When I first started looking into working for the National Park Service Gettysburg was right at the top of my list of ideal places to work. I even flew out to meet with one of the chief rangers at the park to find out more about how I could end up working there. I quickly learned that it would be no simple task to work at Gettysburg, as it is an incredibly desirable park and one of the hardest at which to find employment. Rather than despairing at the difficulties, I have spent the last four years applying for a wide variety of positions in the Park Service (my total tally is over 300) and have had the pleasure of working in four very different positions.
We weren’t supposed to be there that day. The park didn’t invite us. We invited ourselves. It began with a facebook post from the park that Alison and I happened to see when we went to post a picture of ourselves at Cape Cod in October. When we returned from our trip to New England I mentioned the event to my boss and suggested that we should see if we could get ourselves involved. We succeeded in doing precisely that and found ourselves armed with cameras in the National Cemetery at Gettysburg on a cold November morning.
I had the added benefit of an assistant for the day, in the person of my dear wife, who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see Spielberg herself.
I even got to play paparazzi and photograph Spielberg as he was signing autographs and leaving the event.
Less than two weeks later I went up to Antietam to photograph the Memorial Illumination. Over the course of the morning volunteers laid out 23,110 luminaries, each one representing one a casualty of the single bloodiest day in American history.
It was an impressive site to see in the daylight, but even more so once the light faded. Even as the sun set, the luminaries began to come to life. The sunset itself was brilliant, especially since I got to watch it from a position where I was the only person around. It was one of those moments where I had to stop and remind myself that the government was paying me to take pictures of what I was seeing.
There was about a 15 minute window after the sun went down before true darkness set in in which the color in the sky was complemented by the brilliance of the luminaries