There is always some date in February when the urgent call of spring renewal defeats the leaden desire for inaction, baked goods and pasta. And when I heed that call, I am compelled to spend some time outside walking and engaging with like minded plants and animals. February 23 was the day this year, when I needed to and had the energy to slug off a long hard winter hibernation.
This is what I saw.
Can you identify my garden plants from their sprouts?
One bird’s love song is another birds dinner bell. The hawk was waiting for dinner to be served. The barn bird had a nest hidden beneath the loose shingle. You can see the buds on the trees in the hawk photos.
It was nearly 60-degrees when I went strolling. Many neighbors shared the roads and pathways with me. Ultimately I put in about 3 miles and was energized more than tired by the excursion.
There are white birch in the woods behind my house, but this one is the one that ventured farthest from the other clusters and closest to our property. And well, pussywillows, need I say more. The barn is the home of many wild birds and once I saw a raccoon had made its home inside as well, but that was when the farm grew more corn.
Wrapping up 2016, Perhaps my most exciting photo adventure this year was being sponsored by Rep Diana DiZoglio for a Massachusetts State House Exhibit in partnership with my husband who is also a photographer. We had a one week show featuring the Merrimack Valley and beyond, towns very near and dear to our hearts. And we are in discussions to restage that show elsewhere! You can see more of Jon’s work at Jonathan W Campbell Photography
I was also thrilled to become part of history. Are you kidding me!!! My 2016 The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar was juried into a time capsule for a gorgeous new city building that is part of the downtown renaissance of Haverhill, MA. I expect to be in the crowd in 25 years when the capsule is re-opened.
But don’t stop there – other memorable photo moments included a blue ribbon for the Topsfield Fair Agricultural Photo Competition and two honorable mentions at the Middleton Stream Team contest.
I had two cover photos for Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce publications, had two images picked up by a Boston architectural firm, incorporated photos into a new marketing piece for the City of Haverhill, and helped people re-entering the workforce by shooting their profile pictures.
I received no awards at the Mass Audubon competition or Essex National Heritage Competition (you can’t win them all), but I did kind of win for the fact that I got out and explored these wonderful places.
Personally I love competitions, for as random and perplexing as some results may seem (I cannot tell you how many times I felt someone else was more deserving of my award), but if the judges provide commentary, it encourages me to up my game and look for something others might miss. Plus there are some good prizes that help with this expanding hobby as well as The Heartbeat of Haverhill calendar. Added bonus – there are always new and inspiring people to meet – other photographers and people in the street and on the trails.
So check out competitions if you love taking photos. You may as well start sharing your work within a larger and mostly supportive circle. I know I’d like to see what you’re shooting! And in the meantime – may you all experience peace along with a sense of beauty, wonder, and joy to inspire you.