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Battery Mishler Gun Emplacement exit, ladders by Dawna Morton

Last spring I got to go on one of the coolest field trips ever with my son. He was enrolled in an online school, Oregon Connections Academy, at the time. We went on an underground tour of battery Mishler at old Fort Stevens. It was like taking a step backward in time right into history. Even though Battery Mishler was burned in a fire started by some vagrants several decades ago, there were still lots of cool things to see. My son had a blast shining his flashlight in every nook and cranny, and I had fun trying out the low light setting on my camera while we listened to our guide explain all the Civil War, World War I, and World War II history involved in what we were seeing. It was really neat, and I would highly advise going if you ever get the chance. Although it is not generally open to the public (for safety reasons they don’t leave it unlocked), You can call in advance and set up a special appointment with a tour guide if you are interested. I would recommend wearing a hat since it is drippy in there. It is also probably good to know that there are stairs, so it isn’t exactly stroller friendly. (There was a student in a wheelchair, and they were able to carry him up and then carry up the chair, so it isn’t impossible–just not easy. There were two sets of stairs if I recall correctly.)

The photographs really turned out cool and unique looking. The light was really tricky with everyone waving flashlights around, and I didn’t have much time to stop for photos at any one location –since I didn’t want to get lost alone in the dark. A tripod would have been nice to have since the slower shutter speed accentuated any movement at all, but I would not have had time to set it up and use it each time we stopped –our guide kept a pretty good pace. A lot of time  even though the camera was still, people and their flashlights and glow sticks were moving, causing a kind of time-lapse photography effect with the longer exposure time on the low light/night photography setting. It also caused the light to have a kind of golden glow to it which I like. In a lot of the pictures my son was shining the light at things so we could actually see what I was photographing. It was really dark in there. Even though there are some overhead lights, they are few and far between, and not very bright. Using the flashlight In conjunction with the low light setting really caused some dramatic lighting effects (which I enhanced later with some editing of course).

Because of time constraints I’m not going to be able post all of the photos here, but you can peruse them in my galleries at Redbubble and Imagekind (and coming soon on Zazzle and Fineartamerica). There were also some photos I took of the other batteries and scenery around Fort Stevens before it started pouring down rain.

view from the Astoria Column Astoria–Megler Bridge by Dawna and J.  Morton

view from the Astoria Column: Astoria–Megler Bridge by Dawna and J. Morton

Next we made a stop at the Astoria column after a break for lunch. I actually let my son borrow my camera for once (with strict instructions not to break it, drop it, etc etc) and let him do the climb by himself with the other students and teachers since I had a wee one asleep in the car by then. He took some great photos–and I’m not saying that just cause I’m his mom. I had some fun editing them, with his permission. He was pretty proud that I liked them enough to post them for sale. They can also be viewed at Redbubble and Imagekind, and will be on Zazzle and Fineartamerica sometime soon.

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