Crozet Calendar Clinic: A Look Back

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The 2023 Crozet Gazette Calendar is now available. As before, this year’s calendar celebrates the landscapes of Western Albemarle County. Unlike previous years this calendar, the final one, is illustrated by a curated selection of photographs from the last five years.

During those years this monthly column, now also ending, has presented a photograph from the calendar along with the thoughts of the photographer who made the image. Here is a selection of quotes from those photographers whose work and words have given life to the column. To cross reference the quotes with the photographer’s work please go to crozetgazette.com and search by name and date.

“I believe strongly in the power of images to tell an impactful story. So, the dream is to find that story on your journey and be inspired to tell it.”  Seymour Zhu, June, 2021

I’ve trekked through high grass and mud and have even stood in the middle of roads to get myself positioned for shots. Nothing can stop me. All time disappears. I’m on an adventure, a hunting expedition and the trophy is the photo. But for me it’s not just the end product. The effort and challenge of getting the photo is part of the thrill. It’s really so satisfying and freeing.”  Deborah Ferreira, November, 2020

“When I first got there Crozet Avenue was deserted. The scene was like a movie set. I almost expected a director to yell “Action!” Covid meant people were staying home. A town without life. It was eerie.”   Bryan Parsons, May, 2021

My world got pretty small pretty quickly. I found myself trading a world of piloting and big aerial landscapes for the little world of birds outside my window. I studied their behavior to make better photos. I wanted to make their little world seem bigger.“  Malcolm Andrews, September 2021

An unexpected image is one of the great treats photography can give — and of course with remote cameras every picture is a surprise.  After all, you aren’t there when the animal walks through the beam. In this case I was dumbfounded to see a bobcat as they are so incredibly elusive. The bobcat appeared out of nowhere. I never saw it again.”  Nathan Williamson, May, 2019

“I’ve planted my yard with native plants to attract wildlife. It’s like a painting that changes with the seasons. On this day I was doing dishes at my kitchen window when I saw the owl. I grabbed my camera, quietly went out the front door and took a picture from the doorstep. I was quite close and was amazed that the owl was not scared off.”  Liz Palmer, March, 2020

“As I was making this photo, I thought about how different life is with Covid and about how I missed going out and being with people. Nevertheless, the sun still rises and sets. This too shall pass.”  Camlyn Leone, March  2022

“I needed to get out of the house. At Chiles Orchard I noticed the various shapes created by the blossoming branches—circles, ovals, rectangles and triangles. I could see how they framed the blossoms in the background. I took probably 100 or more photos. For me that’s a lot.”  Leslee Parsons, April, 2021

“Photography is a place to escape day-to-day life. I love the beauty and serenity that comes with composition of landscapes.”  Brad Anthony, February, 2022

“My eye was drawn to the narrow, solitary path at Innisfree Village. I liked the straightness of the path juxtaposed with the zig zag pattern of the split rail fence. The addition of the light snowfall, while the path remained visible, made the scene irresistible.”  Gabriella Chase, February, 2021.

“I am always surprised at the cultural crossroads that is Crozet. I am nostalgic when I see a quinceanera party or hear Arabic music and smell grilled lamb. I think some folks might be surprised at how much diversity one can find in a Crozet park on a beautiful day.”   Robert Gutkowski, June, 2022.

“I grew up in a beach town in Perth, Western Australia and have always been drawn to water. Beaver Creek is a phenomenal part of this community and being out there on the water photographing from a paddle board calms me. I’m interested in creating images that bring back that calm feeling.”  Tristan Venables, August, 2021

“This tree fascinated me for some time. It demonstrates strength, perseverance, and prolonged determination. There is beauty in its shape. You can see the struggle in the texture of its trunk and in the limbs. It was amazing how this tree took root on top of the cliff, holding on very tightly to the rocks.”   Paul Nelson, September, 2022

 The scene was perfect. A cold breeze was causing the tall, golden grass to roll like ocean waves against the contrasting, almost black tone of the trees. The light gray of the horse and its rider as they “swam” through the field was beautiful. Then, from a distance, they heard the blast of the huntsman’s horn. Both rider and horse turned towards the sound. That’s the moment I captured.”  Kim Kelly-Wagner, October, 2020

“The central reason I love to photograph is to capture the movement of life-in-action so that it is stilled and one may gaze at it un-rushed, pondering movement’s meaning.”  Jan Harrison, December, 2020

I take pictures whenever I run, especially if it is in the morning. I love the morning light and the quiet of no one else being around.“

Donovan Dagner, November, 2021

I like to photograph the rugged growth of the Virginia landscape. I’m interested in what came before and how the buildings and trees—now tangled and broken down—got to this moment.”  Tom Pallante, September, 2020

Photography comes naturally to me. I tend to “see a photo” in that I see something and then see the photo in my mind. For me, the camera is just a “translator” to capture that image so it can be recorded.”  Sandra Hodge, September, 2020

“It takes time tracking weather, locations and phases of the moon before I decide to shoot stars at night. My friend Matt and I planned this shoot for about a week. I am constantly taking photos of everything around me, always trying to learn.” Corbett Smithson, August, 2020

“I wish to make images that inspire folks to pay closer attention to, and appreciate, the details of their own lives.”  Bill Mauzy, April, 2020

“It was a late season snowfall—deep, wet and clinging to every branch. We called it a ‘Dr. Zhivago snowfall’ because it so transformed the landscape and buildings at our homestead. I saw this scene on my way to Crozet and hoped it would still be there, unchanged, when I returned an hour later. It was!”  Fred Williamson, February, 2018

“The morning was perfect. The sun was lighting up some portions of the snowy scene and not others. And I loved the way the rail cars followed the serpentine line of the tracks around the curve. The photo was entered in the Virginia State Fair Photography Competition but wasn’t displayed with the others. I asked about this. A woman said, ‘Did you check the glass case where the Best of Show photos are?’ We walked over to the case. There was my photo with a big purple ribbon for Best of Show for Black and White. I was so stunned, excited and proud in that moment. That feeling stayed with me a long time.”  Sheila Madison, February, 2020

“Now, two years later, this is one of my most widely appreciated photos. I’m still not crazy about it, but it’s been featured in numerous publications and seems to garner far more attention than I ever would’ve imagined. It just shows how tough it is to separate emotional attachment from results.”  Cass Girven, December, 2021

“I have always admired the spare, graphic look of black and white. It has a certain purity and timelessness.”   John Payne, March, 2021

“The cool thing about the GoPro camera is that you can get an app on your phone which shows you what the camera is seeing. I chose the cardinal because its red color contrasted with the white, snow-covered scene in the background.”  Henry Thompson, January, 2020

“I’m now a senior at Western High School taking an independent study course focused around photography, both digital and film. I’m drawn to macro photography because I enjoy finding ways to expand on the smaller, less-seen parts of the world.” Anna Henderson, January, 2021

In recent years I’ve become more aware of how photography has helped me to slow down, be mindful and appreciate the beauty around me.” Gay Baker, February, 2019

“Nothing is off limits. I enjoy catching a moment before it slips away. The world is an interesting place and it’s nice to look back at memories of what it offers.” Debbie Smith, March, 2019

“My interests lie in digging deep to find the authentic and heartfelt emotions of a moment.” Beth Seliga, August, 2018

“I first took a photography class my junior year at Western (Thank you, Mrs. Roebuck!). I take pictures every day because I love to. It’s partly nostalgic; I’m trying to make fleeting things feel permanent.”  Margaret Marshall, December, 2018

“But as we headed from west to east the literal ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ became brighter and brighter. I got the moment just right when my older son held up his arms exultantly in a gesture of defiance of our melancholy Covid-induced spirits. The perfectly placed opening of the Blue Ridge Tunnel surrounded and framed him.”   Nathan Ostheimer, November, 2022

Photography is a contemplative art. It encourages us to see things as they are—nothing added, nothing missing. There is poetry and beauty in everything, just waiting to be seen. As the Japanese novelist Jun’ichiro Tanizaki said, ‘An art must live as a part of our daily lives or we had better give it up.’ How true.”  Jessie Duff-McLaurin, November, 2021

With gratitude to Mike Marshall, Allie Pesch and the community of Western Albemarle photographers.

– Sam Abell

Thank you to all who have participated in the calendar photo contest over the last twelve years! The 2023 calendar is a final “best of” edition of the project, curated by Sam Abell. Available for purchase at the Crozet Artisan Depot, Parkway Pharmacy and other local shops, as well as online at crozetgazette.com/shop/. 

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