Battle of Hastings Reenactment Photos 2017
I’ve photographed this event a few times over the years. A love of history means I never tire of an opportunity to cross paths with those well versed in our past. Historical re-enactments are wonderful learning opportunities, not just the spectacle but the chance to talk to so many people who have so much expertise and knowledge. For me, talking to the re-enactors is as important as photographing them.
The battle of 1066 changed our national heritage forever and it can be unnerving standing on the site of such an historic and bloody event. Senlac Hill was the main site of the battle, with a number of skirmishes taking place nearby. It’s a fascinating era and well worth reading about in detail. It also reminds us of the fact that our monarchs have often faced rivals for the throne, and arguably those in the lead genetically aren’t always those who wear the crown. It was often more complicated than that – veering from those most suited to those who seized power by force. At the time of the Norman conquest there were three contenders for the throne (well, four actually if you count the youngest who was still a child, unable to assert his rights). Harold Godwinson, brother in law to the then King Edward – rich and a proven leader. William, Duke of Normandy (a distant cousin of King Edward) whose claim rested on a perceived promise. Then we have the unpopular but powerful Harald Hardrada, King of Norway and a descendant of the English kings, through Canute. In fact the strongest genetic claim lay with Edgar the Aetheling, with his direct lineage to the Saxon kings. Even though he was arguably the rightful heir, Edgar was just a boy and he had no hope of defending his birthright.
We know what happened next, and it’s always fascinating to get a fairly authentic glimpse into how the respective armies fought and equipped themselves. The level of detail recreated by the re-enactors is extraordinary, down to the same materials and the same cooking techniques, not to mention the weaponry. I’m always amazed there aren’t more broken bones at these events, as the fighting is pretty forceful.
This will very likely be the last time I’ll photograph the battle, my body isn’t holding up too well now when it comes to being on my feet for too long. This also partly explains why my regular blog readers have seen a dramatic drop in the personal outings I’ve blogged about so frequently over the years. I’ll still blog when I can, but I’ll be saving my energy for client shoots which involve fewer miles and less time standing.
Focal lengths of up to about 300mm (in FX terms) are ideal for these occasions. I worked mostly with a classic 70-200mm f4 lens (in super 35 mode on the A7rii). I also had the Pana GX8 with the Leica 100-400, but that was overkill and didn’t see much use. Some of the wider pictures and groups were taken with the Pana LX100. I like to shoot as candidly as possible, catching entirely unscripted moments and expressions which wouldn’t be particularly easy to recreate otherwise.