Friday, June 14, 2019

Adventures in Gravestone Photography

I've mentioned before that I volunteer as a gravestone photographer.  I received three photo requests this morning and decided today would be a good day to fill them. So I ventured out to a little cemetery I'd never seen before. It was next to a church, but the church hasn't been used in 10 years. I don't know how the parishioners accessed the church even then because there's nowhere to park--not by the church, nor anywhere else within reasonable walking distance. 

I was determined not to leave without taking pictures, so I turned into the closest road and pulled as far over as I could, and left my car there. I then set out on an uphill hike to the cemetery. I didn't realize right away how dangerous this was. The road isn't heavily traveled, but when a car or truck comes by, it's flying. With the road's hills and twists, visibility isn't always the best. And the shoulder, if we can call it that, was just a tangle of poison ivy and tall weeds--some as tall as my face.

I don't normally get a lot of exercise. (My daughter once gave me a mug that reads, "Typing fast is my cardio.") I have back issues, and I don't remember the last time I walked that far--and certainly not uphill! I had to stop twice to catch my breath and ease my burning calves. But I made it, and had photographed about 2/3 of the stones when my camera battery died. Oy. I'd left the spare battery in the car, along with the list of photo requests.

I haven't gone through all the pics yet, so I don't yet know if I actually fulfilled the requests. I do know I made it back down the hill without getting killed, and I also know there's no way I'm doing that particular adventure again. Maybe another volunteer photographer can arrive in a helicopter, although that does seem unlikely.

8 comments:

Julia said...

Oh my goodness, Susan, you are a true trooper to venture there all alone. I hope that you had your cell phone with you and that you did fulfill all your requests... Sorry about the battery dying. I hope that you didn't get poison ivy on your legs as you mentioned your burning calves. It sounds like this cemetery isn't visited often. It was quite an adventure. I'm glad you made it back to the car safely.
Take care and enjoy the weekend. I hope that the roofers are doing a good job,
Hugs, Julia

Susan said...

Hi, Julia! Thanks for reading. No poison ivy, thank goodness. I was wearing tall rubber boots (defense against poison ivy and ticks), and my calves were burning because they're not used to that much exertion. I left my cell phone in the car too. It was a comedy of errors! Except I didn't laugh until the next day. :-)

Indigo Bunting said...

Ugh! Hope you got a couple of the right shots...

Susan said...

Thanks! I think I got one. :-)

Helen said...

You're so intrepid (and are inspiring me to search for a more interesting hobby).

Susan said...

Helen (so happy to see you here!), this hobby, in addition to being fun and interesting (and sometimes sad--those children!), is a good deed. I started doing it 11 years ago after discovering online photos of my great-great-grandparents' gravestones in England. I was moved to see them, and grateful to the anonymous person who took the pictures.

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

Wow--a secret, semi-abandoned cemetery. I didn't know there were any left.

Susan said...

Apparently it was a secret only to me; the local Catholics are quite familiar with it. But we have two cemeteries in the county (two that I know of) that qualify as secret. They, too, can be reached only on foot, but they're tucked away. One is terribly overgrown. I hope someday a young man will make its restoration his Eagle Scout project.