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Civil War Trust

Winning Photos and Photographers

An Interview with Ron Zanoni

"North Carolina amidst the Battlesmoke" by Ron Zanoni is the 2012 Civil War Trust Photography Contest People's Choice Winner.  In this interview we asked Ron about how he came to take this photograph and about his technique and photography secrets.  See all of the 2012 Civil War Trust Photography Contest Winners »

North Carolina amidst the Battlesmoke"North Carolina amidst the Battlesmoke" by Ron Zanoni - our 2012 People's Choice winning photo

Civil War Trust:  Tell us more about how you captured this magnificent photo of the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Ron Zanoni: This photo was taken on a foggy March morning at sunrise with the sun trying to break through the fog. While the original photo would be considered a fine one, the viewers eyes were drawn more towards the sun. Applying a filtering effect gave the monument a better defined silhouette appearance and drew the viewers eye away from the sun and more towards the monument. (More trial and error than skill)

I titled the photo "North Carolina Amidst the BattleSmoke" because the fog gave a sense of how it may have been on field with all of the cannon and musket smoke.

Civil War Trust:  Have you had the chance to visit and photograph other Civil War battlefields?  What are some of your favorites?

Ron Zanoni: My objective is to visit the main Civil War battlefields and to date, I've photographed Gettysburg, Fredricksburg, Petersburg, Antietam, Appomattox and Ft. Sumter. (I've even photographed Valley Forge, but only because it's close to where I live and work). My favorite is Gettysburg for several reasons:

a. It's the site of a major battle near to where I live.

b. It has a large expanse to photograph with wonderful and varied topography.

c. It has the most monuments to capture with endless angles and perspectives.

Civil War Trust:  What sort of photographic equipment do you like to bring to the battlefield?

Ron Zanoni:  I bring almost all of my equipment. An SLR, Advanced Point and Shoot (as backup), tripod, various lenses, various filters, flash attachment and extra batteries! I never know what lens, filters or flash I'll need when I get on the field.

Civil War Trust:  Share with us some of your secrets of capturing great images at Civil War battlefields and sites

Ron Zanoni: When I'm photographing battlefield images, I try to get a different perspective, a different angle, a different close up, or a scene that is aesthetic to the eye or perhaps depict the actions of these warriors as though they are still with us. I also use various post-photo processing software and techniques to enhance the photos in different ways. Perhaps I want to bring out the colors or to sharpen the image or apply textures to it to give it a vintage or antiqued look. 

The Civil War battlefields, especially Gettysburg are filled with art. My aim is to bring that art out in another form that many of us can enjoy.

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