I have been lucky to stay busy lately. I’ve spent the last month leading workshops in the White Mountains and Acadia, attending a photo conference in New York, and now I’m getting started on two new books that will keep me photographing and writing for most of the winter. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of photo shoots for new conservation projects, which is after all why I got into this business of making pictures of New England’s great outdoors.
What I love about shooting land conservation projects is that most of the time I get to photograph in new locations that have yet to be explored by most of the general public. This is great because I don’t go to these places with previously shot images in my head since they have rarely been photographed to any extent. The above photo was made on the Swift River in Albany New Hampshire for a project that will hopefully result in a new Albany Town Forest. I have photographed the Swift plenty of times up the road along the Kancamagus Highway at popular locations like Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge, but the look of the river here, near its confluence with the Saco River is different. The river flattens out and these great cobblestone beaches form along every twist and turn of the river. Upstream, in the national forest, I usually concentrate on showing the power of the river. For this shot, I wanted instead to show the delicate, yet resilient nature that thrives in the margins.
The other project I worked on recently was in the Millstone Hill area in Barre, Vermont. Barre has long been the granite capital of America, and was once home to dozens of quarries that produced granite for buildings across the country. There is only one quarry left in the area, primarily due to competition from other parts of the world where production costs are significantly lower. The Millstone Hill area is largely forested today, but is dotted with ponds that have filled abandoned quarries. The photographic opportunities in here are almost endless with the ponds lined with granite cliffs and discarded blocks of granite surrounded by beautiful hardwood forests. The textures of rocks, reflections, lichens, etc. make for wonderful subjects for both documentary and abstract photography.
About 400 acres here are being proposed as conservation land. The area is already home to dozens of miles of mountain biking and snowshoeing trails, and this would make a great recreation resource for the residents of Barre and nearby Montpelier. The trails are maintained by the Millstone Trails Association. The trail association is partnering with the Trust for Public Land to purchase the land and create a town forest. If you’re a Barre resident, check out the Millstone Trails website for information regarding the town forest project and the town vote scheduled for November 2nd.