The View from Pack Monadnock: Part 1

Wapack Trail at Miller State Park

If there’s one thing I hope to have accomplished by the end of summer writing for this blog, it’s that I’ve connected to the natural world in a way I haven’t expected. Many of the most valuable experiences I’ve had exploring the outdoors happened by changing my perspective. Sometimes just by reassigning myself a new role, redefining my purpose for being there, I’ve observed something new. On the same trail a birdwatcher might be listening to the canopy, while a runner is instead noticing the feel of the earth under her feet. Maybe because the world is really too large to take in all at once we need these windows to catch a glimpse of the details.

With a camera in hand you begin to see differently. A photographer must find shapes and lines in the landscape, and how these elements connect or contrast to create a mood. Light becomes something entirely new. This week I decided to explore Miller State Park from the perspective of an artist.

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ll remember that one of my predecessors, Daniel Wilkinson, has also visited this park. You should read his post for a great summary of its history and some spot-on hiking recommendations. For this post, I hope to show you something a little different.

To guide me towards making some new discoveries with my camera I asked a professional for assistance. If you don’t know Jim Salge by name yet, you’re probably already familiar with his work. It’s appeared in park newsletters, been featured in magazines, and will soon be on the cover of a new book “Eastern Alpine Guide: Natural History and Conservation of Auto Road to the Summit of Pack MonadnockMountain Tundra East of the Rockies.”

Jim first came to New Hampshire ten years ago to begin work as a meteorologist at the Mount Washington Observatory. It was the extreme weather conditions, and also the stunning beauty, of the mountain that inspired him to take up photography. He now works as a high school physics teacher and spends his free time hiking, mountain biking, fishing, skiing, and of course, taking pictures.

He’s also kind of my hero for the dedication and passion he has for his art. Jim believes in capturing the moment in the camera, not in creating it later on a computer. For the right exposure he’s willing to brave some extremes, like hiking a ravine in the snow at 3am to be there in time for sunrise.

So this past Tuesday on the hottest, haziest day we’ve had all month I met Jim at the base of Pack Monadnock to walk the 1.4 mile auto-road 2,290 feet to the summit.

For an account of our trip (including some great photography tips from Jim) please read my post next week!

*Previous photographs mine, and below, Jim’s photograph of a September sunrise from Mount Clay

Jim Salge Photography - Sunrise From Clay

For more information about Jim Salge’s work please visit his website or find him on Facebook.



Jackie Raiford, New Hampshire State Parks Intern

I'm a graduate student working towards my Masters in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. My research interests include the conservation of urban green spaces for the physical and psychological health of communities. I lived for the first 24 years of my life in Rockville, Maryland just north of Washington D.C. I have traveled a little both domestically and abroad, and lived for six months in Australia. I also work as a dance and fitness instructor, and am certified by the American Council on Exercise.

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