Andre Cantelmo Photography
Christmas in New Hampshire is wonderful. The cold crisp air and snow covered landscape remind me of the winters of my childhood. I am spending time at Heron Pond Farm, enjoying family and the beautiful rolling hills of southern New Hampshire. There is talk up here that Winters aren't what they used to be. There should be more snow, and in fact the locals have childhood memories of snowy Thanksgivings.
I have spent a significant amount of time here over the decades visiting this national treasure. Here in southern New Hampshire I make it a point to get off the beaten track. I love driving the curving two lane back roads. The scene changes as you travel from heavily wooded, to rolling farmland. Arriving at a junction where two roads meet, a small clutch of classic white clapboard homes is gathered together, accompanied by a church, maybe a firehouse, and of course the luncheonette. I enjoy going into these gathering places, where locals talk of their daily concerns. It is not long after you've began sipping your coffee that you'll be up to speed with everything that is going on. There are local construction projects, church business, road repairs, maybe a local fire, and talk of who is sick and not working. Sometimes the waitress does not even have to ask what a particular customer wants to eat. An unspoken agreement happens automatically. Food starts to arrive, without the benefit of a menu or even much talk. Conversation is easy here. Much easier than in the city where I'm from. In a room full of regulars, I stand out easily. A short discussion soon reveals I'm staying with family at Heron Pond Farm. A smile covers their face as they leave wish me well.
After a snowfall, the next day is full of sunshine. Bare trees form wonderful patterns and lines up against the snow covered fields. The cold air warms up just a bit around mid-day so it feels comfortable if you are dressed for it. Buy the way, the weather determins the dress code, there is a different fashion esthetic that is based on warmth. Under the right conditions, a dark clear blue sky accents white snow covered farmland, with a New England farmhouse tucked into a group of trees. These are the landscapes that have so often been photographed and painted that they reside in our collective memories of even us city dwellers.
These days, it is possible to get fresh grown vegetables even in Winter. The Greenhouses are working their magic, through the hard work of an ever increasing number of year round farmers. An increasing number of locals enjoy fresh greens and root crops, local artisan cheese, pure maple syrup, and a surprising variety of products. Winter is not what it used to be. Here the recent mantra is about supporting local agriculture. The connection between community and food production is visable and encouraged.
All this happens surprisingly close to major cities like Portsmouth and Boston, which have great places to eat and enjoy a varied offering of food, and cultural events. In the warm months you can sit in a coffee shop have and great cup of coffee, along with some pastry, and live music. If you are a Photographer like me a wide choice of subject matter is available within reletively short distances. There is the beauty of Franconia Notch, with its rushing streams and mountain trails. If you like the New England seacoast, then there is a rich history available to your camera lens. In towns that dot the landscape local artists exhibit their artwork for a population that enjoys supporting them with their purchases.
New Hampshire offers a very wide selection of subject matter for the photographer. The time tested obvious shots can still be found. The challenge here would be to photograph these recognizable places in a unique way to make it your own. When the light co-operates wonderful landscapes reveal themselves to the trained eye. The older cities offer architecture of great form and character. The seacoast is a particular challenge, in that it is well photographed and recognized. You'll have to work a little harder to put your own stamp on this rich but familiar subject. One of my favorite places for a refreshing walk and good photographs is Franconia Notch, where the rocks, moss, waterfalls, and textures offer a great pallet of color. If you travel to New Hampshire in Winter, the proper outdoor clothing is a necessity.