Vacation: Petersburg National Battlefield & Myrtle Beach


Knowing my fondness for photographing battlefields, Jonathan suggested I might find a site to photograph on our drive down to Myrtle Beach to see his family for Memorial Day weekend.  This naturally led to hours of research, since there are quite a few battlefields between DC and South Carolina.  Looking for a smaller site I’d feel satisfied photographing over the course of a couple of hours, I selected Petersburg National Battlefield, a battle I’d never previously heard of.

Leaving after work, we arrived at the Econo Lodge in Colonial Heights, VA in time to go right to sleep in order to wake up bright and early to fuel up at the Dixie Restaurant in downtown Petersburg.  The day was chilly, but gave us a beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds- a perfect backdrop.

25 miles south of Richmond, Petersburg was an important supply route with its 5 railroads lines and key roads.  Late in the war, the battle of Petersburg would occur when both Grant and Lee realized its importance and the siege of Petersburg became the longest military event of the Civil War at 9.5 months and resulting in 70,000 casualties.  After an informational video, we set out to see The Dictator, a gigantic mortar that launched 220 lb shells.

Below is the same photo of earthworks at Petersburg.  The first is HDR and the second was converted to black and white and each have a very different feel.

The same earthworks.  I can imagine that they were effective- between the soldiers in the trench and the sharpened wooden planks, I would have been loathe to approach!


Next up is my favorite photo of the day.  I tried to capture what it would have been like to try to attack one of these earthworks.  Granted, I am rather short, but the sharpened timber certainly would’ve prevented me access.  It must have been terrifying for both advancing men and horses.  The first is a normally-edited photo and the second is in HDR.

The same great shot evokes a distinct mood when edited three ways.  The first is obvously HDR while the other two are desaturated and oversaturated.

I particularly liked this monument, which listed the names of each of the dead or injured and on what day they passed away or were wounded.  It was thorough enough to include those who subsequently died from injuries received at Petersburg, but who passed away many weeks or months later.

After the battlefield, we hit the road to meet Jonathan’s mother, sister, brother-in-law and his family in Myrtle Beach.  Having gotten my photography fix at Petersburg anyway, there wouldn’t have been much of a photography focus on the family-oriented trip . . . which turned out to be good, since my Canon 60D took a dip in a pool and is now resting in peace!  🙂

Oh, and why am I looking particularly stylish in wearing my glasses on the beach?  I had to spend a week without contacts before my LASIK surgery on 5 June!

2 responses to “Vacation: Petersburg National Battlefield & Myrtle Beach

  1. Pingback: Vacations: Honeoye for My Niece’s Wedding | Kara Smedley Images·

  2. Pingback: Day Trip: Butler’s Orchard | Kara Smedley Images·

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