Photography Theme: Remote Cabin in the Winter

Theme: Remote Cabin in Winter
Theme: Remote Cabin in Winter

I shoot book cover images for ArcAngel Images and every winter there is one theme I look for – remote, desolate, old buildings.  The type of places where a mystery or crime could take place.

The scene of some terrible drama that occurs during a howling snowstorm.  A place you don’t want your kidnapper to take you.  A place where no one can hear your screams.

Winter Warming Hut
Winter Warming Hut

Perhaps a place where the rabbits were butchered.  A sex crime occurred. A strange old hag lives casting her evil spells.

Maybe a place of poverty and shame.  Growing up in the shadows of the coal fields or where Grandpa sharpened his knives and axes.  Perhaps the place where secrets or fugitives are hidden.  Maybe shelter for that escaped convict from the local prison, unknown to the little girl sent out for kindling or to feed the goats.

Of course these old cabins in the woods or covered in a blanket of fresh winter snow don’t have to be the scene of terrible events.  They can be fond memories, sugaring shacks for boiling maple sap down to sweet syrup, they can be workshops, warm and toasty vacation spots or even warming huts for cross country skiers.

Snow covered log cabin
Snow Covered Log Cabin fine art photograph by Edward M. Fielding

You can see all of the cabin photographs by photographer Edward M. Fielding here  – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/cabin

The cabin photographs in this collectin depict remote cabins, barns, shacks and sheds in all seasons including winter, spring, summer and fall.

These fine art photographs, watercolors and paintings are available as prints rolled in a tube, framed and matted prints from hundreds of combinations of mats and frames, canvas prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, wood prints as well as on products such as tote bags, throw pillows, phone cases, greeting cards and more!

Recently sold – Winter in Vermont Artwork

Winter in Vermont - watercolor artwork by Edward M. Fielding
Winter in Vermont – watercolor artwork by Edward M. Fielding

“Winter in Vermont” is a watercolor treated photograph from the Brattleboro, Vermont area that depicts a classic red wood frame period farm house among sugar maple trees under a blanket of winter snow. An idyllic landscape that can still be seen in the villages of Vermont.

“Winter in Vermont” by Edward M. Fielding can be purchased as matted and framed wall art decor in 100s of combinations of framing choices and mats or you can purchase this image as a print rolled in a tube in a variety of fine art papers.

The image can also be purchased as a canvas, wood, metal or acrylic print of museum quality that is ready to hang.  It can also be purchased as a greeting card or custom Christmas card, tote bag, phone case, throw pillow, towel, shower curtain and more.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-winter-in-vermont-edward-fielding.html

Skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont

One of the most beloved movies of all time, “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer came out in 1965 but is still a belo

Based on the memoir “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria von Trapp, the movie was based on a real life family. And you can hang with decedents of the Trapp family at the Trapp Family Lodge and resort in Stowe, Vermont.

What is the sequel to the movie “The Sound of Music”?  The Trapp Family comes to America, tours as a singing group. After living for a short time in Merion, Pennsylvania, where they welcomed their youngest child, Johannes, the family dicovered the mountains of Vermont that reminded them of Austria and they settled in Stowe, Vermont, in 1941. They purchased a 660-acre (270 ha) farm in 1942 and converted it into the Trapp Family Lodge.

In the video above, see if you can spot the maple sap lines along the trails leading down to the Trapp Maple Sugaring House where the sap is boiled down to syrup.

Today the Trapp Family Lodge is a full resort with an Austrian flair.  Accommodations from Villas to condos to a hotel with activities from hiking, spa, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Austrian Tea House and even a craft beer brewery and pub.

In the 60’s, fresh from college skiing at Dartmouth, Johannes Trapp is credited with starting the first Nordic ski center in the USA.   Today the cross-country skiing facilities at Trapp Family Lodge have been ranked in the top 50 Nordic ski centers in the country.

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Trapp Family Lodge features over 37 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails suitable for cross-country skiers of all ages and abilities.   They even have some snow making on the race trails.  You can rent equipment at the resort’s Nordic Center, which includes a retail shop, and take a  exhilarating trip to Slayton Pasture Cabin where you can warm up on the hearth of a roaring fireplace and replenish your energy with homemade soup, sandwiches, and hot chocolate.

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The journey to Slayton Pasture Cabin may be long, but it’s worth it. You’ll know the minute you walk in.

This rustic and cozy log cabin is the perfect rendezvous spot for lunch with family and friends. Take a seat by the hearth of our roaring fireplace and savor some homemade soups and sandwiches.

Then enjoy a hot chocolate, which is the perfect way to warm up after a long day of skiing. Slayton Pasture Cabin is open from 10:00AM-3:00PM daily during the winter months.

We recently took a trip up to Stowe and the Trapp Family Lodge.  Its just over an hour up Rt 89 from the Upper Valley to Stowe.  An exit at Waterbury with all of its foodie attractions including the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese outlet, Lake Champlain Chocolates and the Cider House.

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At Stowe we paid our $25 per person trail fee and set off for the Slayer Cabin which makes a great halfway point on a loop up and down the mountain.  Its a tough climb all the way up to the cabin but homemade soup ($13 for two smalls and a large bowl for the teenager), outhouses and a warm fire makes a nice stop.

In the winter of 1968, the Trapp Family Lodge Cross-Country Ski Center opened as the first full service center of its kind in North America. With success came longer trails and construction of the Slayton Pasture Cabin (built in 1971) as a destination lunch and warming facility. Today, the Slayton Pasture Cabin serves soups and sandwiches next to a roaring hearth to guests who are ready and eager to make the 10 kilometer round excursion. For many skiers and hikers, the iconic Cabin represents a special achievement while providing an intimate glimpse into the past of Vermont ski history.

Unfortunately the recent weather – dump of snow and then a couple of warm days followed by cold nights – left the Haul Road trail on the way down rather icy.  I ended up walking down a few sections because the trail was shear ice.   But over all we always enjoy our trips to this beautiful piece of property in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont.

On the way home who could pass up an opportunity to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont?

Electric Snow Shovels and Electric Snow Blowers

 

 

Due to climate change we haven’t had winters like we had in the past.  In fact the last two winters had such little snow that I shoveled the driveway by hand.  And my son’s cross-country ski team had to deal with cancelled and delayed meets.  Even this year practices early in the season were mostly running and training in the gym or skiing on a dusting of snow on the artificial turf of the football field.

But now in mid-February we got a string of snow storms that dumped a couple of feet of snow on us.  I’ve been keeping the deck, driveway and front walk clear of snow using a good old fashioned shovel – which is great exercise and a nice and quiet way to enjoy the silence of a snowy day but also with an electric snow shovel and an electric snow blower.

My electric shovel is probably 12 years old now.  I got it originally for vacation house in the North Conway area.  My electric snowblower is more recent.  After dealing with a gas powered, noisy, hard to start and frequently breaking down snow blower for years, I sold it at a yard sale and got this electric one.

We had a long driveway in Maine so the gas powered blower was required but here in New Hampshire the entire driveway is reachable by a long electric cord.  The gas blower was two stage and more powerful then the electric blower but so far I haven’t run into any storm that it can’t handle, as long as you go slow.  The gas blower will chop through anything with its metal blades while the electric blower is made of hard plastic and is designed for smaller jobs.  But still its been fine and best of all its quiet and starts immediately.  Plus there is no gas to mix and spill.

If you have a smaller area to blow and don’t have killer storms, I highly recommend an electric snow blower and shovel.


 

 

 

Essential Winter Photography Equipment – A good pair of boots!

Winter Boots – I typically review photography equipment but the recent dumps of snow we’ve gotten lately (more snow than the last two years!), has made me re-evalute my winter footwear equipment.

At this point we have an inch of ice as a base layer followed by six inches of crust and then a layer of about 8 – 12 inches of fluffy snow.  On the sides of the road we have waist high snow plow created berms and then anything between ice and waist deep drifts of snow in the fields.

Time for new winter boots!
Time for new winter boots!

I can no longer keep putting off new winter boots.  My last pair must be about 10 years old and the soles are nearly worn through, the laces are long gone and water is seeping through holes in the sides.

I have several pairs of shoes for the winter:

A short pull on sneaker like shoe with very aggressive soles for when I’m walking in shoveled area. Mine are kind of like these from Merrell but mine were made by Salomon and have an even more aggressive soul.   When they came out on the market they were an entirely new kind of shoe.  Something you could slip on to go from the ski lodge to the car.  I don’t know why they stopped making them, they were very unique and different than anything I’ve seen since.  Mine and  my wife’s pairs are still going strong after about 12 years of use in the snow.

A mid-height insulated “duck hunter” type boot that great for wet sloppy stuff.  But I don’t like fiddling with the laces!

And a tall winter boot for deep snow, snowshoeing and snowblowing/shoveling the driveway.  Plus for jumping over banks and into drifts of deep snow to capture some winter photographs.

My criteria for winter snow boots is the following:

  • They have to be warm.
  • They have to be waterproof, at least on the bottom few inches.
  • They have to be easy to slip on and off as I’m going out to get firewood and have to come in an out several times.
  • They have to have a good grip on ice and snow.
  • No laces – I’m done with having to lace them or having the laces break constantly or come undone.
  • I have to be able to drive with them on.

I ended up getting these as my replacement for my old used up Sorrells.

Its a basic boot that meet the criteria I need to attack the drifts and climb the snow mounds.  Thick sole, high sides, no laces other than a pull string at the tip to close up the boot to snow, dirt, salt crystals or whatever.  Easy to pull on and off these will be great for tackling the rest of the winter season.

Kamik Men's Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot
Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot

The Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot – 

Protects to -40! Kamik: an Inuit word meaning “foot covering.” Kamik Boots Company has operated over 100 years and, much like the Inuit, they know a thing or two about staying warm in the deep freeze. Waterproof; Flexible Duration 600 nylon uppers; Lace lock snow collar; Self-cleaning PULSE Rubber HE outsole; Removable Thermal Guard moisture-wicking lining; Rear pull-on loop; Rated to -40 Degrees F.; Each approximately 14″ height, 31 ounces; Imported; Half sizes, order the next larger full size. Kamik Greenbay Men’s Waterproof 4 Winter Boots, Black

You’ll scoff at wintery weather in this high-tech snow boot from Kamik. Constructed with a lightweight yet durable waterproof nylon shell, the Greenbay 4 features a removable felt liner and a lace-lock snow collar designed to keep warmth in and cold out. Rated to -40° Fahrenheit, the boot has a mid-foot adjustable Velcro closure strap to help keep the foot snug and a thick treaded rubber outsole for traction on slippery, icy surfaces.

FCC Disclaimer:  I purchased these boots myself.  No product was provided.

Winter Trip to the Cilleyville Bridge

Here in New Hampshire we recently experienced two blizzards within days with a bit more snow in the forecast. We had more snow this week then we’ve had in two years! So I’m feeling a bit of pressure to get out and photograph it.

The tricking part is finding the time between A. Being ordered by the Governor to stay off the roads unless its an emergency B. Shoveling out the driveway and C. Simply timing the weather.

Yesterday was 18 hours of snowfall, yesterday clouding and digging out but today was a great sunny winter day with temps in the mid-twenties which is down right balmy if you are well dressed. I decide to take a trip to a small covered bridge in Andover, NH called the Cilleyville Bridge. It always has a big American flag hanging on it so I knew that would look great against the snow. Here is what it looks like in the summer months:

Photography Prints

According to the local historians, the structure was built by a local carpenter by the name of Print Atwood. He was assisted by Al Emerson and Charles Wilson. Local folklore suggests that during construction, Emerson and Wilson became upset and cut some of the timbers short, causing the bridge to tilt. On the other hand, engineers might suggest that the tilt is caused by the very nature of the Town lattice truss design.

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The bridge was the last covered, and probably the shortest built in Andover. It was bypassed in 1959 and restricted to foot traffic. Located in the Cilleyville section of Andover, it was originally known as Bog Bridge. A Cilleyville Bridge was nearby, spanning the Blackwater river.

After it was torn down in 1908, the original Bog Bridge became known as the Cilleyville Bridge. The roof was reshingled in 1962 at a cost of $600. On March 9, 1982 the roof caved in from excessive snow load. The town repaired it in July 1982 for $3,400. The bridge was the model for the Shattuck murals of typical New Hampshire scenes which were once located in the State House in Concord. The Cilleyville Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Photography Prints

It was a great day out.  The sun warmed up the roads and melted the snow and ice so the drive over the foothills of the White Mountains on 4A was pleasant and I stopped along the way to photograph around the Shaker Village in Enfield.

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The only problem I ran into was that the snow was so high it kept getting into my 10-year-old Sorrel tall winter boots. I had to reach into my boots and pull out handfuls of snow from time to time which soaked my jeans. But at least it pushed me over the edge as far as buying a new pair of boots which I’ve been putting off. The heels on my old boots were basically gone and there were slashes in the sides. What I liked about the Sorrels was they were easy to slip in and out of and I could use them with snow shoes. What I didn’t like was the laces which never stayed tied and eventually I just removed.

I ordered a new pair of these boots from Kamik which are similar but don’t have any annoying laces. Kamik is a Canadian brand and if its anything the Canadian’s know about, its cold and snow. My son has had a pair of these for a few years and likes them.

 

More Covered Bridges: http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/covered+bridge

Finally a great dump of snow! Nordic skiing in the Upper Valley

After the last couple of years of crummy snow conditions it was great getting trip of blizzards this week!

Some people are getting up tight about snow days and the high school year being extended but who cares? My son’s a senior, his graduation day is set in stone. Bring on the snow!

If you live down in Florida or some place where you don’t have snow, this next video will give you an idea of what you are missing. Sure the shoveling is tough but its good exercise.

During the blizzard I like to stay off the roads and let the snow plow crews do their work. Nothing is worse than having to pull cars out of banks and ditches when the drivers could have just stayed at home or maybe planned ahead for that gallon of milk they do desperately needed in the middle of a blizzard.

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Luckily in my neighborhood I have this great big old dairy barn to photograph. Its wooden red exterior looks great in the billowing snow storm.

Photography Prints

I hiked through the woods, across the road to get these shots of the old red barn in the peak of the onslaught of snow flurries. It was coming down at about two inches an hour at this point and the snow was sliding off the metal roof from the wind blasts.

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Getting up close to the barn took a bit of doing.  I had my knee high boots on but had to deal with an incredibly steep bank created by the plows and then walk through the layers of ice, six inches of crust and then the eight inches or so of powder snow.

In contrast here is what the scene looks like in the summer time.

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Winter Photography

Winter is a great time to get out and explore the beautiful landscape especially if you are lucky enough to live in an area that gets great snow falls. Of course it all depend on if you can actually get out of the house and if the wife takes the four wheel drive car.

Photography Prints

Fortunately I live within walking distance to two great old red New England barns as well as the picturesque Hanover Center with its majestic white classic New England church.

When we can get out and play in the snow we like to head to a beautiful forest property where the owners grow trees, cut firewood and maintain a incredible cross country ski trails on the site of an old girl scout camp.

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Or if we have more time we like to head up to Stowe, Vermont and ski on the Trapp Family (yes the same Von Trapp’s from “The Sound of Music”) ski trails. They have a great network of trails and a cool old log cabin on the way up the mountain that serves soups and sandwiches.

Photography Prints

Another neat building on the property is this old stone chapel in the woods. The story goes that Verner Von Trapp built the “Chapel in the Woods” on a hillside behind the family home, in thanksgiving for his safe return from wartime service.

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We also live near Dartmouth College which presents good opportunities for photographs.

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But as far as getting winter shots in the middle of a snow storm with the roads full of snow and the wind whipping around, its best to set out on foot which is why my neighbor’s barn is such a good subject.

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I avoid being on the roads when its snowing if I can but this shot was taken on Christmas Eve when we were heading back home from Stowe, Vermont. I just had to find a spot to pull over and take a picture of this scene with horses, a small red barn and of course a snow flurry.

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One Fine Day in Winter – The Life of the Photographer

One Fine Day in Winter – The Life of the Photographer

Growing up I was a huge fan of Mad Magazine and especially Don Martin’s cartoons which often had titles such as “One Fine Day in XYZ”. Combine that with my new learning challenge of creating videos and you get a result like the above video which attempts to get the viewer a glimpse into my process. Yes, mundane chores like like doing the laundry, giving rides to ski practice and grocery shopping get in the way of the “glamorous” life of the fine art photographer.

Big snow falls add extra challenges. 1. being the driveway has to be shoveled before any play happens. 2. it is often not safe to stop along a roadside when the plows are still working or the ditches are just waiting to swallow your car. 3.when you are the one working from home you get a list of chores to do.

Not all is as it seems in winter. A couple years ago I drove up what I thought was a snow covered driveway but it turned out to be a snowmobile trail and it swallowed my new car. I ended up walking to a country store and buying lunch for a burly landscaper kind of dude with a truck full of shovels to come and help we get out of the snow bank.

Oh the hazards of the job. Full of adventure yet full of perils not shown on a GPS unit.  Here are a few captures from Etna, NH after snow storm Nico.  8 – 12 more inches are on the way!

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Living in New England And The Tools Required

One of the best things about living in New England is the experience of changing seasons.  We have four distinct seasons – Summer, Fall, Winter and Mud.

In each season comes the direct relationship with nature.  Winter of course is the most unpredictable and most disruptive.  If you have no plans and not appointments, getting socked in by a winter wallop of snow is kind of fun.  You crank up the wood stove and settle in for a cosy day of hot chocolate, board games and listening to the house creak or an avalanche of snow coming off the metal roof.

Unfortunately there typically are things like – work or dentist appointments or school.  Luckily we don’t live too far off the plowed roads.  I usually tackle my driveway by hand if the snow is not too deep or a crank up my electric snowblower.

In Maine, I had a big gas powered snowblower and a long driveway.  I head off down the drive way, often in the dark, with a headlamp on.  It took at minimum four passes with the snowblower.  That gas snowblower and I didn’t have a very good relationship.  The hand-crank rope kept breaking and the electric start required pulling the heavy machine back to the house where the electric plug was waiting. Then there was the gas mixing.  You had to add oil and gas to the right mixture or otherwise the engine would couch and spew black smoke.  I moved it here to New Hampshire and it never wanted to start.  I even paid for a new carburetor and it still didn’t start.

Another part of winter in New England – getting the salt off your car!

I’ve gone through a number of gas chainsaws the same way.  They say the ethanol gas is to blame. It just kills small engines. So I’ve switched to electric – I have an battery chainsaw, battery trimmer and a corded snowblower. They all work great and are nice and quiet.  For the tiny lawn we have I just have a old fashioned push mower.

But if the snow isn’t too deep I’d still prefer to use a shovel and enjoy the quiet of a snowy day.

Recommended products

I recommend an electric snowblower because:

  • No gas, no mixing
  • Instant start
  • Lightweight

I don’t recommend them if you:

  • Have a very long driveway
  • Often have deep heavy snow
  • If you lose power a lot (we have a backup generator)

Battery Chain Saws

Recommended for light work around the yard. You can go for maybe 20 minutes one battery. Extra batteries are not cheap but unless you need to go all day, having to take a break isn’t always a bad thing.  Over all one of the best chainsaws I have ever owned.  The speed of the chain seems slower than a gas model but the chain is designed to work at that speed.  The chain tightening system is superior to any gas chainsaw I’ve owned.  For first time chain saw buyers, I’d recommend this one.  Plus the battery system works with other tools.

Battery Powered Trimmers

These battery operated trimmers are fantastic. If you are a landscaper who trims all day maybe you would not want this but for a home owner who needs to trim for 20 minutes or so in a session, these are perfect. They are quiet, don’t produce any smoke and when they are off, they are off, when they are on, they are on. No idling.