America’s first Thanksgiving – 23 years before the Pilgrims landed!

First Thanksgiving by illegal aliens no less!

Juan de Onate and his expedition of 500 on April 30, 1598 stumbled into the San Elizario, Texas area. They were out of food, water and at the end of their strength. When they arrived at the Rio Grande Don Juan de Onate held a Thanksgiving celebration.

Click image for a better view
The San Elizario Chapel is not a mission as most people believe, rather it served as a chapel for the fort the Spaniards built. The organizers of this reenactment of America’s first Thanksgiving did a fantastic job decorating the area right in front of the chapel. I took this picture with the Nikon D90 and the Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye. I love this lens! It offers so many choices when taking a picture.
ISO 200, 10mm, f/5.6, 1/2000th.
I decided to concentrate on faces for the most part since it’s really difficult to photograph and display a story line.
click on image for a better view
This guy is a member of the San Elizario Desperados, a reenactment group. They did a fantastic job entertaining the audience as you can see from this image.

This kind of picture is exactly what I was looking for. Lot’s of character and fun. The picture grabs your eyeballs and forces you to look.
I arrived at San Elizario one hour before show time. That gave me plenty of opportunities to walk around the plaza, and talk with the actors. I took a lot of pictures before the show but tossed most of them because of bad background. I wanted to stay as pure as possible, shooting authentic looking characters with authentic backgrounds. Getting to know the actors before showtime helped  because they would look my way and play to my camera during the show.
I took this image with the Nikon D5000 and the Nikkor 18-200mm lens. ISO 200 f/8, 1/320th 42mm.
The Nikkor 18-200mm was the workhorse of the day. With the exception of the first image showing the chapel, I shot everything else using the 18-200mm. This is a great “walk around” lens.

click on image for a better view
I photographed this beautiful young lady before the show and was lucky enough to catch her with a nice background. Of course I was flirting with her, that explains the beautiful smile. Shmoozing with the actors was really important because I wanted good pictures.
click on image for a better view
This handsome young man was actually sitting on a small pony. Shooting the boy with the pony in any kind of pose or background was impossible. I think every kid in San Elizario was crowded around him and his pony. I opted for shooting this image, which I thought cute.
click on image for a better view
Another member of the San Elizario Desperados. This image was also shot before the show began.
click on image for a better view
This beautiful Native Amrican woman was with the organizing officials. She took part in the opening ceremonies. To get a shot like this requires a bit of patience and staying focused on the subject until she is in the clear and has a nice bright smile. I did let her know that I was photographing her, so she could give me a quick pose.
Click on image for a better view
The most difficult problem with this kind of shoot is location. YOUR location. In order to get this shot I had to get in front of the crowd and just sit in the street. I moved around quite a bit trying for different angles and perspectives. I never stay in one location too long because the pictures then tend to become stale and static.
I had a great time and hope you enjoyed the pictures.
I am not a professional, I take pictures for the fun of it and let my cameras take me to beautiful places and interesting events.
Please use the provided links for your shopping. Stay safe and have a fun time with your camera.
Don’t forget to write if you have any tips, or news. I like to hear from you!
Guest writers on photography related subjects cordially invited.
Please link to this blog. I really need the links and appreciate them greatly.

My Flicker Photostream
My babe photostream on Flickr
My SmugMug account

Amazon Hot Deals