The start of a photographic journey

Posted on Sep 29, 2012 by admin  | Comments (0)

Today I set out to photograph all 251 of Vermont's towns. An ambitious feat on its own, I am further challenging myself to complete the project in 365 days.

As the days are getting shorter, I find myself sleeping a little later each morning. This morning I awake at 6:30, it's still dark and I can hear the rain hitting the metal roof over our sun room. Both cats are still sleeping and as my attention shifts outdoors, I can see that it's overcast and foggy. Maybe I'll start my project tomorrow I think to myself as I climb out of bed and head downstairs for my coffee. Back in bed I remind myself that this is my favorite lighting for shooting foliage, and since it seems to be earlier this year than normal, and far more spectacular than in recent years, I should head north today as I had planned the evening before.

I run through my usual morning routine, feeding the cats, cleaning the litter boxes, gathering my equipment; something I should have done the night before, it's 9:00 before I finally get out of the house, and I still needed to stop at the post office to mail my 251 Club of Vermont membership form, and also to stop somewhere to buy batteries for my light meter. I decided to bring along my black and white rig which is fully manual, so my light meter would be critical.

As I approach the stop sign in Randolph headed for the highway, instead I make a left turn deciding that I should be taking back roads. South Woodbury VermontI head north on Route 12. Driving through Braintree and Northfield, I pass up several opportunities for a great shot reminding myself that this project is all about focus. Today I’ve planned to visit Calais, Hardwick and Peacham, for no particular reason, only that they are all towns I have heard of or read about; they seemed like as good a place as any to start my journey. I continue following my navigation system to route 14 out of Montpelier. I pass East Calais, intending to come back, but first I want to see what’s ahead. As I’m greeted by a group of pumpkin people at the entrance of a church in South Woodbury I decide it’s time to stop the car and start getting some shots. Woodbury wasn’t on my radar, but why not investigate further? I’ll eventually work my way back to Calais.

After photographing the pumpkin people, I turn up one of the side roads and am struck by the beautiful terrain. Eziekel Ball FarmI’m always excited to find a field of cows, which of course I stop and photograph, and as I continue up the road, I find myself driving under a barn. This is too good to be true. I spend the next hour or so photographing the Ezekiel Ball Farm, in awe the whole time that such a splendid slice of history still exists today in pristine condition. How many people never get to see this I think to myself. How I never would have seen it had I not set out on this adventure. Completely energized and inspired, I move on to the next town Calais, and three more that day, Hardwick, Cabot, and Peacham.

By the time I arrive in Peacham, it’s late in the day and I’m running out of light. I’ve heard that Peacham is one of Vermont’s most beautiful towns, and as I approach the town center, tired and a little weary from the hours of driving and shooting, again I find myself in awe. The town square is lined with white buildings clad in black shutters. I feel as though I’m in a Norman Rockwell painting. I drive through the town to explore the surrounding countryside capturing a small sampling of the rolling farms as much as a reminder to go back and explore further when I have more time.

I return to the town center where I find that everywhere I turn is a beautiful shot. At this point it’s almost dusk. I photograph the church across from the town hall building as my last shot for the day, and as I head back to my car, the thundering six o'clock church bells almost take my breath away.

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