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Winter on the Lake

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(Photo: Louise Abbott)

For an upcoming book about Lake Memphremagog, the Rural Route Communications partners have been out on the ice with their cameras. Louise Abbott produced these images on the weekend of February 18-19, 2012, when fishermen were out to catch perch, and small plane enthusiasts were out to enjoy an international fly-in.


 (Photo: Louise Abbott) 


A Progress Report

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(Photo: Louise Abbott)

Louise Abbott continues to videotape the work-in-progress on the beautiful nineteenth-century high-drive barn that Neil Manson dismantled near Knowlton's Landing and is resurrecting on his property in Austin. Here Neil and his helpers are planing the floorboards for the barn on November 27, 2011. Neil laid the floorboards over the winter. Louise will eventually produce a video documentary that will be available in DVD format.


Lake Memphremagog: An Illustrated History

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The short-lived Gibraltar Hotel can be seen across from Georgeville in this nineteenth-century view of Lake Memphremagog by W.S. Hunter.

Louise Abbott and Niels Jensen are now at work on an illustrated history of Lake Memphremagog. It will feature a text based on archival research and oral history interviews by Louise,  along with historical images and contemporary photos by both Niels and Louise.

Do you live or have you lived in the vicinity of Lake M emphremagog? Do you have stories to tell about the lake? Do you have old pictures taken on or around the lake? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," we'd love to hear from you! Our email address is: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Gibraltar Point today.


Review of New Photo Books

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Louise Abbott has written on the subject of photography for more than thirty years. Her latest article—a review of several new photo books—appeared in the Montreal Gazette on December 9, 2011. It was reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen, the Edmonton Journal , and the Victoria Times-Colonist.


"A photograph is always a destination," novelist Helen Humphreys wrote, "not concerned with getting there but being there." The destinations in this season's new photo books are far-flung and intriguing.

David Hall's Beneath Cold Seas: The Underwater Wilderness of the Pacific Northwest (Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Foundation, 160 pages, $45) transports readers to frigid waters off the west coast of Canada. The diversity of creatures in this ecosystem is astonishing; Hall's colour photographs of them are astonishing, too. Steller sea lions loom out of the darkness. A Pacific prawn crawls over a barnacle-encrusted ledge. Crimson anemones and red soft coral brighten the kelp forest on the sea bottom.


(Photo by David Hall)

As an underwater photographer, Hall must be ultra-cautious as he contends with a finite air supply, powerful currents, murky waters, proximity to sometimes-dangerous subjects, and the risk of decompression sickness on ascent to the surface.

He must also be ultra-patient. It took him years to find a decorated warbonnet—a notoriously reclusive fish—out in the open. "I decided to employ piscine psychology.... I turned both my gaze and my camera everywhere except toward my quarry." Hall gradually moved in closer and closer, and made several exposures. In reviewing his images, he discovered a double portrait. "In the dim light one hundred feet below the surface, I had not noticed the second, much smaller warbononnet, probably a male, peeking out from beneath the body of his mate."

A strong environmental message underlies Hall's book. "One cannot learn about the wonders of the ocean without also learning of its suffering," marine biologist Sarika Cullis-Suzuki writes in the introduction."... Overfishing, climate change, the introduction of foreign species, habitat loss, and pollution have fundamentally altered the sea."



(Photo by Fritz Mueller)

Greystone Books has produced another equally handsome coffee-table book—Yukon: A Wilder Place (160 pages, $50), which showcases the colour photographs of Fritz Mueller, with an accompanying text by freelance writer Teresa Earle.

Mueller and Earle, a husband-and-wife team, conceived the idea for this volume over a decade ago when they became smitten with the Yukon and moved to this "overlooked corner of North America that sustains some of the most intact populations of wildlife on the planet, including barren-ground caribou, grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and migratory birds."

Mueller is a biologist, and his photographs are informed by his knowledge—and awe—of nature. There are majestic panoramas of mountains and rivers, delicate close-ups of butterflies and flowers, and dramatic scenes of caribou herds in migration, as well as grizzly bears in pursuit of prey.

Earle amplifies readers' understanding of the images. She explains, for instance, the origin of the dazzling northern lights that Mueller has captured: "Explosions on the surface of the sun energize solar particles that collide with gases in the upper atmosphere, and the agitated oxygen and nitrogen release their energy as color—dancing bands of bright green, red, and purple-pink."


With 35,000 residents in a territory of 480,000 square kilometres, the Yukon remains nearly 80 per cent wilderness. But, Earle notes, "As the Yukon becomes less remote and demand for its abundant resources grows, human impacts creep into its wild margins." This book offers a compelling argument for arresting further encroachment.

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