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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Not Shooting Shooting

Not Shooting Shooting

My digital camera went low on batteries today and not having a charger with me, I knew that something worth taking pictures would take place. And few hours later it did. With the astounding inevitability of a physical law.

In the summer of 1866, a battle between the Austrian and Prussian armies took place near my hometown in eastern Bohemia. To commemorate the event, the city and several historical societies organized a reenactment in contemporary costumes and, as a prelude, an audio visual show on the town's old square.

Festivities began after the sunset with the Torch Parade in which legions of soldiers carrying flaming rifles marched to the old town square. Their uniforms were meticulously sown with an eye for detail and their demeanor showed plenty of eagerness for tomorrow's battle. Unlike my camera, their well polished muskets were ready for shooting (I am sure Austria-Hungary would have been proud of their readiness). When the troops were mustered, all the electric lights on the square went out and we could see but the contours of the White Tower and the adjacent gothic cathedral.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and tonight a battery would be worth a thousand pictures. The square packed with people, images from last year's battle projected onto a big screen, blooming fireworks imitating the sounds of shooting, the sparks suffusing the cathedral with a surreal flickering light, ribbons of smoke surrounding the stern towers, a staged skirmish fuelled by the gradating music, girls of a choir clad in white, an onstage cannon going off...

I didn't shoot many pictures today, but I acquired an important piece of experience: whenever I want to watch something magnificent, all I have to do is run the batteries in my camera down.

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