AMC White Mountains Workshop Updates

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel my Appalachian Mountain Club Winter Photography Workshop due to low enrollment. This winter has been a tough one for the outdoor industry in New England because it has been so bitter cold. Apparently, people would rather stay indoors when the mercury falls well below zero. However, I am happy to announce that this autumn I will be offering another workshop through the AMC in the White Mountains. Join me for a fall foliage in the Whites October 3-5th. There are a ton of photo opportunities in the area that are just bursting with color during peak foliage season – the photo below was taken just down the road from the Highland Center, where the workshop will be based. I’m already excited!

Silver Cascade, autumn, maple, Crawford Notch State Park, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

Silver Cascade in Autumn : Prints Available

Autumn maples in fall color line the banks of Silver Cascade in red, orange, and yellow.

AMC White Mountains Workshop Announced

I am excited to announce that I will be leading a winter photography workshop with the Appalachian Mountain Club in the White Mountains this winter! This three day workshop based out of the AMC’s Highland Center will explore the beauty of New Hampshire’s White Mountains in all their winter glory. Lodging is included and the dates are Feb 28-March 2. For more information and to register, please visit the AMC’s website.

Winter Embrace : Prints Available

On a December day in New Hampshire, unseasonably warm temperatures and rain cause winter snow to melt and turn to fog, shrouding bare trees in a damp white mist.

Change

The world is always changing. Our lives are always changing. Seasons, each year, bring a change to the landscape too.

Seasons Change : Prints Available

Photographs are fun because they capture a brief visual moment in our ever changing world. Whether it be a landscape frozen in time, the look on the face of a new bride as she exchanges vows with her spouse, or the flopping ears and goofy grin of your favorite pet running to greet you, those moments are one of a kind. Each moment like this, each smile of a loved one, each second of shared laughter, is unique and beautiful. While a photograph doesn’t capture all of the beauty of those moments, sometimes they are nice to look at because they help us remember.

I really admire people who photograph subjects different from nature and wildlife. When I started getting serious about photography, I mostly shot sports because I had easy access to sporting events and they were a subject I liked. It’s been a while since I’ve photographed anything but nature and outdoor subjects, but sometimes I think I ought to try to expand my horizons again. There are so many wonderful things I have experienced that just don’t have photographs of because they don’t fit with the genre I’ve placed myself in, and that’s a shame.

I don’t think photographs are everything, not at all. A lot of the time, I prefer to leave my camera at home and experience the experience of something without trying to frame it. I think focusing too much on photography can make you miss things, and I’d nearly always rather be present in the moment than removed from it because I’m trying to create an image. Sometimes though, it’s nice to have photographs to help us recall silly things we have done, relive the amazing trips we have gone on, or just to be able to look at the faces of people we miss who are no longer in our everyday lives because of circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes the most imperfect photos are the most precious ones.

In a world that is always changing, the ability of a photograph to freeze time and transport us back to a moment in the past is pretty special.

Help Protect NH Loons

Loon with Sunfish : Prints Available

A Common Loon (Gavia immer) with a sunfish it caught while hunting on a pond in southern New Hampshire. This adult was catching fish to feed its chick.

This week, New Hampshire State Bill 89 may make it’s way to the New Hampshire state senate. SB-89 is a bill that proposes banning the use and sale of toxic lead fishing tackle weighing one ounce or less, and it’s passage will help protect common loons from lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning is the leading known cause of death for loons in the state of New Hampshire. Loons typically consume toxic lead in one of two ways: they either ingest the weights thinking they are pebbles, which they consume to aid in digestion, or they get lead into their system when eating fish that have lead fishing gear attached to them or in their stomachs. Poisoned loons then die a painful, suffering death. Because loons are slow to mature, have small clutch sizes, and expend a huge amount of energy in raising and caring for their chicks, these unnatural deaths have caused decreases in the loon population and continue to threaten the survival of these beautiful birds.

I cannot think of a single reason not to vote in support of SB-89 and these increased restrictions; there are a number of viable alternatives to lead that can be used for small sinkers and jigs, and their continued use is irresponsible.

More info about loons, lead poisoning, and SB-89, including what you can do to help, can be found here: http://www.loonbill.org/getinvolved.html.

Common Loon : Prints Available

A Common Loon (Gavia immer) in its handsome black and white breeding plumage swims on the calm surface of a pond in southern New Hampshire.

The Loon Preservation Committee is a great organization that advocates for the protection of these beautiful birds in New Hampshire. I was able to connect with them last summer and they were helpful in providing me with some information about loons in NH. Unfortunately, I was unable to spend as much time working with them as I wanted, but hope to continue a project to document and advocate for loon conservation in the northeast with their help. For more info, visit http://www.loon.org/.

Growing Up : Prints Available

A baby Common Loon (Gavia immer) begs its parent for some food. This youngster is growing up and white and dark gray feathers are starting to replace its mousey gray-brown down.

Summit Conditions

Just got a wonderful follow up email from Brooklyn Outfitters detailing some specs for our Mount Washington trip that I thought I’d share:

Route: Lion’s Head Summer route 8.6 miles up 4,250 vertical feet

Summit conditions:

Temp: -14 deg F

Wind: NW 52 mph

Wind Chill Temp: -52 deg F

Frostbite Time: 5 minutes

Not too shabby, ey?

They’ve also posted some photos from the trip including the probably the best adventure photos I have of myself ever. You can check out the trip album on their Facebook site here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.255428937859207.58731.108503912551711&type=1 (hopefully that link actually works)

We summited!

Not Mount Washington. I actually didn't take a single photo yesterday while hiking up Mount Washington (I'll explain more in a future blog post), but did take the scenic route to North Conway, where I met up with my group. These snow caked trees were visible from one of the few plowed pullouts along the Kancamagus Highway.

At approximately 1PM yesterday, myself and the six others in my trekking party reached the summit of Mount Washington, home of the world’s worst weather. We were greeted by 52 mph winds (with stronger gusts) that made the summit feel much colder than the balmy -14 degree actual temperature (probably about -40 or so). We stayed on the summit for no more than 15 minutes – just enough time to change out some layers, get a quick snack and drink of water, and snap a couple group photos – before heading back down the mountain the way we had came. It was cold, it was beautiful, it was amazing.

I made the trek with an awesome group from Brooklyn Outfitters. I’ve known BKO’s founders before BKO existed, and I’ve been itching to get out on an adventure with them. So when co-founder Stetson Hundgen suggested I come along for their first guided winter summit attempt of Mount Washington (something I have dreamed of doing since I first stepped foot in New Hampshire in February 2009), it was hard to say no.

Now I’ve dealt with a good number of guides and led a variety of trips for universities, camps, non-profits, and outdoor adventure and education companies myself, so I’d like to think I know a good guide service when I see one. Let me tell you, these dudes from the city can hang with the locals any day. Good trips, where guides provide an experience that is challenging but fun, carefully calculate risks to keep the group safe without interfering with the fun part, and know when to be serious, when to be relaxed, and just how much instruction to give to make participants feel supported but not babied, are an absolute joy to be on. I honestly can’t think of enough good things to say about Brooklyn Outfitters, so I’ll just stop gushing now and simply encourage anyone in the New York City area to take a trip with them at some point.

Thank you so much Brooklyn Outfitters and everyone who summited Mount Washington with me. Even though we’ve come off the summit and returned home, because of you guys I still feel like I’m on top of the world.

Click on the link above to check out Brooklyn Outfitters’ other awesome trips departing out of New York City. They have another Mount Washington trip planned for February, so if you are feeling adventurous be sure to sign up!

Finally some snow!

After an unseasonably warm and dry winter, we’ve finally got some snow in central New England! A few inches fell yesterday and some more today, and we might get even more snow overnight. Woohoo!

Here are a couple of photos I snapped at Bradley Draper Memorial Forest on Gilmore Pond in Jaffrey yesterday while on assignment for NEFF.

A woodland trail leads through the snow drenched hemlocks and hardwoods.

 

The distant shoreline, partially frozen ice, and the lip of a snow covered boulder create a minimalist landscape scene looking out across Gilmore Pond.