Tuesday, January 31, 2012


George Clark fills one of five birdfeeders in the backyard of his Norwich home yesterday. Clark, a retired ornithologist, says he doesn't have a favorite bird, but rather enjoys seeing many types of birds feeding in his yard. Valley News - Sarah Priestap

Two weeks ago, I covered a story on how there have been less bird sightings around the area this winter, most likely due to the warmer weather and abundance of vegetation. I met up with two area birders, and it brought back my memories of Alaska and all the birds (and the birders) I saw. It was fun to be able to talk to these people about the Kittlitz Murlet and Oystercatchers. It was also fun to take out the long lens and photograph more common eastern birds like chickadees for this story. In Alaska, that was a bird not seen.

Young and Famous

Jack Snyder, a Woodstock resident, is a junior in High School, and an excellent musician. Local friends of mine showed me a Youtube video of him performing a couple months ago, and he is quite talented. It was fun to be able to experiment with the stage lights at Woodstock Union High School.

During a typewriter salon hosted by Left Bank Books owner Nancy Cressman in Hanover, Cressman helps Fran Wang, of Philadelphia, load paper into a typewriter while Gabby Josebachvili, of Great Neck, N.Y., consults a book. Also pictured are Laura Bergsten, of Long Island (upper left) and Sarah Morse, of Albany, N.Y. All are part of Stonefence Review, a literary magazine written by Dartmouth College students. The students changed places every five minutes, using a sentence from a book to start a story and finished it themselves. Valley News — Sarah Priestap


First graders in North Tunbridge at the Wellspring Waldorf School skate during their movement class on Monday. It was the first day the school used the rink, made by parent volunteers. Part of a hill in front of the school was sprayed with water for sledding. Valley News - Sarah Priestap

I do a lot of driving around the coverage area looking for features photographs (or as we call them here, standalones), and especially this time of year it isn't always easy to find people outside of their homes, especially when the temperature is hovering just around 0 degrees F. Because of this, I spend hours rubbernecking, listening to the radio, and praying that I'll find something interesting.

I was driving through Tunbridge when I saw some figures on a hill. At first glance, I thought it was children exploring a field, so I turned around and drove up the hill. When I crested the hill, I saw that they were skating on a makeshift rink, that, at the bottom of the hill, had been hidden by the tall grass. These first graders were skating for their wellness class, which would be a super fun thing to do at any age. We never had activities like that at my elementary school!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

At the Montshire Museum in Norwich

The State of the State

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin meets with aides after his "State of the State" address at the Capitol Building in Montpelier.


Having been through several internships, mostly in different states, I've seen my fair share of state government in each of them, and in the past, have been pretty uninterested beyond trying to get a good picture. Now that I live in Vermont, and I will most likely be living here for a while, I really tried to listen to the words of Governor Shumlin as he spoke of the trials that Vermont has gone through over the past few months. It feels good to feel more a part of a place, and I think even in a broader news situation such as this that community journalism plays its part.

Oh, and he mentioned Phish in his speech- where else would that happen??

First Assignment of the Year

I photographed at a Buddhist retreat on January first. In the middle of a nine day week, spending a few hours in a serene, modified mansion at a silent retreat was more of a respite for me than an assignment. The lama, or teacher, Lama Willa, was the leader of the week long retreat of silence, which focused on teaching, meditating, and chanting. If you think one week of silence is difficult, get this, most Lamas will take a three year retreat of silence. I was told Lama Willa took TWO three year retreats of silence.