I've been a volunteer at Governors Island National Monument for the past four years. In that time, I've had the opportunity to interact with the rangers and staff of the park, the many volunteers who each bring their own areas of interest and expertise to contribute, and you, the visiting public. As photographer for the park I've explored the nooks and crannies of Fort Jay and Castle Williams and taken many thousands of photographs of those historic structures as well as the flora and fauna of the island, the volunteers, the rangers and the public.
I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you a few of these photos.
Fort Jay is the large, star shaped fort which occupies the hilltop in the center of the island. The sandstone gatehouse topped by the eagle sculpture, is the oldest structure on the island. The large Rodman guns seen on the bastions and ravelin were ready if needed during the Civil War.
Castle Williams, designed by Jonathan Williams a nephew of Benjamin Franklin, was the first American designed fortification. Built of Newark Sandstone walls 8 feet thick and 40 feet high, it's four decks could hold as many as 107 cannon. Their field of fire, meshing with those from fortifications on other harbor islands, deterred the British from attacking New York in 1812 (instead, they burned Washington DC).
Castle Williams Interiors
During the Civil War, and for many years afterwards, Castle Williams was used as a prison. During the Coast Guard years, it served as a community center, and eventually as a storage facility. These photos highlight the massive arched structure of the Castle which helped strengthen it against enemy fire, (a shot was never fired against it in anger though) the features which made it a prison, and some of the recreational venues it housed.
It has been my privilege to work with members of various Living History groups at the annual Civil War Weekend at Governors Island National Monument, held in early August to commemorate garrison life.
Governors Island in Infrared
Infrared photography captures images using only light in the infrared part of the spectrum. Wavelengths of visible light are blocked by an opaque red filter. Foliage is a good emitter of infrared so usually appears almost white. Skies are often darker. Because of the very long exposures used (20-30 seconds, a tripod is a must), on all but the stillest days, foliage will often appear slightly blurred.
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All images © 2006-2009 by Daniel Krebs