which I could never have achieved in my older 450D. The day was quite bright and I was able to shoot HDRs, without tripod most of the time.

Flipside of the day being too bright was it was too freaking hot. After every few pictures, I had to take refuge in my car as the sun was scorching right on the top of my head. But that did not stop me from continuing the tour. As I drove through the tour route, I marked a few spots in the map to come back during sunset (as I thought those places would be more beautiful to photograph during sunset).

I liked the Pennsylvania memorial better than many other spots for it gave me a complete panoramic view of the surroundings and still presenting a beautiful foreground. I took close to 4 hours for the auto tour, when the park officer suggested it would take about 2 and half hours. Maybe I spent too much time photographing a few spots than he had imagined.

During sunset, I was in the 'The Angle' region which in my opinion was the best! It could not have gotten better, I spent about 1 hour there (forgetting all about the other spots I had marked before to revisit - maybe some other time!). The region was very beautiful and every photographer would enjoy this place for the sheer number of different composition ideas this place offers! I had a great time and considered that a satisfying end to a tiring day.

Overall, Gettysburg is a great place if you are either a history buff or a photo enthusiast. For others, it might be a slight toss up!

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