Shade at mid-day
I am guessing that this photo was made between 1885 and 1900. Looking at the men, I think that they might have been in the War when they were in their 20's, 30's or 40's, and now they are in their 50's, 60's or 70's.
They seem a little self-conscious in the presence of the camera, but I can imagine that many lively conversations were carried on under the shade of this tree, as these gentlemen traded stories of their wartime experiences and exploits.
I've seen benches like this in quite a few old time photographs. I think they're very inviting. At any time of day, you could find a place to sit in the shade.
I wonder why these benches have fallen out of fashion? Are we so comfortable in our houses and on our decks that we don't venture out to sit under a tree anymore?