Giving Back

As the Upper Valley’s Town Meetings begin this week, I did my first video (yikes!) and portraits of a few elected officials for the Valley News and asked why they felt public service was important. Web editor Maggie Cassidy’s editing skills made the video shine!

From top, Euclid Farnham, Tunbridge’s moderator for 35 years; Kelly McConnell, Hanover school board member for two years; Mary O’Brien, on the Hartland selectboard for 14 years; Marianne A. Blake, elected as Windsor’s Lister/Assessor for 25 years; Jeff Peavey, Lebanon school board member for 14 years; Phil Carter, Canaan cemetery trustee for 10 years.

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All Together

Last weekend, I photographed an annual tradition in Hartland — the Famous Roast Beef Supper at the First Congregational Church for a Valley News story. Started in 1966, the dinner is held on six consecutive Saturdays and is put together by volunteers from the church and the community. It was inspiring to see everyone pitching in for a good cause! Follow this link to read the story.

From top: Volunteer hostess Linda Genovese, of Hartland, Vt., checks her list of diners to be seated. Instead of waiting in line, this year diners listened to piano music in the sanctuary; Volunteers Ali DeCuollo, left, and Jean Day, both of Hartland, laugh about their hands cramping while helping to peel 150 pounds of potatoes for the supper. Day has been helping since 1968 — this year is DeCuollo’s first; Gordon Barbour, right, of Windsor, Vt., enjoys his meal with his sisters as volunteer server Stub Fernandez, left, of Hartland, hustles to refill a serving platter; From left, kitchen crew volunteers Rhonda Lamica, Harriet Dumas, Carmen Summarsell, Pat Richardson and Mike French (in background), all of Hartland, laugh about the gag prize — a cookbook “Cooking in the Nude” — Dumas won for having the closest guess to the evening’s turnout of 229. Leftover rolls were sold after church the next day and beef, rolls and gravy were part of a meal church members put together on Tuesday for the Hixon House, an adult homeless shelter at the Upper Valley Haven; Diners head home after attending the annual Famous Roast Beef Supper. Two-hundred sixty pounds of rolled prime rib beef, 100 dozen rolls, 150 pounds of potatoes and 45 pies are prepared for each of the meals held on six consecutive Saturdays.

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After Dark

Lately, I’ve been working several night shifts at the Valley News, filling in for staff photographer absences. Arriving home bleary-eyed is not much fun, but I do enjoy photographing sports for its drama and the challenge to see the usual in a new way. Here’s a few of my favorites:

From top: Windsor’s Ben Meagher drives through the Newport defense by (from left) Ethan Houde, Cole McNamara John Thibault and Noah Wood in the third quarter in Windsor, Vt.; Dartmouth’s Eleni Tebano (9) challenges Cornell’s Valerie Audet for control of the puck at center ice early in the second period of their Ivy League game in Hanover, N.H.; Thetford’s Danielle Robinson (4) vies for a rebound with Windsor’s Ashleay Wilcox, left, and Anika Abrahamsen in the first half of the game in Thetford, Vt.; Long Trail’s Will McCullough (12) splits the defense by Sharon’s Harvey Kelley (21) and Joshua Amodeo in the second half of the game in Sharon, Vt.; Lisa Johnson, of Hanover, N.H., center, Eric Colberg, of Lyme, N.H., second from right, and Steve Kahl, of Hanover, right, work as volunteer markers on the 20-meter jump at a five-team meet in Hanover. Their children also compete on the Hanover High School team.; Oxbow’s Shirley Hayward draws a charge from Montpelier’s Maggie Barbero-Menzel while pressing in the first quarter of their game in Bradford, Vt.; Hartford sophomore forward Jasmine Wilson is congratulated by her teammates after scoring a hat trick against North Country-Lyndon in White River Junction, Vt.; Hartford sophomore Cole Gardner-Buisson watches his roll progress while warming up with his teammates before the start of a four-team match in Springfield, Vt.

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Rebels with a Cause

Last weekend, I photographed the Mr. TA Pageant for a Valley News photo page. The Thetford Academy event is a silly spoof of beauty pageants but is also a fundraiser to help Rwandan students receive a high school education. The fifth annual pageant rasied a record $6,400, enough to help 10 Rwandan students! Follow this link to see more work in the Photo Galleries section of the newspaper’s web site.

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From top: Thetford Academy junior Colombe Kayihura rehearses a traditional Rwandan dance with classmates during a rehearsal. The pageant is an annual fundraiser for Rwandan children’s education — an anonymous donor paid for Kayihura’s flight to the United States and she is spending the school year on campus; From left, seniors Reshma Rampersaud and Maggie Harlow, Kayihura and sophomores Owen Deffner and Aiden Cudhea (dressed as the Panther masot) laugh at one of the dance numbers during a rehearsal; Senior Noah Perry demonstrates his favorite dance move during the Meet the Contestants portion of the pageant. Perry’s escort, senior Hannah Harkins, is at right; Dressed as Melania Trump, Owen Deffner tells the same jokes his brother and fellow contestant Eamon Deffner told a few minutes before; Shirtless following the talent portion of the show, senior Mitchell Higgins, second from right, his dancers, from left, juniors Dylan Thorburn and Nick Moses and sophomore Aiden Cudhea and escort senior Reshma Rampersaud plead for cash votes. Audience members voted for contestants with donations to the Raise Rwanda charity, with $6,400 raised in donations and ticket sales; Junior Eli Kaliski reacts as classmate Gabrielle Curtis is named the winner of the Mr. TA Pageant. Started in 2011 as a spoof of beauty pageants to raise money for Rwandan children’s education, Curtis entered this year to spoof the spoof; Curtis is congratulated by friends on the stage after winning the pageant.

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Hearts of Champions

This fall I spent a few weekends covering sports championships for the Valley News. Some Upper Valley teams won, others lost. They all competed with heart and good sportsmanship — I was honored to be on the sidelines with my cameras! Here’s a few of my favorites:

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From top: After shaking hands with their opponents, Hartford’s Austin Shepard gives a joyful yell following the team’s 24-14 state championship win in Rutland, Vt.; As Proctor goalie Isabel Valerio smothers the ball, Sharon Academy’s Eleanor Frost reacts to a missed opportunity when it was briefly loose in the second half of the championship held in Bethel, Vt. Proctor won, 1-0; Sunapee teammates and sisters Katie, left, and Ellie Frederick hug after their 6-0 win over Colebrook to capture the state championship in Laconia, N.H.; Stevens’ football team, including Zach O’Brien, right, hold their championship trophy aloft after defeating InterLakes-Moultonborough 46-20 in Durham, N.H.; Woodstock’s Sarah Yates reacts to the team’s 1-0 loss to Springfield in the championship game in Burlington, Vt.

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Details Details

Keeping an eye out for details adds a layer of information and texture to photography I do, whether it’s at a wedding, for fun or on assignment. Here are a few of my favorites I have done recently for the Valley News:

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From top: Darkly roasted Kenya AA coffee beans are stirred by Carrier Roasting Company’s machine as they cool in Northfield, Vt.; A gate is locked by three padlocks at the site for a proposed biomedical facility that has not been built in Newport, Vt.; Players replace baseballs used for batting practice on the second day of practicing outside at the Dresden Athletic Fields in Norwich, Vt.; While volunteering during a Work Bee at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, Priscilla Farnham, of Tunbridge, Vt., catalogs sheet music for Irving Berlin’s 1918 song “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in The Morning” part of a collection of songs the Tunbridge Cornet Band played from 1890 to the late 1930s; Pins on a map at the offices of Royalton Community Radio mark where the 50-60 people who have programs on the Royalton, Vt., station come from.

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Dog Days

The dog days of summer are a welcome counterpart to New England’s long and cold winters. Between staff vacations and the amount of summertime activity needing coverage, I feel fortunate to get out and about with my camera for the Valley News. Here’s a few of my favorites:

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From top: After a quick dip in the Connecticut River, Pete the Papillon watches his owner swim with a friend, cooling off after work at the East Wilder Boat Launch in West Lebanon, N.H.; Passing in front of AVA Gallery and Art Center, a young runner is amongst the 112 who participated in Brady’s Run, a one-mile fun run before the start of the 13th annual Skip Matthews Memorial Run in Lebanon; Scott Turnbull, of Essex, Vt., demonstrates drone goggles he customized with silly eyes during a demonstration by the Northern New England Drone User Group at the Royalton Memorial Library in South Royalton, Vt.; Erin Zagadailov, of Grantham, N.H., hands a bag of clothing to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne, of Hartland, Vt., while rotating stock as part of a community service project with campaign volunteers and supporters at Listen in White River Junction, Vt.; Anna Royce, of Norwich, Vt., greets organist Phyllis Potter, of Sharon, Vt., as she arrives for the Beaver Meadow Union Chapel’s monthly service in Norwich. Potter has been playing at services for 25 years because she enjoys the pump organ in the 100-year-old church; Joel Dizon, of Lebanon, tries to catch a crayfish while volunteering to clean up the Mascoma River in Lebanon.

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Living History

The Vermont History Expo has been coming to the Tunbridge fairgrounds since 2007; I have covered it several times for the Valley News. This year, I also did a small photo spread for Enterprise, its sister business publication. As someone who has an interest in history, I enjoy meeting others with the same passion! Here’s a few of my published favorites:

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From top: Sue Cain, of Royalton, Vt., demonstrates spinning flax to make thread during the Vermont History Expo 2016 in Tunbridge, Vt. Cain, who also works in the Antique Hill log cabin during the Tunbridge Fair, has been doing demonstrations since the expo started at the fairgrounds in 2007; Dave Tuttle, of Walpole, N.H., shows the various stages of woodcarving at the Green Mountain Woodcarvers booth. The club meets across Vermont for carve-ins and also give demonstrations at festivals; Flag-bearer Nathan Depatie, of Brandon, Vt., leads Rustan Swenson, of Shoreham, Vt., and the rest of the Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife and Drum Corps as part of the Expo’s mid-day parade.

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