Back in the News

As soon as the coronavirus hit New England and drastically altered everyone’s lives, my work life also changed. The Valley News has had its struggles with losses of advertising and staff reductions. I’m proud to continue to work with a dedicated groups of journalists covering the Upper Valley. Here’s a few of my favorite photos I made over the past few months.

Weathersfield Elementary Principal JeanMarie Oakman waves goodbye to students leaving on four buses at the end of the school day in Ascutney, Vt., on March 16, 2020. Under the direction of the governor, students will be working from home through the end of the school year.

Hartford Selectboard member Alan Johnson raises his hand to be recognized in the chamber by chair Dan Fraser while meeting remotely as CATV Tech Coordinator Thomas Bishop watches in White River Junction, Vt., on March 25, 2020. Changes to the state’s Open Meeting Law allow for boards and commissions to meet from different locations due to COVID-19 concerns.

Instructor Lisa Dumont, of Rockingham, Vt., demonstrates an exercise for students during a Fit Body Boot Camp workout in the PowerHouse Mall parking lot in West Lebanon, N.H., on March 31, 2020. Dumont, who owns the business and another in Rockingham, said the response to the social-distancing workout in West Lebanon has been positive and she hopes to do the same soon at her other location.

As Enfield Police Chief Roy Holland, middle, and Officer Mike Crate load groceries into her car, Dorothy Braley, of Canaan, N.H., tells them it is her last time for weekly food at the police station in Enfield, N.H., on April 7, 2020. Braley is a dental assistant and her hours have been cut back to one day a week during the COVID crisis – her unemployment check had just started arriving. “This has been a massive help,” she said of the food for herself and her husband.

Quinn Thomashow, right, of Strafford, Vt., projects her camera-less film onto her family’s home as her relatives Julia and Rachel Norton, of New York City, watch while listening to the audio track Thomashow recorded on April 22, 2020. Originally intended to be part of an installation at Hampshire College for her senior thesis, Thomashow is instead sharing the project with friends and family in their cars due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Nortons temporarily moved to Strafford weeks earlier to shelter in place.

On the first day back in business on May 11, 2020, Colonial Barber Shop owner and barber Tracey Barber disinfects the shop’s door following a customer’s departure in West Lebanon, N.H. The shop and other New Hampshire hair salons were allowed to reopen, following restrictions due to the pandemic.

Jacqueline Springwater, of Norwich, Vt., moves soil delivered to her home one bucket at a time on May 15, 2020. Springwater, 86, is growing a garden this summer for the first time because travel is limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. Springwater will be growing herbs and greens for dishes she likes to cook. “I’m not only prepping my garden but also prepping my body,” she said of the workout required for gardening.

Kacey Knight singes remaining hair from a pig slaughtered at Vermont Packinghouse in North Springfield, Vt., on May 19, 2020. Knight supervises an eight-man crew on the “kill floor” at the 30,000 square-foot meatpacking plant. Due to the demand for locally raised beef and pork because of COVID-19, the slaughterhouse is booked through the end of 2020.

Spaced at least six feet apart, Hanover High School sophomore Ian Hedgepeth, right, and his teammates stand at the ready to sprint on coach Rob Woodward’s signal during their first practice for the new summer New Hampshire COVID Baseball League in Lebanon, N.H., on June 1, 2020.

Valley News photographs copyright © Valley News
May not be reprinted without permission

Kate & Mat

Last weekend I got together with Mat and Kate to do engagement portraits and talk about photographing their August wedding in Landgrove, Vt. They’re a sweet couple and I’m looking forward to being their wedding photographer later this year!

The Year in Pictures

The past year has been one of change, which generally means more time for me to be behind the computer instead of the camera. I still love photography and my role in documenting life around me. Here are a few of my favorites from 2019, with notes:

It was a bittersweet moment to see the last issue of the VALLEY NEWS come off the press in West Lebanon, N.H., at the end of January. The press crew moved to a new facility in Penacook, N.H., which also meant a full redesign and the newspaper’s deadlines have been moved up by several hours.

When one of the reporters at the newspaper heard the Tunbridge Fairgrounds had flooded following a sudden January thaw, she was blown away. While it was amazing to see, fair officials accessed the situation with a big shrug. Happens every year, they said.

Finding a fresh angle on any assignment is always a challenge. In Northern New England, high school baseball season always starts indoors because the fields are too soggy. I’m sure the players thought I was nutty for laying on the floor, taking a picture of a ball.

With a huge field of Democratic presidential candidates this time around, we have been seeing them more often. On a Saturday in April, I covered Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign stop at a Lebanon, N.H., house party, where she did a video for Twitter before departing. The standard question for getting credentials these days is “what is your Twitter handle?”

My daughter played on Sharon Academy’s Ultimate team for the first time. Ultimate is a sport recently sanctioned by state officials and Sharon is the only school in the area with a team. I was there for Senior Day, one of our daughter’s last school activities I photographed over the years.

With fewer weddings to photograph, I spent a lot of my time off over the summer crawling under and around my project car, a 1979 Fiat 2000 convertible. While I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of rebuilding the whole brake system, I did it and the car is close to being fully roadworthy.

When our daughter graduated high school, she not only had a long ceremony to be part of, but then a party with family and an overnight excursion with her classmates at the school. Organizers didn’t want students driving themselves home, so I picked her and a friend up and we went out for breakfast at Eaton’s Sugarhouse. I can see why I was driving!

Our annual VALLEY NEWS Athlete of the Year portrait sessions were spread amongst the staff this year, a relief to me. Of those I did, one of my favorites was of Kiana Johnson, a senior at Thetford Academy. Kiana had to change schools for her last year after Chelsea Public School closed due to consolidation. She brought the ball she was given for scoring 1,000 points in her high school career, signed by her teammates.

Over the summer, Ben Canonica asked me to document the removal of a dam along the First Branch of the White River in Royalton, Vt. The first order of business was to push over a cinder block shed, creating an eerie photo as decades of flying dirt and debris went airborne. Greg Russ of the White River Partnership, shown, and I were amazed at Ben’s expertise in maneuvering his machines to return the river to its original state.

After covering Plainfield’s Fourth of July parade for the VALLEY NEWS, I added this photo of John Yacavone at the last minute because it grew on me (I love how the flag blends into his pants!). He is an enthusiastic Uncle Sam, leading the traditional parade for the past six years.

Protestors told the VALLEY NEWS they were planning to picket Gov. Chris Sununu’s appearance at a Lebanon, N.H., senior center due to the budget impasse between the Republican and the Democratic-majority legislature. As Sununu was leaving the event, he suddenly decided to speak with them and I was happy to document it.

My wife and I were fortunate to be invited to stay for a week in July with her cousin’s family at the Adirondacks camp where we spent our honeymoon. The original building has been around for over 100 years and we stayed in the smaller and newer cabin where her late grandmother spent many summers. It was so relaxing!

Daylight is long enough in the first week or two of the high school season that you’re able to mix in sunsets with the action, as I did at a Woodstock, Vt., game at the end of August. Peak light instead of peak action!

Valley News photographs copyright © Valley News
May not be reprinted without permission

Past Time

Beginning today, I will have a larger role at the Valley News in producing the newspaper. While I’m still photo editor, I will be in the office full-time and my ability to help out with photography is going to be limited. This group of photos from this year’s baseball season reminds me what I love (and will miss) about photojournalism – there’s not constant action in front of you and it’s up to the photographer to stay a step ahead and to think about the story to be told.

From top, The sun made a brief-yet-striking appearance during the Division III matchup between Green Mountain and White River Valley in South Royalton, Vt.; Relief pitcher Alex Jenness looks for the sign from catcher Michael Evans while throwing to a Laconia batter in the fifth inning of their game in West Canaan, N.H.; Hartford’s Zack Butterfield takes batting practice with sunflower seeds while drenching rain falls and shortens their planned doubleheader with Mount Anthony to a single game in White River Junction, Vt.; As rain continues to fall before their doubleheader with Mount Anthony, Athletic Director Jeff Moreno, left, shows Hartford baseball coaches Jarrod, center, and Dick Grassi the sunny conditions the softball team is playing under in Bennington, Vt., where rain was predicted; White River Junction Post 84 senior’s Alex Emerson beats the tag at home by Bennington Post 13 catcher Owen King as Post 84’s Tom Bissaillon watches in the seventh inning of the first game of their doubleheader in White River Junction; Upper Valley Nighthawks infielders Cole Frederick, left, and Adam Smith turn a double-play on North Adams’ Brian Picone and his teammate in the fourth inning of their game in White River Junction; Lebanon Post 22 senior’s Ethan Brueckner swings at a high pitch and strikes out in the seventh inning with the bases loaded against Laconia Post 1 in Lebanon, N.H.; Nighthawks teammates John Hosmer, left, of Charlotte, N.C., and Kellen Spann, of Meridian, Miss., check out the Martha’s Vineyard neighborhoods in Oak Bluffs, Mass., during a bus ride to play the Sharks; The Nighthawks’ Devin Beckley pitches to the Sharks’ Nander De Sedas as Andrew Cossetti catches in the fifth inning of their game in Oak Bluffs, Mass. New to the New England Collegiate Baseball League, the Sharks hosted the Nighthawks for the first time; Midway through their 13 hours of traveling to play baseball, the Upper Valley Nighthawks board a fishing trawler, departing Martha’s Vineyard for Falmouth, Mass., and eventually returning to White River Junction.

Copyright © Valley News
May not be reprinted without permission

Maureen & Eric

It was such a privilege and honor to photograph Maureen and Eric’s wedding at The Barn on Gobeille Farm in Sharon, Vt., on the summer solstice. I’ve known Maureen nearly as long as I’ve been in the Upper Valley (30 years!) – she’s a special person and it was wonderful to see so many people honoring her and Eric! Follow this link to see more on my Facebook page and click here to see even more in the Galleries section of my web site (and to order downloads and prints).