Norwich Volunteer Fire Department Training

IMG_0488Working on a story for the “A Day in the Life” column that I’ve had in The Norwich Times for the past four-five years. I got a chance to hang with Norwich’s volunteer fire squad at a training session last night, and it was both inspiring and impressive to watch these guys (and women) in action.

Also got a chance to really challenge the 35mm Sigma 1.4 that continues to impress me. The light in the station house was very random, and flash was out of the question given how much reflective material is on the outfits these guys wear. So for a shot like this one to happen at all, I ended up at iso 4000 and 1/50 at f3.2, but it still came out fairly solid and sharp, and the colors are spot on, no post balancing needed. Love it…

The Year in Pictures

Thanks to the many editors and communications pros that hired me as a photographer, I was privileged to cover some amazing people this year:

IMG_6163Madeline Albright, the Former US Secretary of State, who visited Dartmouth in the spring as a guest of her former State Department Colleague Dan Benjamin at the Dickey Center for International Understanding to discuss, well, everything. She is sharp as a tack.

IMG_7242So did Johnny Clegg, the South African legend who is not only an amazing musician and humanitarian but also a passionate and rather brilliant anthropologist. Who knew? He spent time teaching and entertaining as a visiting Montgomery Fellow.

IMG_3345Getting a fun picture of blogger and super-mom KJ Dell’Antonia in action for the relaunch of her New York Times Motherlode blog  made for a great day.

IMG_2025Speaking of fun, nobody does appropriately inappropriate stand-up comedy like the Upper Valley’s very own Cindy Pierce. Telling it like it is, no holds barred with a personality that barely fits on a regular stage.

IMG_4203TDartmouth College was fortunate to be selected as one of the schools participating in the new Washington Scholars/Young African Leaders Initiative. 20 incredible innovators and movers and shakers from across Africa spent a couple of weeks at the College, learning and teaching and doing away with any and all myths and misperceptions about ineffective or unispired African leadership.

IMG_2239Billed as the “Steel Magnolia of Norwich” in a portrait piece for Upper Valley Life Magazine, riding instructor Toni Prince is both a dear friend and a fascinating study in the kind of class you just don’t find any more.

All of them doing amazing, inspiring or just plain ol’ strange things:

IMG_3696At the Specimen Cup in Thompson Arena at Dartmouth College, Geisel School of Medicine students took time out from their hectic schedule to play a friendly fundraiser hockey match against their peers at University of Vermont.

IMG_9574Lupe Fiasco put on on a great show in spite of crappy weather during Dartmouth’s Green Key Weekend.

IMG_0586The participants and amazing organizers of the Covered Bridges Half Marathon made the 23rd running yet another success story.

IMG_8510The born-again equivalent of Woodstock, albeit without the beer or rampant sex: Soulfest in Gunstock New Hampshire was a strange mix of tent revival and talent show.

IMG_8603(Scott Stapp was almost coherent as he tried to explain to an intimate crowd what it was like to crash and burn and be born again… and again…)

IMG_2779Bradford, Vermont is in the heart of Yankee redneck country. These boys didn’t mess around as they raced their souped-up trucks with homemade studded tires around the slushy mess that was the Connecticut River Fair Grounds at the Vermonster 4×4.

IMG_3892Eventing is sort of the equestrian equivalent of a triathlon, but with more style, of course. Hitching Post Farm in South Royalton hosts great competitions for eager beginners.

IMG_9883Rowing crew is almost expected of a high school that has the Connecticut River in its back yard. And Hanover High competes well against the New England prep schools, not least thanks to amazing coaches and great facilities.

IMG_1854A local artisanal restaurant, Osteria Chiara, features amazing food and a unique atmosphere. These shots ended up as part of a great story in the Fall issue of Upper Valley Life Magazine.

IMG_6276_HDRThe proudly independent Norwich Bookstore continues to thrive by carefully selecting quality books for a discerning audience of all ages. (Although this assignment, ironically, was for Here in Hanover Magazine).

IMG_2107Coffee. An assignment from Upper Valley Life Magazine that simply says “get pictures of the best coffee around” is about as good as it gets. The Dirt Cowboy in Hanover has mediocre customer service and poor management, but their coffee is amazing.

IMG_6106Last but not least, King Arthur Flour is one of our local gems, an employee-owned company with an pride in producing the best quality flour and bread anywhere. Master Baker Martin Philip consistently places in the top at international baking competitions, and he loves and appreciates bread in a way that’s contagious. (This was for the “Day in The Life” feature that I’ve had in The Norwich Times for the past five or so years.)

All of this in an amazing place that I’m forever grateful to call home.

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Random Rants from a Vermont Writer & Photographer