Pictures of the Year, Montpelier, VT

Because I was taking photos last year for the local newspaper, the Montpelier Bridge, I was able to chronicle some of the good, the bad and the crazy that 2021 brought us. Here are a handful of my favorite local photos. Click here for a bigger pictures-of-the-year gallery.

2021 started with the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and the craziness reached all the way to Montpelier (above), where state police patrolled the State House grounds January 17th in case of violent protests from Trump loyalists. No demonstrations materialized, although counter-demonstrators met a few blocks away at City Hall. 

On September 11, Friends of the Winooski volunteers scoured the North Branch of the Winooski River for trash and found quite a bit.

State employees and teachers rallied at the State House to protest proposed changes in their pension plans, March 30.

The Red Trouser Show, David Graham and Tobin Renwick, turned State Street into a stage during the Taste of Montpelier, September 11.

Crowds await the arrival of the Amtrak train in Montpelier on Monday morning, July 19. It was the first since COVID restrictions were imposed. Tim Donovan, in blue shirt at front of crowd, was taking his granddaughter Neala on the Amtrak excursion. You could ride anywhere on the line in Vermont for $1. § Click here for a bigger pictures-of-the-year gallery.




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Ski Racing is Back in British Columbia

Last season, there was basically no high-level cross-country ski racing in Canada due to COVID restrictions, so when Western Canada Cup #1 was held this past December 4–5 in Sovereign Lake, British Columbia, it was a celebration as well as a competition. Somewhat accidentally, I happened to be there. Day one featured steady snow for the sprints. Day two brought sun on new snow for the distance race. It was real winter weather, something that has yet to reach the northeastern USA. Click here for full galleries.

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The World of Yousuf Karsh

The difference between looking at fine black-and-white photo prints in person—not online, not in a book, but on the wall in front of you— is something like the difference between hearing live music and listening to a CD. A good example is The World of Yousuf Karsh exhibit now at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Karsh’s portraits of the famous, and a few not-so-famous, are completely traditional in lighting, poses and composition, literally from another century. But they also remain as powerful and eloquent as the day they first swam to the surface of his darkroom developing tray. The eloquence comes from the artistry Karsh used to control the lighting and the composition, but also from the connection he clearly made with the people he was photographing, from Albert Einstein to Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, Paul Robeson, Nelson Mandela, Brigitte Bardot, Helen Keller, Marian Anderson, and Eleanor Roosevelt. Almost equally eloquent are the statements he made about each image, reproduced as captions next to the photos. Karsh, born Armenian in the Ottoman empire in 1908, spent most of his life in Canada. He died in Boston in 2002. At the museum until January 30. Or click here for a quick look.  And here for a longer look.

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NENSA Invitational Roller Ski Race

The New England Nordic Ski Association held its last roller ski race of the season on November 13: 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), mainly uphill to the Trapp Family Lodge touring center in Stowe. The next NENSA races will be on snow, and several of those who raced on wheels at Trapps’ competed this weekend on cold, squeaky snow in northern Finland with the US Ski Team. You’ll note below that number 149, Adam Martin from the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, has no skis. A wheel fell off one of his and he ran up the last hill instead of rolling. Click here for a gallery from the race.

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Veterans Day, Barre, VT

Montpelier’s Veteran’s Day parade was canceled due to COVID, so Barre, VT, a few miles away, carried the flags.


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MHS Boys Soccer in the Playoffs

I photographed a couple Montpelier High School soccer games during the end-of-the-season playoffs. They made it to the finals, but lost to Milton High School.

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Montreal Again

Montreal is always interesting, and especially when you haven’t been able to go for more than a year. It took us three COVID tests to get there back in mid-October (one before arriving at the border, one after crossing into Canada, and one when we got back).

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Montpelier Halloween

You have to admit, for a tiny town, Montpelier, VT, (pop. just over 7,000) knows how to do Halloween. From the the Vermont Dance Alliance zombie takeover of State Street to neighborhood trick-or-treating, the one-mile Trick or Trot Run, the school superintendent on the dunk machine, and other frolics on the State House lawn, it’s a heck of a party. Even if it rains the whole time. Click here for a gallery.

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Tacoma to Tacoma

Back in June, my brother, Joe, and I drove a 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup from Pennsylvania to Oregon to deliver it to my son, in Portland. So, it wasn’t quite a Tacoma to Tacoma trip because we didn’t actually get to Tacoma, Washington, but we were within a few miles on our swing up through Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

It was truck camping about as basically as you can do it. We collected a tent that fit the Tacoma’s bed and tailgate, plus sleeping bags, a cooler and a few other things, and headed west. We had something of a deadline, so we took only a week to cross the country. On another trip it would have been fun to go for weeks. And perhaps it was the last time we’ll drive cross-country in a fossil-fuel-burning vehicle.

Because it was early in the season, the campgrounds weren’t jammed yet, but, for as early in the summer as it was, they were pretty full. We drove all day, with a few side trips, and started looking for campgrounds on the cell phone late in the afternoon: state parks, national parks, county parks, national forests—we went for whatever was nearest and always found good spots.

It wasn’t the best way to travel for photography, but we did get to some interesting places: the Wisconsin Dells, the Black Hills, the Badlands, Yellowstone and the coast of Oregon and Washington. We crossed and recrossed the Oregon Trail and the Bozeman Trail and the route of Lewis & Clark and met some interesting people.

On this page: top, the Cape Disappointment, Washington, lighthouse; the truck set up on the north branch of the Shoshone River in Wyoming; Lake Crescent, Washington; Pacific Ocean, Washington; Cape Disappointment, not far from where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific; above the Sandy River, Gresham, Oregon; just outside the eastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park; near Story, Wyoming; Badlands National Park, South Dakota; somewhere on I-90; Oregon greenery.
Click here for the armchair-travel version, from East to West.  

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10 Years Ago: Irene

Workmen gaze into the gap that was left after Camp Brook destroyed Camp Brook Road in Bethel, VT, August 30, 2011. Washouts isolated the town of Rochester for days.

No matter how closely you follow the news, powerful storms and huge fires around the country and around the world can still seem remote, something that can’t happen here in northern New England. But if you have experienced a disaster like the one that hit Vermont ten years ago, August 28, 2011, when Tropical Storm Irene dumped 11 inches of rain on the state, you have some idea what it can be like. Vermont may seem to be immune to this sort of thing, but Irene proved how quickly a catastrophe can happen here.
Click here and click here for more photos from August 2011.

Route 12A, Northfield, VT, August 30, 2011.

Green Mountain Club employees, usually caretakers of Vermont’s Long Trail, were taking care of the clean-up at the Whalley mobile home park in Waterbury September 1, 2011. From left: J.P. Krol, Josh Kinsel, Kathryn Wrigley, Zoe Linton.

Bridge over the Dog River out of commission, West Berlin, VT, August 30, 2011.

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