Looking back at 2011

Tropical Storm Irene clean-up in Waterbury VT

Members of the Harwood Union High School boys soccer team dig thick, heavy mud from a Waterbury resident’s basement after Tropical Storm Irene on Friday Sept. 2, 2011 while discussing the afternoon’s soccer practice drills.

The year in review.  I chose these photos, some of them for their photographic merit, but a lot of them for the situations I experienced while taking them.  2011 was an incredible year with intense moments brought on by horrific weather as well as some sweet, light-hearted celebrations tucked between.  These are the kind of photos that populate my house and decorate my walls.  Though strangers to most, the people I photograph have shared a brief moment with me and I carry those memories fondly year to year.  So, this post is a thank you to the newspaper that grants me the opportunity to shoot these bits of life and to the people I photograph because I know that is it not an easy thing to open your life to a complete stranger…and let her photograph it.


To see a complete photo gallery showcasing the best work of the Burlington Free Press staff and freelance photographers click here.

Burlington, VT waterfront fog

A group of women practice yoga on the Burlington Fishing Pier as the entire Burlington Waterfront is covered in low fog on Monday morning June 27, 2011.

Search for missing man at Milton Dam

Lt. Thomas Benard of the Milton Fire Department looks out over the drained Lamoille River after the Milton Dam was closed to allow search crews to enter the river basin in search of David Driscoll on Friday afternoon April 15, 2011.

Dux the Balloon Guy

Dux the Balloon Man creates large, colorful art pieces made entirely of balloons.  Dux’s art can be seen hanging from the ceilings of Higher Ground.

Mallard ducks fly over Burlington

A pair of Mallard ducks fly over the Burlington Waterfront on a windy Saturday afternoon on Feb. 5, 2011.

I shot this photo quickly as I noticed the ducks’ shadows blocking my light for a photo I was intending to take.  Wondering what the shadow was I quickly flipped around, aimed over my shoulder, took a fast twist to my focus ring and snapped three frames.  I’ve never been into wildlife photography, but I loved this fluke photo and received a lot of fun attention from it.  Funny, the photos I was assigned to take received no notice or love from the public, but the fluke mallard photo?  Tons.  Go figure.

Mr. and Miss Soccer Vermont

The Free Press Soccer Players of the Year.  Colchester’s Lauren Bernard and Burlington’s Claude Mumbere.

Hyde Park Vermont town meeting day

Select board member Allen Cusson watches as Hyde Park residents vote a no confidence vote against him and select board members Russell Lanphear and Scott Griswold at Tuesday’s annual town meeting at Lamoille Union High School on Tuesday March 1, 2011 after allegations of their involvement in a sexual harassment suit surfaced earlier this year.

What a look.  Priceless.

Stowe Theater Guild Vermont

David Gaboree takes a moment backstage before the start of the Stowe Theatre Guild’s Songs for a New World at the Stowe Town Hall Theater on Wednesday evening June 29, 2011.

Hinesburg Vermont snowstorm

David Palmer takes a break from clearing his driveway with an ATV in Hinesburg village on Monday March 7, 2011.

Tropical Storm Irene hits Pittsfield Vermont

Greg Martin of Pittsfield stands next to the destroyed foundation where the white farmhouse (background) once stood.  Martin and his father, Steven, rescued the home’s two residents, and their dogs, during Tropical Storm Irene shortly before the home they were stranded in swept away.

Tropical Storm Irene was an intensely emotional, busy and draining time for all involved – newspaper people included.  Seeing so much destruction was overwhelming but the sense of community restored by Irene was inspiring.  I wrote about my thoughts and experiences during Irene in a previous blog post here.

Phish plays Vermont Irene Benefit

Phish front man Trey Anastasio performs at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction Wednesday night, September 14, 2011, for a special concert to benefit Tropical Storm Irene flood victims in Vermont.

Huntington Gorge rescue Vermont

Colchester Technical Rescue Chief Mike Cannon harnesses Ryan Fazekas, 25, of Wolcott that was caught in the heavy current at the Huntington Gorge on Thursday July 7, 2011.

My hands were shaking as I perched on the edge of a cliff in a poison ivy patch with 300mm prime slung over my shoulder as I prepared to witness the worst.  All media responded when Richmond fire and police toned out for a rescue at the infamous and deadly Huntington Gorge.  Racing up the narrow, gravel riverside road I couldn’t quite prepare for the sight I’d encounter.  Gripping with just his finger tips, Ryan Fazekas worked desperately to hang on for his life as rescue crews got in place.  I fired photos as the scene developed thinking that this might be it.  This could be a horrible end, but thankfully it was a miraculous rescue.  To read more about this rescue effort, read my original blog post here.

Mixed Martial Arts Weisman

Mixed martial arts fighter Noah Weisman trains at the Fitness Zone in St. Albans on Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011 in preparation for this weekend’s fight.

Tropical Storm Irene hits Stockbridge Vermont

Stockbridge residents hold a selectboard meeting at a local diner after losing their town offices to Tropical Storm Irene to discuss their options and ability to aquire federal assistance on Thursday Oct. 6, 2011.

My full post about my in-depth series on Stockbridge during Tropical Storm Irene can be read here.

Barre Vermont hit by flooding

Barre residents survey the damage outside their home after flash floods ripped through the town on Friday May 27, 2011.

Water, water everywhere.  The theme of 2011 was easily: water.  Whether it be rain or snow or flash floods or tropical storms, Vermont saw unprecedented amounts of water that ravaged the landscape.  Read an earlier post about my experiences with the floods and my futile efforts to stay dry here AND here.

Story time at Fletcher Free Library

William Cunningham, 1, peers over the book stacks at Fletcher Free Library in Burlington during a Summer Reading Program event on Monday June 20, 2011.

Vermont State Spelling Bee

Meigan Clark reacts after correctly spelling “scurrilous” in the 31st round of the Vermont State Individual Spelling Bee at St. Michael’s College on Wednesday March 16, 2011.  The bee lasted nearly 4 hours.

I shoot this event every year and love every minute of it.  Slow?  Yes.  But, a state spelling bee builds gradually and carries its own brand of suspense.  These kids are great and are full of expressions.  I sit in wait hoping for a smirk or tweak of the brow or emotional outburst whether happy or sad.  This year’s spelling bee was no different except that the intensity built over the course of four excruciating hours.  Back and forth, over and over, the final two spellers couldn’t quite launch to the grand win.  But, when the winner, Meigan Clark, won her expression was absolutely worth every minute.

Brattleboro, Vermont hit by Tropical Storm Irene

Lisa Hamilton lifts Aubree Chapman, 3, out of the bridge wreckage on Cooke Rd. while her mother (far left) waits her turn as they evacuate their home after heavy flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in Brattleboro on Monday Aug. 29, 2011.

This was an incredible moment to witness as a small child is reunited with her family.

A run with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin

Gov. Peter Shumlin clears his head during a run after a busy day on the job on Wednesday May 25, 2011.

This is photo isn’t amazing, I know.  However, what makes me love this photo is the memory stored with it.  Reporter Terri Hallenbeck and I chose a non-traditional way of conducting an interview…by going for a run.  Terri, Shumlin and I hit the trails near his headquarters in Montpelier but tucked away (secretly) in the country.  Imagine the technical difficulties of shooting while running.  Ok.  Now, imagine running alongside a very fit governor who knows the trails infinitely better than you do.  Put those two together and try, try to understand the ridiculous sight I must’ve created by running and dodging rocks and roots to keep up with the state’s head honcho.  Read the original post and full details here.

Bonerama plays Burlington, Vermont

Bonerama plays the Waterfront Park Groove Tent at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival on Thursday June 9, 2011.

Robinson School Starksboro, Vermont

Robinson School Principal Dan Noel explains how the 19 solar trackers produce all the power necessary to run the Starksboro school.

Tiniest snowman in Burlington Vermont

A tiny snowman named “Little Frosty” stands on Main Street in Burlington on Thursday afternoon with its creator, Cowboy.  Cowboy says over 130 people have taken photos of the tiny snowman that he scoops up every night and hides for the next day. 

I noticed this little display over the course of three days and by that third day finally got around to asking the guy about this odd street scenario.  There was no snow in Burlington, in fact, though cold, Burlington had not seen snow for days but that didn’t stop “Cowboy.”  Each night Cowboy scooped up his tiny snowman, growing smaller by the day, and stowed his icy creation away to slow its inevitable demise.  Cowboy estimated that over 130 people stopped to take photos of his snowman and made his time on the streets a bit more entertaining, for a few days anyway.

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  • Colinwehurng

    sweet pics