When Benjamin was seven-years-old we took him to Gettysburg National Military Park. His love affair with history had been blossoming since he was two-years-old (when he saw an image of the Great Sphinx in a television commercial for an animated program called Little Einsteins).
It was on Little Round Top Benjamin met a Union soldier re-enactor who would awaken his interest in the Civil War. For the next three years our family became immersed in Civil War history. We became regular visitors at Gettysburg (sometimes making the hour-long drive twice in a week!) and attended as many Civil War-themed events as possible - including the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
No matter where he went, Gettysburg remained Benjamin's favorite destination. He dressed the part; a handmade Union soldier costume made by Grandma served as his re-enactor uniform for many years. I captured hundreds and hundreds of photographs of him, including one with actor Stephen Lang (who played Maj. General George Pickett in the film, Gettysburg as well as Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals).
Of all the photographs taken of our son at Gettysburg, the candid images of him are my very favorite. The images I captured of him while he quietly explored the land are the pictures I hold close to my heart. Admittedly, they are not necessarily the most technically flawless images, but they are an absolute portrait of Benjamin at that age, in that moment.
For ever and always in these images - in these moments - Benjamin is seven-years-old or eight-years-old. He is happy and carefree. Each picture is a portrait of our child - historian and explorer - in a landscape he so treasured at the time (and in a different way, treasures still).