|Fe4lls View to Lake Sunapee|
Last week I listed some of the educational highlights of my 2016. This included what I have learned from organizing and presenting courses on digital photography and on the processing of images in Lightroom. This week I want to celebrate some of the opportunities I had in 2016 to extend my photographic experiences, both throughout New England and outside of my comfortable home ground.
Christmas at the Fells
This year friends Carrie and Jeff introduced us to the beautiful summer retreat built by John Hay, former secretary to Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State to William McKinley and Theodor Roosevelt. The estate now sits on land preserved as a wildlife refuge along the shores of Lake Sunapee in Newbury New Hampshire.
The occasion for our visit was the Annual Christmas at the Fells, when local designers decorate the rooms of the mansion with their own style of holiday finery. It was a great time to tour the house and, although the estate is now closed for the winter, we will be back, especially to wander the beautiful grounds and flower gardens.
Super Moon 11/20
It seems like there is a “Super Moon” every other month. The overhyped occurrences of a full moon when the moon is closest in its elliptical orbit (at perigee) is usually advertised as an opportunity to see the orb at its most dramatic. The actual size increase is quite minor, but this fall, we were treated to a “super” super moon when it was the biggest since 1948.
My blog article about this event was mostly dedicated to debunking all the excitement about this barely noticeable increase in lunar diameter, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dust off my Photographer’s Ephemeris to find the perfect spot to catch the “super” event rising above Mount Monadnock. It was a lovely evening and I was excited to invite fellow regional photographer Steve Hooper for company. The moon rose exactly where it was predicted and, with the help of a long lens, I was able to make it look as super as advertised.
2017 New England Reflections Calendar 10/24
Choosing the pictures for my annual New England Reflections Calendar is an agonizing task, but it is always exciting to create a work which both celebrates the beauty of our region and benefits the patients at The Cheshire Medical Center who daily struggle with the challenges of living with chronic lung disease.
Photographing the DeMar Marathon 10/12
It is unfortunate that Keene’s famous Pumpkin Festival has passed away. It was always a great opportunity for me to shoot a unique community event, but the pumpkin festival had grown to unsustainable proportions and succumbed to the effects of its own success. It was a remarkable run, but not the only event that represents autumn in our quiet corner of New England.
Happily, the Monadnock Region’s strong sense of community has expressed itself in other ways. Keene’s DeMar Marathon has become one of the region’s most important autumn events, bringing the community together to energetically celebrate the health of our people. Supplementing the beautiful 26-mile course, are events for the entire family.
|Along the Cold River|
A half marathon, and shorter runs for children and seniors are all part of the event.This year I was asked by the Marathon organizers to help by photographing the race route and recording some of the excitement during race day. I had a great time and I didn’t even have to break a sweat.
|Kids and Senior Marathoners|
Magical Monhegan Island 9/26
Monhegan Island lies about twelve miles off the coast of Maine. It is an artist colony and quiet retreat that I visited for a day trip about seven years ago. I had always wanted to return of a longer stay, and last fall, I finally convinced Susan to join me for a few days of isolation in the middle of the Gulf of Maine. I wanted a week, she agreed to three days. The island is just 1.75 miles long and .75 miles wide. On one side is a tiny village of artist bungalows, a few guest B&Bs and a couple of small hotels. The other side of the island faces the open Atlantic. It is largely a wild, undeveloped seacoast with hardy pine forests and stark rocky cliffs. There are wonderful hiking trails and endless opportunities to photograph the natural flora and fauna of our northern seacoast. This was my first chance to get out on a serious shoot with my new 5D Mark II and to try-out my new titanium hip. I had a great time and was pleased that I handled the rocky trails without difficulty.
Art in the Park 9/4
I generally don’t do art fairs, but the one exception is Keene’s Art in the Park. Once every year I pull out my old EZ-Up tent and show my work at this local event. It is amazing how exhausting it can be to spend two days sitting in a lawn chair doing nothing, but, at the Keene event, I get to see lots of local friends and that makes it all worthwhile – I guess. This year we continued our remarkable string of good weather. Art in the Park is always scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend and when the late summer weather is nice it can be VERY nice.
Exploring the Cheshire Fair 8/14
I have lived in the Monadnock Region for over thirty-five years. During that time my photography has taken me everywhere, but, for some reason, this year was the first time I have ever visited the Cheshire Fair,
The fair, which was in its 78th year, had all the traditional attractions, including Four-H competitions, tractor and oxen pulls, a rodeo, and a demolition derby. Of course, there is the full variety of terrible food, most of which involves frying things that were never intended to be fried. It was a great, self-imposed, photo assignment. I especially enjoyed shooting the color and action of the gut-retching carnival rides, which I observed but would NEVER consider trying. In just a few hours I captured a wide range of activities and humanity and it all ended with a respectable fireworks display. I’m sure I will be back – perhaps in another 35 years.
Chasing Rainbows 7/2
|Rainbow First Discovered|
Like everyone, I have always enjoyed the magical beauty of rainbows, especially when I was lucky enough to have a camera in hand. As I studied the physics of rainbow formation, I learned that their occurrence and behavior could be predicted and that finding these seemingly random swaths of color need not be totally a matter of luck. I have written about the rules of rainbows, and this year I had a chance to test my understanding.
|Lucky Rainbow, Rye Beach NH|
I was sitting in my office last July, enjoying the power of a passing thunderstorm. There was no rainbow, but I knew that, with the receding storm bank to the east and the setting sun to the west, a rainbow was likely to form. I climbed into the car and set out to chase the edge of the storm. By the time I got to Keene, the rainbow was before me and, as I moved along the storm’s track to the southeast, I was able to capture multiple occurrences of the colorful display. I finally ended up getting a full arch over a cemetery in Troy New Hampshire. It was an exciting evening of photography and a great chance to confirm what I learned about rainbow chasing.
Natural Wonder of Costa Rica 1/24
Last year we managed one major trip away from New England. We joined a small group, including our friends Jeff, Carrie, on a natural history tour of Costa Rica. It was great to escape the January cold, to experience the widely diverse tropical wonders of this lovely Central American country. Obviously, there were endless subjects for photography, including varied range of ecosystems, from the tropical rain forests to the mountainous highlands.
|Sangerado Valley Mist|
On our many hikes, we discovered a wide variety of native and migratory birds. Over our two week tour we recorded over 70 different species and I was fortunate to capture much of this amazing diversity. The experience has not converted me into a dedicated birder, but I do have a fuller understanding of what attracts some to this pursuit.
|Prospect Hill Reflection, 2017 Calendar|
This is only a quick summary of a few of the highlights of 2016. In a year that had more than its fair share of depressing news, It is helpful to that my photography continues to provide opportunities for distraction and to rejoice in the beauty of our world.