Sarah Lee Poole awoke not with a start but with reality slipping in like a fog. Reality had a nasty habit of pushing pleasant dreams aside. Sarah didn't exactly remember the dream, but she knew it did not include John Sandberg. He came to her reality as she moved her camera box aside. The Box reminded her that Sandberg would be on the small rise beside her as she shot a couple of exposures of the troops.
She hadn't planned to spend much time on the battle, since nobody would be paying her for that part of the day. Unlike Sandberg and half the others with cameras, Sarah had little interest in the battle itself. He profit would be from the walk around camp candid shots, and the formal portraits she would be shooting at her wagon.
Everything in the wagon had been designed for the reenactment. From the plywood floor, that would double as a studio wall when attached to the side of the wagon, to the small folding benches lashed to the inside walls, the wagon was a portable studio. Sarah could even make a tintype if pressed. Not the real ones of course but a fairly convincing fake. She would have to do the actual work at home, but it was doable.
Her breakfast was from a freeze-dried package. She promised herself yet again that she would start eating better. Instead of real food, it was coffee and instant oatmeal again. The coffee made with boiling water from her teapot poured over a tea bag filled with coffee grounds. She spent at least a minute dunking the coffee bag up and down in the boiling water. She never cared for the ritual, but it beat the hell out of her dad's coffee making on the road.
Her dad would pour a hand full of coffee in a pot and just boil the hell out of it. When it was boiling to beat hell, he would strain it through cheese cloth. The straining removed about 95% of the coffee grounds, which seemed to be close enough for him. It was not close enough for Sarah.
After her miserable breakfast, she went about the camp site making pictures of the men who had begun to stir. Sarah Lee usually could scrounge up coffee to refill her cup as she went along. It was unusual but not unheard of, to see the park ranger's pickup in the camp area. They usually tried to stay out of sight during the reenactment. A 2005 Ford truck did a real number on the 'lost in time' feeling that the re enactors paid good money to experience.
Sarah never did see the ranger, the truck was just there one minute, and then twenty minutes later when she looked again, it was gone. Since it had no significance to the reenactment, it got only a passing thought. Sarah had bigger things on her mind. She had to change the film in her film holders. Sarah's day was starting out just like any other day at a reenactment.
The battle didn't start till 10am. Unlike the real battle this one had a schedule. It followed the events of the day pretty close but, there still had to be a schedule for the visitors. There also was a published program, after all you can't tell the players without a program.
Sarah lugged her heavy wooden tripod to the small rise set aside for her, and she supposed Sandberg as well as the local press photographers. The amount of plastic that would be on that mound would be a bit of a shock to a retro photographer.
Sarah knew exactly where everyone would be at any given time. She also had her shots planned to the tiniest detail. The four by five film holders would be a bitch to change quickly, so she planned when to do it. One shot of the field when the Yanks came from the woods line and one of the rebel's defense lines, then change the film holder before they met in the middle of the field. With the second film holder, a shot of the battle before it went medieval. Close combat with long muskets with fixed bayonet could hardly be called anything else. Then the last shot to show the confusion of hand to hand combat.
Now and then Sarah would remove the pocket watch from the men's suit vest she wore. She would first check the time, and then look off to the trail leading from the park ranger's office. Since Sarah had arrived early, there was still lots of time before the show began. She had set up early to secure the best possible position, at least she told herself that.