Chamber Made: ‘Falling’ In Love Again With Photography

Mardee Conover volunteers her time for the Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Darcie McCann)

There is an old and very trite saying that we should all take time to “stop and smell the roses.” That has never been easier than the last 5½ months, as I have limped around on a sore ankle through most of New England and part of California. One learns to appreciate the ability to walk all the more when your pace is slower than a turtle and you walk like John Wayne (hardly a good attribute for a woman).

Before I get ahead of myself, which I really can’t these days, you might be interested in learning how this injury happened. It brings me to the heart of this piece, photography.

I was at a cousin’s lakeside camp on a lovely spring night when one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen in recent memory appeared before me and I rushed to grab my camera and head outside. Not knowing the camp well, I came upon a step on the deck and suddenly went flying through the air like Superman, a true cartoon fall, landing in a heap on my left ankle. Although I am guessing the ducks on the lake hadn’t ever heard foul language like that, I did manage to unravel my body, limp over to the railing and take a picture of the beautiful sunset. Mission accomplished.

What was believed to be a very bad sprained ankle from that evening’s aerobatics also turned out to be a broken ankle as well, something I learned just recently, as this particular type of fracture is quite shy and doesn’t show itself on X-Rays. It wasn’t until an MRI was approved that the timid crack showed itself. Woe is me, and I have been imprisoned in a ski-boot-like air cast and a humiliating scotter ever since. It is no one’s fault it wasn’t caught earlier, but it has allowed me the opportunity to return to something I love, as I have hobbled here but not really there, and my sphere of travel has been severely curtailed.

For those who frequent our Facebook page (Northeast Kingdom Vermont Chamber of Commerce), you have seen the fruits of my labored steps almost daily, as I have taken far more pictures at chamber events, of volunteers and members. Even those who venture into our office are not immune from such parting shots, as I try to capture their spirits and personalities in a mere frame or two.

Although I must admit I have always loved taking landscape shots, it is in these last long couple months I have returned to taking pictures of those who walk this Kingdom, something I have sorely missed. Whether it is an image of Archie Prevost, looking wistfully out at our autumn festival train, volunteer Mardee Conover laughing during a chamber mailing or a Northern Vermont University journalism student posing proudly with his camera, I am having as much fun, creatively, as I have in a long time and must thank these subjects for allowing me the pleasure of taking their time and picture.

As I limp my way back to good health, don’t be surprised if I ask you in the weeks and months to come if you wouldn’t mind if I took your photo. It has allowed me to capture my year, one snapshot at a time, and record for posterity some of the many characters of our wonderful region.

Darcie McCann is the executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber.

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