Topsfield Fair – Harvesting Farm Photo Wins

During a tour of Chris’ Farm Stand, one of Haverhill’s many large tracts of agricultural space, for an article I was writing for a local paper, I noticed that despite the absolutely packed schedule of the day with tentacles of mayhem trying to drag me/pull me into stress and chaos, I felt calm, and what was that sensation…. happiness. Being outside with a farm dog to pat and the explosion of growth in the fields, provides me with a serenity and clarity that little else can. And this is in Haverhill, just a couple of miles from the urban center of our small city, a city more often thought of in terms of its bustling downtown than the agricultural expanses that actually make up more of the city than the downtown area does.

Haverhill is home to over a dozen farms that provide everything from Christmas trees, sunflowers, and raspberries, to eggs, meat, produce, and honey. So it is no wonder I had plenty of choices when it came time to enter the Topsfield Fair Farm photo competition.

And while the chance to share a side of Haverhill that is often overlooked was reward enough, I was pretty dang excited to harvest a crop of ribbons for my efforts. I entered four photos; won three ribbons, including one first place and two honorable mentions in a crowded field.

So I’d like to salute Haverhill’s farms, sustaining me not just through their food, but also through their beauty (I won $10!!! for my first place ribbon.)

The photos of me with my entries were taken by my supportive husband, Jonathan Campbell who knows how to show a girl a good time at the Fair – Learneds Blueberry cobbler, a quart of Leavitts darkest maple syrup, and a willingness to judge (in our own amateur way) the flower entries and dahlias. (c) Jonathan W Campbell

Here are my copyrighted photos of my entries:  Tattersall Farm – Farm Equipment (1st place), Chris’ Farm Stand – Farm people (Honorable mention), Kimball Farm – Farm Animals (Mark and Mike) Honorable mention. The photo of draft horses Mark and Mike at Kimball Farm was selected by the readers of my Facebook page,  The Heartbeat of Haverhill. Good choice readers. Thank you! I may not have won a ribbon with my fourth entry, but I was so impressed with the beauty of Turkey Hill Farm Christmas trees that I entered an image into the landscape category, and also included that picture in my The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar last year. All photos (c) by Alison Colby-Campbell

DSC_1747 HAV by alison Colby-Campbell Tattersall Farm 8x10 (2)
Tattersall Farm — Antique farm equipment in snow. 1st place farm equipment category (c) Alison Colby-Campbell
DSC_3602 (6) HAV by Alison Colby-Campbell Topsfield Fair Chris Farm Stand Farm People brighter 8x10
Chris’ Farm Stand – negotiating for a pumpkin. Honorable mention
DSC_1388 HAV by Alison Colby-Campbell Topsfield Fair KImball Farm Horses (3) brighter
The Heartbeat of Haverhill’s readers’ favorite Mark and Mike at Kimball farm Haverhill reaped an honorable mention (c)Alison Colby-Campbell
DSC_2093 HAv by Alison Colby-Campbell Turkey Hill Farm 8x10
Turkey Hill Farm – Unique tree marking technique. (c)Alison Colby-Campbell

I also entered two framed photographs (beautifully and expeditiously framed by Ideal Frame of Haverhill) into the Fine Arts competition, no ribbons there, but was so pleased to see my friends who love photography, arts, quilting, and knitting did grab some top honors.  And not surprisingly some of my favorite farms took home ribbons for the wonders that they grow.

IMG_2485 (2)HAV PLUG POND LAST CAST TOPSFIELD FAIR 2018 ENTRY
Plug Pond Fishing – The Last Cast in memory of my father who made his last cast at Plugs Pond in 2018 (c)Alison Colby-Campbell
IMG_2488 (2) HAV BUG LIGHT RELAY FOR LIFE TOPSFIELD FAIR ENTRY 2018
Relay for Life at NECC Haverhill, my photo captured all these angels dancing wildly at the event. (c)Alison Colby-Campbell

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The Farms of Haverhill, Massachusetts provide a balm to stressful lives. If you are looking for good food for the body, heart, and soul, check them out.  (I am definitely missing a few, add names in comments.)

Chris’ Farm Stand  Known for: Poultry, eggs, veggies (especially corn and tomatoes), CSA and activities. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market

Crescent Farm Known for: Ice cream, cider donuts, Northeast Tractor Pull competition, supplying silage to feed the Richardson Dairy Cows

Fays Farm and Orchard Known for: pick your own and already picked apples and peaches, cider. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market

Hansen’s Tree Farm – Cut your own Christmas trees

Lovers Lane Tree Farm – Cut your own Christmas trees

Old Wild Farm – Wool, Hay, fruits and veggies. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market.

Rogers Spring Hill Known for Garden and farm supplies, pyo pumpkins and strawberries, activities. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market

Srybny Farms Known for: Silver queen corn, wide assortment of peppers and tomatoes, flowering plants

Tattersall Farm Known for: trails, history, antique farm equipment, community garden

Turkey Hill Farm  Known for: Christmas trees, pyo berries and flowers

Wallys Vegetables: Veggies of course. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market

Willow Spring Vineyards – grape and rhubarb wines, jellies, honey. Vendor at Haverhill’s Farmers Market

Haverhill’s Farmers Market – great for food, fish, produce, ice cream, coffee, fun and music

 

(c) by Alison Colby-Campbell (images and text)

except where noted that the photo belongs to and is copyrighted by Jonathan Campbell

 

 

Defining Success in Photography

Let’s face it, we wouldn’t enter if we didn’t hope. And that is why after missing the Farm Photo deadline, all my hope was behind the two photographs I entered into the 2017 Topsfield Fair Fine Arts Professional category. And that is why I zoomed passed all the fascinating sights, sounds, and smells along the way to get to the middle of the Fair ASAP. Destination  – Coolidge Building.

IMG_0025 Middleton Stream Team 2016 Contest 8x10 w watermark

My pace slowed as my eyes adjusted and then darted in every direction inside the fine art section. The other entries!!! Wow, such stellar talent on display. My expectations deflated with each in the never ending sequence of awesome photos that weren’t mine.  I couldn’t even locate my entries. Eventually, I found one, and then the other, neither obstructed by any colored ribbon. I didn’t win, even though I really loved my photos.

DSC_6030 2017 PHOTO CONTEST Haverhill Fat bike Race Series at Plug Pond 2017 PHOTO CONTEST

I wrapped my head around the fact there wasn’t going to be a long section in my Christmas letter about photography scores this year. But that mood dampening thought dissolved in the presence of pat-loving sheep, Volkswagen-sized pumpkins, and ice cream melting on warm blueberry crisp. Instead the future called to me in the potential to snag a few photos as the sky warmed then dimmed in a way that really showcased the fair’s neon. Is that portion of ferris wheel at sunset a potential winner? I shot until batteries died, then switched cameras until those batteries died, too,  then dragged myself and my 10+lbs of equipment to the car. I’d be back again at least one more time this year.

IMG_9137 Topsfield fair rides at dusk 2017

The Fair though it spans 10-days was over almost as quickly as my blueberry crisp and it was time to retrieve this year’s best hope. One photo could not be located. Hey what?! I loved that picture; you have to find it. And then hope crept back in as I haltingly queried: “Is it…possible… it sold?” Without knowing me, I got the impression the woman assisting me had sized me up as a procrastinating non-winner, she seemed disengaged.  In her defense, she probably had lots to do to tie up loose ends with this Fair and prepare for the next in 346 days. She went back to look, again. I wanted to shout after her – “I can explain.  I couldn’t come to the official pick up day because my dad went into the hospital, yes I am a procrastinator but not this time… he’s doing better by the way.”

IMG_0475 Topsfield Fair 2017

She came back empty handed and made a call. Then with a simple quiet comment let me know that the other photo had sold. What!!!! I tried to match her professional and quiet demeanor by tamping down my enthusiasm and withholding loud statements like  “WOOHOO! Where are the confetti cannons, the marching band, the interviews on TMZ?” This subduing effort subsequently exploded my brain as I took an email address from her to get more information and promptly lost it even before completing the series of calls I made in the parking lot to hopefully interested family members. I sold a photo, the very first time I offered one for sale at Topsfield Fair! Whoever bought it, you rock.

IMG_0533 Topsfield Fair 2017 rides

I had a day to get over that excitement (okay, I’m not really over it yet) when I received a request asking my husband and me to be part of a new regional photography exhibition to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 21-city and town Ipswich River Water Shed Association.  And that just jump started my excitement all over. And my Christmas letter, as I write it in my mind,  is sounding pretty good!

(c)Alison Colby-Campbell