Autumn Dons Her Golden Crown

September 22nd, 2014 Comments Off

Aerial View of Autumn Above Lake Whitingham, Vermont - Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com Above Lake Whitingham, Vermont, 2013

Welcome to Autumn and her kaleidoscopic splendor! Here’s to fiery maples, lapis lazuli skies, starry nights, roaring bonfires and frosty mornings. Pour yourself a glass of hot, mulled cider and let’s toast the season.

Here’s to the beauty of fall! A warm welcome to Autumn as she dons her glorious crown . . .Cheers!

The 2014 Autumnal Equinox occurs at 10:29pm EDT, September 22nd (World Clock: September 23rd, 2:29 UTC) 

Autumn Color and Farm Fields, Above Deerfield, Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Color Bands Above Deerfield, Massachusetts, 2013

October Blue, Newfane, Vermont - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comAutumn’s Fiery-Blue Heart, Above Newfane, Vermont, 2013

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

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A First Look at the Festive Season Ahead. Shop the Holiday 2014 Collection and receive $9.95 Flat Rate Shipping with promo code 15USA004 at PeruvianConnection.com!

A Fond Farewell to Summer

September 22nd, 2014 Comments Off

IMG_7872.JPG Farewell to Summer  (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

In the United States, the Autumnal Equinox will occur today, September 22nd, at 10:29 p.m. EDT (On the world clock, September 23 at 2:29 UTC). I feel that it is particularly hard to say goodbye to summer this year. Although it seemed a bit shorter than usual, for me, this has been a most joyous season.

In celebration of the fair months —late June, July, August and early September— an untethered look at the summer landscape from inside the sky. A selection of aerial photographs from my recent visit to Plum Island, Massachusetts.

So long, farewell, sweet summertime . . .

IMG_7904.JPG So Long to Sailboats, Bobbing in Harbors (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7838.JPGFarewell to Long Summer Sand Dunes (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7897.JPGFarewell to Toes in Warm Sand (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7939.JPG And Zippy Speedboats (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7884.JPG And Sunset Paddles (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7942.JPG Through Wild Inlets of Green Reeds and Rushes (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7929.JPGPeridot, Teal and Turquoise Sea (Above Plum Island, Massachusetts)

IMG_7928.JPGSunlit, Silver-Blue Waters (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7914.JPG And Salty Sea Spray (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

IMG_7927.JPG We’ll be Kissed by the Warmth of Sun Once Again, on Another Summer’s Day (Above Great Marsh, Massachusetts)

Aerial Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

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Aerial Landscape Prints Now Available

November 20th, 2013 Comments Off

Connecticut River, Autumn - copyright 2013 - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Connecticut River, Early Autumn 

I am now offering select, archival-quality prints, suitable for framing, from my recent October Kaleidoscope aerial series (click here), and the Days of Late Summer aerial series (click here), available for purchase online. Print prices vary by size (8″ x 12″ on up to 16″ x 24″), starting at $55 (shipping is included, within the continental U.S.). Not all photographs are currently available in all sizes, but more images, sizes and options are coming!

Soon, I will have a page at left dedicated to print orders (both photographs and artwork), but for now, if you are interested in purchasing a print, please send me an email here, and I will take your order personally. All major forms of payment are accepted via Paypal. Please allow two to three weeks for printing and shipping of special orders.

Photography & Textⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

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As the Days of Late Summer Fly By . . .

August 17th, 2013 § 4

Aerial View Above the Connecticut River Valley -  Farmland - Pioneer Valley - Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comAbove the Ripe Fields – Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts

Spending a bit more time in the air again, of late… Enjoying the beauty of the New England landscape, from above. Some time away, a fresh perspective… All good. And so, I’ve collected and edited a visual journal of these hours and days. Colors, textures and patterns; strange, yet familiar beauty to share from the untethered world above.

Come fly away with me. A few moments, inside the sky . . .

Deerfield, Massachusetts, Pioneer Valley Farmland - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com

Land Patterns - Above the Pioneer Valley - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comStripes, Dots, Color-Blocks and Shadow Shapes: Land Patterns

Barn and Plowed Fields - Pioneer Valley - Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Tobacco Barn Beauty in Shimmering Late Day Sunlight

Swamp Aerial - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Swampland Beauty with Afternoon’s Advancing Shadows

Tiny Island, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Tiny, Uninhabited Islands, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts

Tiny Island ll, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com

Above Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comThe Landscape, Reflected: High Above Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts

Quabbin Reservoir Uninhabited Island, Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts

Rhode Island Coastline - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Rhode Island Coastline

Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island, Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comAbove Mohegan Bluffs, Block Island, Rhode Island

Beach Fire - Block Island - Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comBeach Fire Circle, Block Island, Rhode Island

Mohegan Bluffs - Block Island - Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.comMohegan Bluffs, Block Island, Rhode Island

Boats - Above New Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com  Boats at New Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island

Southeast Light, Block Island, Long Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Southeast Light, Block Island, Rhode Island

Old Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Old Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island

New Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island - michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com New Harbor, Block Island, Rhode Island

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Scott Farm’s Springtime Renaissance: Above the Orchard, Beauty in Full Bloom

May 15th, 2013 § 4

Scott_Farm_Orchard_Apple_Blossom_Aerial_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comBeauty in Full Bloom: Above the Apple Orchard, Scott Farm, Vermont

It’s apple blossom season at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont, and the orchard is in full, fragrant glory. Having posted many articles here on The Gardener’s Eden about the Scott Farm orchard —both during the springtime bloom and again during the autumn apple harvest— I decided to do something a bit different this year. Change is in the air at Scott Farm, and inspired by the uplifting mood, I took to the sky for a fresh, symbolic perspective on this beautiful, Vermont treasure.

Scott_Farm_Aerial_One_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.comRow upon row of heirloom fruit trees —including apples, quince, peaches, plums and pears, as well as berries—  fill the orchard at Scott Farm

With Tristam Johnson now serving as interim executive director at Landmark Trust, the springtime excitement at Scott Farm has reached an all-time high. Kelly Carlin, office manager, has been updating Scott Farm’s website, and long-time orchard manager and heirloom fruit tree expert, Ezekiel Goodband has recently begun blogging; journaling about day-to-day orchard keeping, as well as posting updates on fruit tree sales, educational programs and community activities at the farm. There’s a springtime renaissance happening at Scott Farm, and the entire orchard is buzzing with the lively energy of a newly invigorated hive. Be sure to visit the Scott Farm website throughout the growing season for information about the availability of ecologically grown orchard fruit and berries, as well as seasonal events and educational opportunities at Scott Farm.

Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_Two_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com 
Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_Three_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com

Scott_Farm_Aerial_Straight_Down_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com

A heart-felt thank you goes out to Landmark Trust’s new, Executive Director, Tristam Johnson, Scott Farm’s Office Manager, Kelly Carlin and Scott Farm Orchard Manager, Ezekiel Goodband for extending a warm welcome on my visits, both aerial and terrestrial. Wishing everyone at Scott Farm a bright and happy new growing season!

And a very special note of thanks to William Bonnette, offering flight training, photo flights and aerial photography services in New England, and beyond. Thank you so much for donating your time, expertise and use of your aircraft for this flight! Click on image below for more information or to schedule your own flight above New England!

flypioneervalley.com

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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For the Love of Mother Earth . . .

April 22nd, 2013 § 3

Connecticut_River_Pioneer_Valley_Aerial_Copyright_2013_Michaela_Medina_Harlow_thegardenerseden.com_no_use_without_permission_permittedAbove the Connecticut River

Let’s Make Every Day, Earth Day  

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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The Early April Landscape from Above

April 9th, 2013 § 4

Early_Spring_Above_Deerfield_Valley_Massachusetts_michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com Organic Weave: Hints of Green in the Tobacco Fields {Above Deerfield, Massachusetts}

Up before sunrise to catch dawn’s honey-gold light, last Friday morning I toured the early April landscape beneath the wings of an agile Citabria. As we climbed to altitude, a haze of sheer, radiant color —violet, cherry, gold and willow— illuminated treetops and hills as the low sunlight cast shadows, long across the chartreuse-tinted fields. Like a fine, pastel tapestry, flung across the valley floor, the springtime earth shimmered and glistened below us. Gnarled apple trees, dramatic with freshly sculpted forms, stood out in stark contrast to the muted tones of tawny land. It was a glorious morning inside the sky; filled with the promise of a bright, new season and finally —receding into the shadows— the last ghostly whispers of the one before . . .

Early_Spring_Above_Apex_Orchard-Colrain_MA-michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com The Colors of Springtime {Above Apex Orchard, Colrain, Massachusetts}

Gnarled_Apple_Trees- Apex_Orchard-Colrain_MA_michaela_medina_harlow_thegardenerseden.comGnarled-Beauty of Newly Pruned Apple Trees {Apex Orchard, Colrain, Massachusetts} 

Riverside_Colorbands-michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.comColorbands Along the Connecticut River, Massachusetts 

Melt_Water_Run-Off_Turners_Falls_Dam_and_Bridge-michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com Meltwater Rush from the Turners Falls Dam: Above Gill & Montague, Massachusetts

Oxbow-Michaela_Medina-2013-thegardenerseden Blinding Sun Lights Fire to Trees, Round an Oxbow

Spring_Ice_Melt_New_England_Aerial-michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com Ice Slowly Melting Away: Sawyer Ponds, Northfield, Massachusetts

Golden_Light_and_Inky_Reflections_Above_the_River_Bend-michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com Golden Light & Inky Reflections: Above the Connecticut River

Great_Waters-CT-River_michaela_medina_harlow-thegardenerseden.com Sweeping Curves Along the Connecticut River

Riverside_Farm-Michaela_Medina_Harlow-thegardenerseden.com Spring Colors Emerging, at Long Last

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Aerial Alchemy: Earth’s Golden Hour . . .

March 29th, 2013 § 3

Above the Golden Keys ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Golden Keys (Above the Florida Keys, USA)

Explorers sailed to the New World seeking it. Chemists have spent centuries chasing it. Far above the earth, at the golden hour —while gazing out a jetliner window— I found what they’ve all been searching for. Aerial alchemy.

And I think to myself, as Louis Armstrong once sang, what a wonderful world . . .

Golden Lakes Above Hondurus ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Liquid Gold Lakes & Rose-Platinum Smoke (Above Honduras)

Golden River, Run to the Sea ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden.com Golden River, Run to the Sea (Above Honduras)

Liquid Gold Above Central America ⓒ 2013 michaela medina harlow - thegardenerseden Shimmering Rivers (Above Honduras)

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Love The One You’re With . . . Renewing My Appreciation Of Winter

February 22nd, 2013 § 12

Snowshoeing and Shadows in Winter ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina  thegardenerseden.com Snowshoeing the Woodland Trails . . .

Time is relative, and it always seems to pass most slowly when you’re waiting. At this time of year, many of us in New England start to feel a bit down. Winter is a long season here, and in spite of what the calendar might say, it often lasts well into early spring. For me, living in the future —counting the days until apple trees blossom— only makes the winter seem longer and more brutal. When I was a child, like most children, I loved winter. Back then, snow storms meant adventure: cancelled classes, homemade cookies, sleds and snow forts. Of course once you grow up, other realities —shoveling, plowing snow, power outages and rising fuel costs— begin to steal the fun away from wintertime.

This year, I decided to take back winter, and focus on the joy. Instead of longing for the scent of moist earth and the colors of springtime, I turned my attention to the delights of snow and ice. I chased away the February blahs on a fast-moving toboggan and lightweight snowshoes; entertaining myself by flying down the driveway and rediscovering the joys crashing through paper-thin ice. Amazing what a bit of fast-paced activity will do for your mood!

Beech Leaf in Icy Pool ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.comA Half-Frozen Brook, Filled with Fallen Beech Leaves . . .

Tiny Speck of Orange on Ice ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.com And Torn Specks of Orange on Ice . . .

Winter Green ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina Harlow - thegardenerseden.comNaked Branches Dancing in Chilly Pools, Swaying with Winter Worn Leaves and Hints of Spring Green

My twelve-year-old dog, Oli adores the winter. And why not? There are animals to track and snowballs to chase and opportunities to roll in fresh, white powder. He lives for a belly-deep blizzard; the chance to grab an enormous stick and “lead” the plow down my long, winding drive. He whines and wiggles and wags his tail, impatiently waiting for the engine to turn over so his fun can begin. Oli never seems to mind the cold when he’s moving. In fact, I can often see him smiling though the snow; digging to China as I struggle to connect an extension cord and charge yet another dead battery. “Winter is great fun.”, he says, “Quit your complaining and you’re bound to notice.”

Oli ⓒ 2013 Michaela Medina - thegardenerseden.com The Joy of Finding Abundant Beauty and Surprise in Snowy Forest, on a Sunny Winter’s Day

Oli’s right, of course. Winter is both fun and amazing. And so I vow from this day forward to end the seasonal lament. No more waiting for the arrival of sweet springtime. She’ll be here soon enough. And if you find yourself suffering from the blues, join me in building a snowman. And remember, as Stephen Stills once sang . . .

“If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with . . .”

Sunset Over Barton Cove, Gill:Turners Falls, Massachusetts ⓒ 2013 Michaela Harlow From a Recent Flight Above the Valley: Winter Sunset Above Barton Cove, Gill, Massachusetts

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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January Inside the Sky . . .

January 10th, 2013 § 3

Wintry River ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

Light. Texture. Pattern. The sky offers a bit of fresh perspective; revealing the beauty of Winter’s bones. High above the valley —retracing fields, roads, rivers— the familiar becomes strange, and the strange becomes familiar, once again…

Red Barn Aerial ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

River Through the Trees ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

winter's barn ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

Railroad Crossing Over the CT River with Fields at Sunset ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

like a boat on the river ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

Traintracks Across the CT River ⓒ 2013 michaela harlow

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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A Glimpse of Autumn Orchard Beauty: Clarkdale Fruit Farm, from Above . . .

November 3rd, 2012 § 2

Autumn Orchard Beauty: 1,200′ Above Clarkdale Fruit Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts

Is there anything more delightful than the colors and flavors of an autumn orchard? Looking down at the Clarkdale Fruit Farm orchards from 1,200′ AGL, it’s impossible not to dream of strolling with friends; enjoying a cup of cold, sweet, fresh-pressed cider, amid the beautiful fragrances & colors of golden pears and blushing apples . . .

Sweet, Rich Colors to Match the Flavors of Autumn Harvest: Clarkdale Fruit Farm

Clarkdale Fruit Farm is a wonderful, friendly and welcoming orchard located in Deerfield, Massachusetts. This fourth generation, family owned orchard harvests and sells more than 100 varieties of sustainably grown apples —including heirlooms planted by the first generation of Clarks— peaches, plums, nectarines, pears, grapes, cherries and other fruits; as well as pumpkins, gourds and other produce. Clarkdale Orchard also presses their own delicious, sweet cider blends.

Clarkdale Orchard participates in Franklin County, Massachusetts’ Cider Days (this weekend, November 3rd and 4th, click here for more information and event schedule).

For more information, visit the Clarkdale Fruit Farm website by clicking here.

Photography and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All images, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you! 

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Fresh Starts & Colorful Patterns at Walker Farm in Dummerston,Vermont…

March 24th, 2011 § 2

Like Farm Fields Viewed from Above, Flats of New Seedlings at Walker Farm Create Brilliant Geometric Abstractions

Yesterday, I spent a few happy midday hours and an exciting lunchtime meeting with my friends Karen, Jack and Daisy at Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. The 241-year-old farm has long been a popular and beloved local resource for organically grown produce and vegetable starts. But in its more recent history —having been featured by Anne Raver in The New York Times and other well-known publications—  family-owned Walker Farm has become well-known amongst horticultural connoisseurs throughout New England and New York as an insider’s source for high-quality, rare and unusual annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs.

Inside nineteen greenhouses along the Connecticut River, each year Walker Farm grows more than 1,200 varieties of annual and perennial plants from seed. Walker Farm will be open on April 8th*, and at this time of year, the farm is literally buzzing with activity; with seed starting and vegetative propagation of plants in full swing. I’ll be writing much more about Walker Farm in the coming weeks, but for today here is a sneak peek at some of the young annual and perennial seedings and colorful succulent starts growing at the farm. As my eye took in the abstract, geometric shapes, patterns and delightfully saturated colors, I couldn’t help but compare the greenhouse landscape to that of agricultural fields, viewed from above.

With much of the outside world still covered in snow, I found the fresh rush of color particularly uplifting…

Just Imagine These Beautiful Colors, Trailing from Baskets and Balconies…

Endless Spring Planting Combinations and Container Design Possibilites Spring to Mind When Gazing Upon the Gorgeous Succulent and Begonia Starts at Walker Farm

A Bird’s Eye View of the Landscape Inside the One of the Many Greenhouses at Walker Farm

* Walker Farm‘s early opening date is for sale of cold-hardy pansies, seeds and garden supplies. The sale of annual vegetable & flower starts and perennials will begin as local weather permits. Please see the farm’s website here for details, plant lists, directions and other helpful information including a free, seed germination guide.

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Article and photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

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Aerial Boundaries: Exploring the Autumn Landscape from Above…

October 28th, 2010 § 9

The Connecticut River from 1,500′ AGL

Maple, Birch and Pine Along the Riverbank

Departing Turners Falls, Runway 34, Heading Over the River

Farm fields and autumn colors along the Massachusetts/Vermont State Line

Our Little Shadow in the Blue Stem Fields

Sunset Hours Above the Banks of the Connecticut River

Swampland Along the VT/MA State Line

Looking Down at the Pioneer Valley and the Surrounding Hills, Reflected in Carlos’ Tail

October in New England

Inspiration: Earth from Above, Third Edition Yann Arthus-Bertrand

The  Story-Behind-the-Story:  Aviation…

After posting an aerial photo of  a local corn maze last week, I received a couple of emails asking about how I managed to get the shot. Well, the short answer is that I took the photo from my airplane. But of course, there’s much more to the story than that. So, if you’re curious about my flying, read on…

Photo by KQ777 via Photobucket

I’ve been a licensed pilot for more than a decade now, but I fell in love with aviation when I was just a little girl. Growing up in rural New England in the 70s and 80s —with farms, orchards and forests all around— the sight of small, agricultural aircraft was commonplace. Spotting a yellow ‘crop-duster’ — the pilot buzzing our house on the way to neighboring corn and potato fields— was a regular occurrence on summer days. I can still remember the hazy, white clouds of acrid, chemical-laden dust hanging in the air after the little yellow biplane made a few low passes over the farm next door. When my mother heard the plane coming, she worried out-loud about pesticides the Ag Cat was dumping on her children —as well as her berry crops, vegetables and freshly washed laundry— and if she could catch us, she always made us come indoors. Of course, like most children, my sister and I were far more interested in the excitement of the airplane than the potential threat of toxins in the air. So, if we were out of ‘assumed ear-shot’, we would run —arms waiving wildly— to the path leading to our neighbor’s corn fields. We had no sense of the many dangers, and we loved to watch that yellow biplane dip and rise in gravity-defying arcs on the horizon. It just looked like such a blast. Years later, when I was training for my own pilot’s license, I discovered that the yellow biplane flying over my house was a Grumman Ag Cat (see photo-link above).

Taylorcraft image via Letsfly.org

By the late 80s, when I was a teenager, the neighboring corn fields had vanished. First, a house was built, and then the remaining land was subdivided into more lots. No more corn, no more biplane, and no more crop dusting. By this time I was 15 or 16, and I’d grown wise to the dangers of pesticides. Although I once loved watching its aerobatic maneuvers above my house, I was happy to see that toxic little airplane go. Cancer eventually took the lives of my neighbors, solidifying my distaste for chemical farming and my mistrust of agricultural chemical companies. Sometimes I’m surprised that this didn’t discourage my love of flying. But I suppose even then, I knew full-well that aviation made many good things possible; like spotting and fighting forest fires, search and rescue missions, agricultural and environmental research, mapping and of course travel, to name but a few. Airplanes remained a source of endless fascination and my interest continued to grow. A few miles from my home, two local pilots had a pair of pleasure planes stored in a big, old dairy barn. One airplane was a yellow J3 Cub, and the other was a beautiful, cherry-red Taylorcraft (see photo-link above). On days when the airplanes were pulled out —gleaming in sunlit fields— I was filled with the most indescribable longing. I wanted to get up there. I wanted to see everything…

Cornfields Along the Connecticut River

Years passed, and after college at UMass Amherst, I lived in the Bay Area of California for a time. While out west, I took a number of scenic flights in the Eastern Sierra Nevada, Inyo and Death Valley. Eager to continue exploring on my own, I started setting aside money for flight training, and when I moved back home to Vermont, I decided to take to the air. I joined the UMass Collegiate Flying Club (open to the alumni, faculty and staff of UMass and five college consortium), and started taking flying lessons in the club’s little red and white Cessna 152. Six months later, I had my private pilot’s license. Four years ago, I bought an old, neglected airplane (A 1946 Luscombe 8A Silvaire), which I am currently restoring and flying in my spare time. I love to get up in the air and experience the beauty of the landscape from above. It’s great inspiration…

The Pioneer Valley from Above (Airport runway is on the upper left… see it?)

Final Approach to Landing at Turners Falls municipal airport

Carlos: my 1946 Luscombe 8A Silvaire, after many hours of restoration-polishing

That’s me with ‘Carlos’ in 2006 – Photo credit: William Bonnette

If you live in, or are visiting New England, and would like to see the landscape from above, I highly recommend a photo-flight with William Bonnette at Pioneer Aviation in Western Massachusetts. A one-hour photo flight is a fun and affordable way to experience the Connecticut River Valley and surrounding landscape (a photo flight or intro lesson also makes an unforgettable gift – certificates are available on his website here). Located right in the heart of the Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, Turners Falls Municipal Airport is just a short car ride from most points in southern New Hampshire and Vermont, and less than two hours from Hartford, CT and Boston, MA. While it’s true that the views from a small airplane are a colorist’s delight in autumn, they are just as beautiful at any other time of the year. Bill Bonnette taught me to fly ten years ago. He’s been flying for more than thirty years, and he’s both an amazing pilot and flight instructor (he doesn’t need to pay for my recommendation, and he didn’t).

New England Photo Flights, Introductory Flight Lessons, Pilot Training and Gift Certificates

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Article and photographs (with noted exceptions) ⓒ Michaela at TGE

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