2011 Top 10 Photo Moments … Number 9

Let the countdown begin! Over the next few weeks I’ll work my way down a list of my Top 10 Favorite Photo Moments from last year. I’ll post an outtake photo or two, a link to the finished project (a few are coming soon in 2012!), and a few words about what made that particular place—or shooting moment—so memorable. Stay tuned for Number 8, coming soon!

#9 Burton-Dassett Hills Country Park, Warwickshire, England

During a photo trip to England last January, my aunt took me to visit Burton-Dassett Hills Country Park in Warwickshire. The day was very English: grey, cold, and rainy. Perfect for making pictures … and going to the pub! We drove around the Park for awhile, waiting out the rain which was pouring buckets. At one point, I hopped out of the car, zipped up my weather-beaten and holey wax cotton jacket (regrettably, this really is its final journey outside of home) and wandered about the Park. I spied a flock of sheep amongst the mist and rugged hilltops of the park. I’m a sucker for sheep, so I slowly crouched down and started making a few images. Once they got wind of me, they began walking (okay, running) away from me and as they neared the bottom of a hill, they slowed down. Some stopped and looked back my way. Then the sun broke through the clouds and lit the entire scene. Wow. Stunning. “Hey,” I had to remind myself, “get back to work and make some images.” The moment lasted perhaps a minute, the sun’s rays faded in and out like a waning lightbulb until the gathering clouds covered the golden light once again.


I followed the flock along a path for awhile and met them later near the road. This time they didn’t run from me, but watched me as I clicked a few frames. They were curious, strikingly white fuzzy creatures with mottled black faces, baaa-ing to each other, hoofs delicately tapping the pavement as they crossed from the field to the road to another pasture. When I finally walked back to the car, I thanked my aunt for sharing the Park with me—and her patience in waiting for me—and promised her a hot lunch and a pint at the nearest pub! I look forward to visiting Burton-Dassett again, perhaps in the summer next time….

The Countdown Begins … Number 10

Let the countdown begin! Over the next few weeks I’ll work my way down a list of my Top 10 Favorite Photo Moments from last year. I’ll post an outtake photo or two, a link to the finished project (a few are coming soon in 2012!), and a few words about what made that particular place—or shooting moment—so memorable. Stay tuned for Number 9, coming soon!

Number 10: UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Weybridge, Vermont

I spent a hot June day photographing Morgan horses—from wee lads and lasses and their mamas to adolescents in serious training. Two memorable moments: The first occurred while I was photographing in the middle of the nursery paddock. The UVM staff ushered the foals and the mares out of the barn and into their paddock. It was a lovely sunny day and it wasn’t long before the babies plopped down and snoozed at their mamas’ feet (this is always disconcerting to me, they look so … still). I quietly made some photographs and happened to slowly turn around to stand up and—hello!—there appeared one very curious filly looking down at me! As I stood up she didn’t shy away, but followed me around, sniffing me, snorting into my camera … nudging me in the back when I wasn’t making photos of her! It was a grand time and she put bad thoughts into my head about considering raising horses (my poor husband!).


The second memorable moment happened later that day. In the afternoons, the UVM staff often will lead a Morgan mother with her foal following along to the farm’s front paddock. It’s a great place for visitors to get a closer view of the horses. This day was no exception. The mare, UVM Freedom, walked quietly on her lead to the paddock. Her foal, a beautiful Chestnut filly named UVM Trinity had a different idea. Once she was out of the barn, she shot forward, ran a couple of circles around her mom, bucked about a bit, then gathered speed and struck off across the wide expanse of freshly mowed lawn. She galloped around and had a grand old time, whinnying to her mom, flying by under the stately Justin Morgan statue, and happily evaded capture by the staff until she got a bit … well … reprimanded. Her mom called to her and eventually Trinity found her mom and coasted into the paddock. What a great moment!

By the way, UVM Trinity, is the Morgan Horse Farm 2011 Raffle Filly. Her sire is UVM Tennyson. Click here for info about the 2012 Raffle.

Project: Vermont Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Green Mountain State, Globe Pequot Press, July 2012.

2011: A Look Back at an Extraordinary Travel Year

Last weekend, while I was searching through my Lightroom catalog of photos and videos, I suddenly stopped and thought holy guacamole, Wow!, what an extraordinary photo/video/travel year for me! So I thought it would be fun to put together a list of my Top 10 Favorite Photo Moments from last year. I’ll do the “Letterman-thing” and begin with Number 10 and work my way to Number 1 over the next few weeks. I’ll post an outtake photo or two, a link to the finished project (a few are coming soon in 2012!), and a few words about what made that particular place—or shooting moment—so memorable. Stay tuned!

Rave Review!

The newest issue of Down East: The Magazine of Maine contains a review of Maine Icons, and we’re pleased to report they love it. Reviewer Julia Spencer-Fleming doles out ample words of praise, in part:

“Part travel guide, part food journal, part history: Like many Mainers, Maine Icons wears more than one hat. It’s the kind of book to keep in the summer camp for day-trip ideas, or to have on the lunch counter, where the old salts can argue whether Moody’s Diner really does have the best pies. It will be a welcome gift to the couple making their very first visit to the Pine Tree State, and, perhaps most importantly, the perfect bedside read for all those not lucky enough to live here year round.”

For the rest, click here. And the print version of the magazine offers a variety of color photos from the book. And while you’re at it, might as well buy the book, too!

Maine Icons: Summer Signing Dates

As part of our MAINE ICONS-apaloozablowouttourfest, we’ll be attending several upcoming events. Be sure to stop by, snap up a copy or six of MAINE ICONS, and we’ll be more than happy to sign them!

July 9:
Books in Boothbay: Maine’s Summer Book Fair
12:30 to 3:30

The old 1844 Boothbay Town Hall
The Boothbay Railway Village
586 Wiscasset Road/Route 27
Boothbay, Maine

Dozens of Maine authors will be there!

July 30:
Belfast Bound: Belfast’s Book Festival
July 29-31
We’ll be signing at Bella Books & Antiques on Saturday, July 30, from 2 to 4 p.m.

August 23:
Belfast Free Library
6:30 p.m.

We’ll talk about how we put the book together, and have a Q & A session, too.

The Boston Globe Digs Our Action!

Maine Icons was reviewed/covered in Sunday’s Boston Globe Books section. Here’s what they had to say:

Maine By The Numbers
By Jan Gardner
Globe Correspondent June 26, 2011

Did you know that Maine’s moose population is second only to Alaska’s? Or that Chester Greenwood, at 15, invented the earmuff? This is the kind of education you’ll get from “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State’’ (Globe Pequot) by Jennifer Smith-Mayo and Matthew P. Mayo. It paints a picture of Maine by the numbers: 65 lighthouses, 4,613 islands, 80 million pounds of lobsters pulled from the state’s waters every year. And it is a love letter to what makes Maine Maine, from black flies and Stephen King to whoopie pies and the Big Chicken Barn, a favorite destination for book lovers.

First interview …

for Maine Icons appeared this weekend in the Portland Press Herald online and Sunday’s print edition, the Maine Sunday Telegram. Here’s a short excerpt:

Author Q & A: You ought to be in pictures
What makes Maine Maine? A Northport couple tries to capture its essence in words and stunning images in the new book ‘Maine Icons.’

By Meredith Goad

If you had to pick 50 iconic images to represent what Maine is all about, what would you choose?

Would you stick to the more obvious candidates, like lobsters and lighthouses? Or would you go with something a little more understated – say, the Wyeth family?

That was the task photographer Jennifer Smith-Mayo and her husband, writer Matthew P. Mayo, faced when they started working on their new book, “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State” (Globe Pequot, $16.95).

Black flies and Moody’s Diner made the cut. So did the Fryeburg Fair and Baxter State Park. Fiddleheads, the white pine and “Uncle Henry’s Swap-and-Sell-It Guide” were all in the running, but had to be (painfully, according to the authors) slashed from the book.

The Mayos have lived in midcoast Maine for 20 years and are now settled in Northport. Jennifer Smith-Mayo’s photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Down East and The New York Times. Matthew Mayo is the author of novels and nonfiction books, including “Bootleggers, Lobstermen & Lumberjacks: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of Hardscrabble New England.”

The couple has had plenty of time over the years to explore Maine and get to know it well enough to be able to write this book, the first they have worked on together….

Click here to read the full piece.

Mount Vernon Feature in DEM

Check out “Our Town,” an article about Mount Vernon in the June 2011 issue of Down East Magazine. The piece was written by Virginia M. Wright and features my photography. Mount Vernon is a cool town in the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys Region of Maine. The magazine is on sale at local newsstands and online.

Village Soup Reviews Maine Icons

Village Soup posted a write-up by Bethany Staples, about Maine Icons. Thanks, Bethany and Village Soup! Here’s a snippet:

For Mayos, Maine a haven in world of headaches
Whoopie, check out Pine Tree State icons

What makes Maine Maine?

In their book “Maine Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Pine Tree State,” photographer Jennifer Smith Mayo and writer Matthew P. Mayo have compiled half a hundred items that make the country’s 23rd state tick.

Ticks didn’t make that list, but blackflies, the despised state mascot, did. The page detailing blackflies advised the best way to withstand their swarming spring onslaught — don head nets and body nets.

In addition to insects, people, places and things are among the icons.

Famous highlighted Mainers are both real — Stephen King, Chester Greenwood, Joshua Chamberlain, the Wyeth family and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, as well as fictional — Paul Bunyan.

And places featured are modern and historical — people poised for Prospect can experience both in one visit if they ascend 400-plus feet to the Penobscot Narrows Observatory then descend to the adjacent trenches of the Civil War-era Fort Knox….

Click here for the full piece!