Jefferson NH: Bringing in the Hay

First Cut ~ Jefferson, NH

Jefferson is one of my go-to places when my shutter finger is twitching. It was twitching after dinner tonight, so I wandered over there.

There are wide swathes of vistas in this little town. Depending on where you are, you can see the Franconia Range, the Presidential Range, farms and barns and bovine.

I passed by this hay field and swung off the road, pondering the rows of cut hay and the unmowed, with a backdrop of Mount Washington and the rest of the presidents. Up the road came this tractor, piloted by an elderly farmer. He hooked up the mower … mind you, this was a few minutes before 8 … and off he went down the field.

The sun setting, the scenery and scent of fresh-mown hay, the first cut of the season was wonderful.

Make hay while the sun shines? I’m sure glad I was there.



The 3 Little Bears

Three Bears, Sugar Hill

The best part of a Friday in early June is that there are still hours of daylight left from the minute you walk out the door of work until the sun goes down. Plenty of time to get home, grab the gear and go look for a great photo.

The lupines are out this weekend around Franconia Notch and tonight there were dozens of people out with their cameras, in fields and along the roadside taking shots of the pretty conical flowers against the backdrop of the White Mountains.

For those of us who swung off on the back roads, and in this case, Lovers Lane in Sugar Hill, we were in for a treat … a momma bear in the middle of a meadow. It became clear it was a momma bear when three cubs scurried out of the tree and scampered around.

Four or five of us were a comfortable distance away, a camaraderie quickly forming.

“There’s another one in the tree!”

“Look at the one getting on her back!”

“This is awesome!”

Soon enough, momma and her cute little cubs headed back to the woods. Those of us left with cameras compared lenses and shots and exposures, before heading back on the road, in search of another shot … but knowing we’d already been pretty darn lucky.



Saturday Sundown

It’s been  long stretch since the last three-day weekend. 101 days. Yeah, I counted.

So it’s always nice when Memorial Day arrives. When you grow up in a summer resort community, it signals the unofficial start of summer and it’s a mindset that follows you wherever you go.  Technically, it’s spring for another couple of weeks, but it was close to 90 today. The water felt good and cold.

This is a glorious weekend, perfect to spend on Lake Winnipesaukee with good friends. And a camera.


A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words …

… but sometimes it needs an introduction


North Monroe Cemetery, Monroe NH

I drive through Monroe at least once or twice a year because it’s on the way to my veterinarian in Vermont. Dr. Hyde has taken very good care of my dogs over the past 13 years and while he’s out of the way, I don’t mind the drive because it is one that doesn’t get old. Or change much.

Before I ever visited Monroe, I read about it on a list compiled by Steve Taylor, who was a newspaperman before he was the longtime commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. Called 100 Things You Should Do To Know the Real New Hampshire, no. 10’s challenge on the list: Drive Route 135 from Woodsville north through Bath and Monroe for a glimpse of an unspoiled 1930s New Hampshire landscape. Being that I like things unspoiled in a landscape, I checked it off many years ago.

Monroe is hard by the Connecticut River; Route 135 bends and winds above it. It has dairy farms surrounded by wide open fields, family farms and, in season, probably more vegetable stands per mile than anywhere else. It’s also the home of Pete and Gerry’s Eggs. In the evening, deer venture into the fields. The sky can be a backdrop for a great blue heron or a bald eagle making its way across it.

I’ve passed by the North Monroe Church and cemetery countless times and today, I pulled over to shoot the tableau. As days go, certainly it was not the most photo friendly, but the scene spoke to me.

First pass through the photos … meh … but on the second pass, the bright colors of a new American flag stood out among the monuments spoke, I suspect because Memorial Day is next week. Over the years, when I was a newspaperman, I did stories and photos of the veterans who carefully placed new flags on the graves of veterans before them and this was a pleasant reminder of some of those assignments.

It also reminds me of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. About this time in my senior year of high school about 100 years ago, I had the option of passing (and therefore graduating) British Lit via a series of multiple choice questions (wasn’t going to happen) or memorizing all 128 lines of the poem. Which I did. In one weekend.

The flag in this photo decorates the grave of Capt. Philip Paddleford.

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but sometimes it needs a brief introduction.


From the Archives: May Day


My time machine is a 1t drive that’s about half full of every digital image I’ve shot since 2008. (The rest, dating back to my first digital camera in 2000, are on CDs. Yeah, I need to deal with that.)

Now and then, I plug in and wander through the photos. Last night I stopped off at May 2009, where the May Pole in Franconia is decorated every year.

Hot summer nights, mid-July …


Since departing my journalism career a few years ago, I set aside the tools of my trade that I’d always kept in arm’s reach – pens (scores of them) and the thin reporter’s notebooks. It helped in the separation, not to feel like any thing in my everyday life had the potential of being a story.

I kept my camera, though, and taking photos has become my creative outlet. I live in the White Mountains, so I do not have to wander far to find a subject, but I also like to just go somewhere and shoot buildings and barns and whatever is in the moment. For the past few years, these photos have joined thousands of others languishing on my external drive.

A couple of years ago, I started experimenting with image transfers to canvas. I wanted to find a way to pair old paper, torn book pages, advertisements, letters with my photos. Lots of reading, lots of experimenting and lots of YouTube videos later, I’ve found a method that I am trying to master.

It’s a relaxing past-time, from the hours spent in antique shops finding paper to sorting through those thousands of images and finding the right photo to pull together a collage. Then comes the paint and glue and textures … and I’ve found another way to tell a story.