9-10-10: Cornish, Plainfield, Claremont, Newport, New Hampshire

My facination (obsession) with covered bridges continues. After my recent trip to Bath, New Hampshire, where I photographed three great bridges of the past, I had a hankerin’ for some more. Thus, I packed up my gear and headed to Cornish, the home of 4 well preserved covered bridges.

First we stopped by Blacksmith Shop Covered Bridge. A really old looking bridge, certainly not updated wood nor structure since twenty or so years ago. It was facinating. It had a great worn down sign on the top that read “PASS AT YOUR OWN RISK”. I’ve never seen such a warning on a covered bridge before. This bridge was unique because it had been built for the use of one family who lived and worked on the opposite side of the river. Hence the name “blacksmith shop”. I also found some great cellarholes and shop foundations up the hill near where the above photo was taken. The bridge is closed to traffic.

I then visited the Dingleton Hill Covered Bridge, which is still in use. I stopped by the Blow-Me-Down Covered Bridge nearby, which has a great historical stream and cavern that is quite intimidating to try and work around. It had a really neat pumphouse next to it which probably pumped water up to the homes on the other side of the bridge.

After kneeling on a ledge to get a good bridge shot (which I didn’t) I stood up and placed my foot near the edge. A rock broke off, and fell beneath me. After a few seconds I heard the ancient granite shatter upon impact on the bottom of the cavern. A close call to be sure. Jaime and me then headed to the crown jewel of Cornish bridges, the Cornish-Windsor.

This is the longest two span covered bridge in the US. It was really cool to go over the bridge and land in Vermont. I might be exaggerating, but the feeling of going from one political designation to another was like entering a new country. People were hanging around outside the Cumberland Farms, their clothing, architectural styles, and mannerisms seemed to be quite different. Even the streetlights were the old fashioned ones. After picking up some drinks, we headed back over the bridge to the Shire.
After a really crappy GPS detour down a logging road which I had to back out of, we made our way around to Plainfield, New Hampshire where we encountered the Mill River Covered Bridge.

it had a sweet gorge, where a neat stream of water flowed through, filling a small pool for swimming in the summer. I got some great shots of the waterfall beneath the covered bridge.

So at this point, we’re tired. We’ve been up since 4am and driving ever since. I figured we would go freestyling, and check out a city in New Hampshire that up until a week or so ago, I didn’t know existed: Claremont, New Hampshire.

It was a cool little city, with really great architecture that I got a bunch of photos of. I also took a photo of a fantastic diner in downtown. I wasn’t sure if the diner was built into the building, or if the building was built around the diner. Either way, old school, and I dig that.

Not even close to being done, after a slamming of my brakes when I saw another covered bridge sign coming out of Claremont, we headed down a really crappy road to find two covered bridges, but very different than anything I’ve ever shot.

A railroad covered bridge over the Sugar River. NH DOT says this is actually in Newport, New Hampshire, a neighboring town to Claremont. These bridges are obviously being worked on. There was a porterpotty that was disrupting most photos I could take of the Pier Covered Bridge. After some searching and a loop back through Claremont, we found the second covered bridge, but unfortunately it was in the process of being refurbished.

I’ve been told that there’s 4 covered bridges in Swanzey, New Hampshire. Looks like I’m headed there next time :evil laugh:

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9-2-10: Bath, New Hampshire

I had the thought last night about heading somewhere to get some good shots of covered bridges, again. I have a facination with them. Today was my most favorite day out getting covered bridge shots since my first one, the day I found my home in New Hampshire. Bath was the obvious place for me this morning. I saw it had three covered bridges in town, and one of them is the oldest covered bridge in America. Not only that. . the oldest functioning general store in the United States, the Brick Store.

The first bridge I came to at 6:30am was the Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge which is the oldest covered bridge in the United States. It was only closed to the public in 1999, and the smell of it was like an old barn. I got some really great shots from this bridge, and even the surrounding area (as you can see at the top of this post)

Swiftwater Bridge was really cool not just because of the age of the bridge, but the really cool waterfall closeby. Climbing the rocks reminded me of being at Ordione State Park on the seacoast. I gave a try slowing the shutter speed in order to make the water flowwww. A few attempts later was the one above, I like it, but I need more practice.

also got some artsy type photos. In the above photo I loved the cornfield and the apple tree, so I pointed up, flipped up the flash, and took a shot. It really reflected the appletree nicely, with the spectacular red/yellow mixed apples. Unfortunately, this was my final shot of the day because batteries ran out. I was happy when after recharging I saw the great photos I had taken. Very happy with them and the trip. Check out the “Covered Bridges” and “Fall in the Shire” galleries at www.Shirephotography.com

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Visions of a Half Blind Man.

you’ll have to follow me along here, there are no photos nor pictures.

You’re sweating. The day is so hot, and the sun is burning your skin. Your shirts and pants are sticking to you, and as you sit in the car you get no relief even as it travels 50 mph down the road. You can feel sweat going down your sides inside your shirt and your back feels dry but you realize that it is so insulated and hot that you don’t feel the dampness. You worked all day, laboring hard in the sun. You’re hydrated, but that hydration seems to escape as soon as you take a swig of that warm jug of water. You make your way through a twisty turns laden road. You feel the sun move from your face out of the driver’s side window, just as quickly to return to make your sweaty, dirty brow as a drop of sweat rolls into the corner of your eye, blinding you for a moment with a sting.

You come around a bend, and see a small pond on the side of the road. You’re seeing the blue water surrounded by pine trees. You’ve had enough, you have to stop to dunk your head in the water. You pull your car off the side of the road, grab your keys and leave your wallet in the glove compartment. You remove shoes and then peel off your socks, tossing them in the back seat. You put your feet back into your shoes, feeling quite relieved already. You cross the road after checking for oncoming cars, and brush aside the branches of tree that are coming towards your face. You duck under a large branch to see a small sandy area. You notice how it looks nothing like sand at the ocean, but a hardened white sand, with a few prints from the birds. You remove your sticky shirt. It’s not easy, and smells like body odor. The residue sweat coats the top of your neck, giving you a small relief from the sun soaked neck. You lift your left leg and remove your shoe, then the other. You feel vulnerable. You can’t run if someone came near your car. You can’t run through the rough woods without some foot protection.

You remove your glasses and place them in your left shoe.

You no longer see items, but shapes looking for interpretation. A small log on the side of the pond has a stump. A stump is a stump until it runs away, with its soft brown tail following it. You see colors all the more, and use your mind to tell you what items are what, giving you not a lot of confidence. You approach what you believe to be the water. You put your foot into the brown moving liquid. You feel the sand from your foot dissipate while you also feel soft, sand encompass it. You feel a rock, and kick it away. You enter with both feet and begin to walk. You feel a rock under your left foot and then something under your right that feels squishy and like seaweed. You continue into the water, investigating each footstep for less than a second before you quickly remove them and push forward in case something you stepped on was not something you wanted to step on.

You smell the lake, it has a variety of scents. You never smell a Yankee Candle like this, and you don’t think you would want to. It smells clean but dirty at the same time. You feel the cold water washing your sweat away. Your core temperature is dropping, and you wipe your cool wet hand across your brow. That’s it, you’re going under. As you dive forward, a sensation of cold moves up your hands, your arms, your forehead, face, head, and then chest. You’re under, and feel weightless. All the muscles of your body are relaxed, you float through the water effortlessly. You take your hands and rub them from your forehead through your head to the back. You feel the water slide in between your individual hairs and cool your sweaty head.

Looking up, you see a field of green on the land in front of you. As you pan across the pond, you see one opening of light blue, followed by a continuum of green. You have to interpret the colors and shapes. You see sharp blotches of brown and dark shadows, and must realize that these are the pinetrees lining the pond. The light blue is that of the sky, meaning that the pond you’re in is continued from another location. Some doggypaddling towards the light blue reveals an opening to more water. You see the green and blue swirls coming towards you, and hear boats in the distance. You feel the wake of a boat as you make your way closer and closer to the light blue. You smell the lake no more, you’ve become accustomed to it. It smells clean, and a fresh breeze, the first of the day, hits your face. You can’t help but continue forward. Those rows of pinetrees are beside you, and you see a vast amount of water. You must be now in a larger pond. You push forward, and see white blotches in the light blue, representing the clouds. You see in the distance a beautiful view, even without your glasses. You see the light blue separated from the water by forest green but hazy land. A large mountain is in the distance, and can see the shadows of late afternoon lined across it making its ridges stand out. The breezes have picked up, and you move your body to your back. You’re laying out and stop kicking your feet. As you lay supine, you bring your feet up to the water level. Look forward. Light blue on the top with some white blobs. Forest green with dark green ridges all hazy are sitting on top of the blue and green continuously moving swirls coming towards your face. Amongst the swirls, two pink items, framing your view and representing your feet and toes.

You are cool, you are relaxed. The hard work of the day is the last thing you want to think about. You try hard to forget the heat of the sun toasting you alive. You can’t help but remember because you’re thinking about how all that work brought you to this point. Where you can be free. You can be alive here. You face feels awkward from the lack of weight of your glasses at the same time as your body feels as if it could float away. You can spend some time trying to identify moving objects on land, you spend more time staring off into the distance, identifying things you think you see. Then you stop and just look at the colors, the shapes, and appreciate them for what you can see.

You can’t see anything, but you can see everything.

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What I’ve Learned: Parking Garages

first of a series of future quips about things I’ve learned so far as a photographer. Some things you might already know, some things you might not.

This episode includes my love of parking garages

Why would I write about parking garages? So far, they have been a bit of a savior for me. Let me explain.

You ever want to get that fantastic shot from above, or a shot of something far away with lots of crap (unwanted materials) in front of your lens? Ever wish there were a way around it? I believe that parking garages might be an answer to your problems. Last night, I got the urge to write a blog about this because while I was standing on the rooftop of the parking garage at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH I had finally gotten a shot that I had been searching for. I arrived in Manchester around 4:45-5:00 and was searching for a good place to get a decent panoramic view of the mill buildings across the river. As most of you who have been to Manchester and driven on the 293 through the city have seen, it’s quite beautiful to see all the lined up reused mill buildings on the other side of the river. 293 is a serpentine that runs alongside the Merrimack River, but unfortunately has no obvious place to stop and take a photo. Surely you’re not going to stop on the highway, and even if you did, you’d still have massive amounts of trees and vegetation to get through to get a decent shot. No trails so far as I can find on the other side of 293, and if there were it’d be most likely that some enforcement agency would have a problem with you walking beside the highway since they have this feeling that they own it or something.

I stopped at the mill building on the opposite side of 293, where WGIR is broadcast from. Standing in the truck bed I was able to get some shots of the mills but had the pesky highway blocking some of my view. angrily, I kept driving using my GPS to locate an area or street that might provide a decent view of the mills and river without showing much of the highway. No luck, seems as if they built sound barrier walls along the entire corridor, blocking my views completely. Eventually I came to a football field, and got some nice shots, but nothing I’d say was spectacular. Twilight was becoming dusk and dusk was becoming night before I knew it. I was running out of time. Then I came upon the hospital, and the garage at the hospital. Bingo.

When entering a garage, make sure it’s a free one. Hospitals and municipal lots are good for this. Private parking garages will charge you an arm and a leg for using their services, even if for a few minutes. Skip that junk and park your car streetside, and go when the area isn’t going to be so busy. I like to do my shots early morning and at twilight when people are out of work and headed home. Most times, even private parking lots have accessible staircases that aren’t anywhere near where their security officers stand is. I suppose they don’t mind not seeing you enter the area, since you can’t get your car out without paying them anyways. Using these stairways in cities, be wary, they are sometimes shelter for the homeless and/or undesirable company. Many homeless people will let you be, but keep your gear stowed away in your pack until you get to where you want to shoot. I always carry some form of weapon to help to defend myself. Some robbers will threaten you until they see that you’re packing something that will hurt them. I’ve never yet been accosted except by police officers, who are most times more dangerous than your worst thief (since thieves go to jail when they beat you up and take your things).

At Catholic Medical Center they have parking lot security, which makes me feel good that I won’t run into problems, but still be wary of their intentions when it comes to you taking pictures. In these days after 9/11, everyone is unreasonably scared of anyone with a camera. If accosted, be polite and hold firm in answering questions with questions until you are to safety. On private property, you are at the will of another’s rules in a legitimate fashion. Calmly explain why you are there and that you’re only taking photographs of the city. On public property, you owe no one any explanation for taking photographs. Giving answers might make those that ask them feel like you’re obligated to answer them. Remind them, that you are on public property and not obligated to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Last night at the hospital, I was followed by a security guard who circled me a few times, after a wave he saw that I had good intentions (lesson to be learned: terrorists never wave).

Parking garages allow you to get higher than your subjects, give you another view of the city you’re in, and allow for you to be taller than garbage that might get into your shot. For example, I was able to be on the top level of the garage and easily see a view few can get to see of Manchester. After a bit of cropping, the photo is sure to be much better than those I took on ground level. Another example is in Laconia, New Hampshire; where I have not been able to find a decent area to take good city shots. There simply isn’t a good place to get a good shot of the city proper, downtown, except for the parking garage in downtown. Laconia’s parking garage also means you have a free place to stow your car so you can walk around the city. On the top level there are regularly Government vehicles parked there overnight. A great place to park would be right beside them. I’ve seen police routinely checking license plates in the garage, even getting out to shine lights inside of vehicles. They never seem to bother the cars parked next to government plated vehicles, almost like a professional courtesy. You figure, if they’re parked right beside the g-man vehicle, they must be related to the g-man vehicle. Thugs stick together.

The shots I got in Laconia were wonderful, you can see all of main street and also get great shots of the steeples in the background. Another good parking garage is the central parking garage downtown Concord, NH. This is a pay facility with lots of spaces but most of them are already reserved. Doesn’t do the aspiring parker much good. The top level has great shots of the police facility, church steeples, and the State House dome in all it’s gold clad glory. I’ve gotten wonderful shots here and have never been accosted by anyone. From this vantage point, I even saw the old police building that has turned into a Margarita’s Bar and Grill. Some things you can only tell from up high.

Remember, in this era everyone seems to think they’re John Q. Law, and they feel that anyone with a camera represents a national security threat. I’ve seen people writing my description down, been followed in and out of buildings by busybodies looking to make trouble. One word of advice is to remember not to go directly back to your vehicle if you believe you’re being followed. Make a roundabout and enter a building that you can exit through another door. If you have to hide, porterpoties are a great place to lay low for a few minutes. They don’t care if you’re just taking pictures, they’re hoping to get their face on the front page news for stopping terroristic activities. I never carry identification because I don’t need identification to walk, and if someone asks you to see your ID (if you have it or not) you are not required to show anyone anything (not even police).

Be mindful of private property, and if you see signage that asks you not to trespass, follow their rules. You can always stop by the guard shack and ask them if you can go to the top level to take some skyline photos for 5 minutes. In my experience I’ve not only gotten the permission I needed, but also some other great hotspots around the city. Trespassing only allows the guards to call in police, and they will hassle you for performing your artwork no matter who you are. Best to avoid dangerous people at all times.

Remember, you’re just doing your job, and you don’t owe anyone a thing especially any of your valuable time.

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Yay for new equipment

I got my cool little remote control for my camera today. Now I can take photos of items in front of me without having to push the button and possibly blur the photo. Yes, at night, even the push of the button can throw off your photos with enough vibration to effect the sharpness. Major win for me.

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Informing you about the Informal U!

Have you ever said you were going to go back to school? Ever see a commercial on television and it helps remind you about how you wanted to take a class on that subject? School costs too much money, is so rigid in its rules, and the subjects you want to learn about are most commonly not available, or only available to those going into that profession.

So you wait, and sit on it. You pay some bills, get some money in the savings. Still, there’s that thing you really want to learn more about and it digs at you. Learning never ends in this life, and the more you wait on what you want to do the more it can bring you down. Soon, all other things become bland and shallow. You just wish someone would offer you the experiences and expertise that they have in an environment that won’t make you feel like a tortured student waiting for the bell again.

Let me introduce you to, the Informal University

Offering among their classes: Introduction to Computer Theory, Alternative Ed, Homebrewing, Wine Appreciation, Home Defense, Container Gardening, Early American History, Intro to the Sword, even the Fundamentals of Poker!

You can even get Attorney Lance Weber to answer those crazy legal questions you’ve had on your mind. Sounds like a class like that can get quite interesting!

There are so many classes! Times of classes are all over the map, but some are at night, perfect for those busy parents who can trade off one night for another with their spouses. People who work all day can spend some evening time relaxing by immersing themselves in a subject you actually care about!

So far, the highest amount I’ve seen for a class is $75! Lots of classes are below even that. Compare that to your local community college. I remember having to pay over $200 per credit, with most classes starting at 3 credits. Last I was in a formal U, there was no class for “Faking it on the Dance Floor” or “The Pickup Arts”. . . . boy do I wish there had been. It’s located in Hooksett, New Hampshire. . . easy to get to from Manchester, Concord, Lakes, and elsewhere!

It’s never too late to learn! Check out the Informal University and sign up now!

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8-20-10: Redress of Grievances, State Liquor Store

on Friday the 20th I headed down to Concord, New Hampshire as there was to be a protest known as a “Redress of Grievances” levelled at the State of New Hampshire over their asinine laws regarding prohibition, in this case of marijuana. Over 30 people showed up to protest the idea of the State of New Hampshire selling one drug by using its monopoly privilege and at the same time, around the state, using their monopoly on the use of force to cage people guilty of doing no more than choosing which drug they like best for themselves.

I arrived and saw that the State had taken interest in the protest as well. I followed two black suits from the parking lot towards the protest. There were about 6 watchers in total, from the two or 3 liquor enforcement stationed at the front window, to the black vehicle that the enforcers strolled out to in the parking lot to get orders or discuss strategy. Fortunately, these would be aggressors chose not to inflict harm on peaceful protesters this day.

Pamphlets were handed out, discussing reasons that marijuana prohibition doesn’t work. The crowd was well received, customers were quick to praise the efforts. Lots of honks were heard on the way out, with one person even lighting up as he entered the onramp.

One thing of note, the following photo I took:

You win an invisible prize if you can guess what this area is blocked off for. I was giving these bureaucrats benefit of the doubt. Of course no person can tell another person that they don’t have the freedom to protest the government on public property, not with any sort of legitimacy. The US Constitution supposedly protects these rights to each and every citizen. I had at first heard what sounded like a silly conspiracy theory. This area surely was to protect the dry land from being trampled by protesters, customers, and dogs defecating right? The small patch of land was on a hill, and they were protecting it to help the grass to return.

Then that conspiracy theory was solidified as no longer theory. I was informed that this area was, in fact, a free speech zone. An area that government declares you are allowed to protest the government. Unfortunately for the government, we laughed it off and even took photos and video of the area, mocking those bureaucrats who had hoped they could control the freedom of speech this day. In other words, it was a fantastic joke, and thank you State of New Hampshire bureaucrats for giving us all a good laugh.

for more on this event, and more in the future. . . I sincerely ask you to check out the video below by friend and super activist Jason Talley. This well edited and created video is worth the watch. If you like it, I hope you would subscribe, comment, like, and share with others.

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8-16-10: The Stables

took some photos out at the stable of my fiance’s best friend. Her horse Mitch is boarded there and she had to leave to move out to Arizona. I came out with Jaime to say our goodbyes and I also snapped some shots of Mitch and the stable

Check out Mitch and the stable here!

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8-15-10: Belmont Fireworks

headed over to Belmont’s Old Home Day Fireworks display. It was a good time, got to hang out with my girlfriend’s best friend and her man who got us great firefighter access across the field. Some lowly bureaucrat came running across the field that we were not supposed to be crossing. As if we’d turn around and head 3/4 of the way back, instead finished our trek as we pleased.

check out this fireworks gallery at www.Shirephotography.com

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Site Updates 8/3/2010

as you can see, there have been a few changes. . . but for the better.

-A nice fresh header, one that was actually created by me, is now featured. In case you were wondering, this is a photo of the Lancaster fairgrounds with New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the background.

-A photo of myself on the sidebar
-Links to my favorite Liberty activist websites
-An archive of my blogs
-A calendar for your convenience
-What’s New on http://www.ShirePhotography.com
-an Update box where you can subscribe and get notifications of new blogs by email (DO EEET)

oh, and a nice black background. It’s been a while since I had my own blog, now it feels more like me and less like the generic stuff WordPress gave me. Thanks so much for viewing, commenting, and subscribing. Don’t forget to check out http://www.ShirePhotography.com for my latest group of photos in the gallery. . . . this gallery is called “Take Me to the River”

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