January 2014 Update: See more of my photo story collaboration with writer, Bill Burke.in the January, 2014 issue of New Hampshire Magazine “Pond Hockey History and Tournaments in New Hampshire”.
It’s Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love. Most of us think of love meaning we need to buy chocolate and flowers for those we love. But, how often do we ask, what do we love? As a creative artist, that’s not too hard to figure out what I love. I love photography!
Some of you reading this may know me as the fine art nature and historic village photographer. Yes, that is true, but what you may not know is that over the last couple years I have loved photographing people doing what they love to do. I’ve combined my professional knowledge and love for nature and historic architecture by creating eco photo greeting cards, documentaries of preservationists conserving special places, like the historic barn preservation project and master stone mason, Kevin Fife restoring stonewalls (yes, Kevin’s my brother, too).
So it might seem odd to see me out on the ice a couple weekends ago, on Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, New Hampshire in 11 degree weather, photographing hockey at the New England Pond Hockey Classic.
What does sports have anything to do with nature and preservation?
Upon doing some research about the event, I learned the event was founded by Scott Crowder, and draws all kinds of people from all over the US (at least 20 states) and Canada who are passionate about pond hockey. The event is an opportunity to provide the hockey community with a competitive, traditional and nostalgic pond hockey experience. People from all different backgrounds and interests. Some come to play for fun and drink beer, some to see and play with old friends, and one player likes to play on, work in, and study the ice. Cameron Wake plays on an appropriately named team called the Climate Change Crew, or known as C3 for short.
“I’ve been playing pond hockey with these guys for twenty years,” says Cameron. “We started in a big graveyard in Portsmouth off Sagamore Ave and there was a little pond in the middle. It was perfect. It would freeze and all our friends lived right across the street. And so we went every weekend, and usually two to three nights during the week we would go down there and play pond hockey. And it was great!”
“And from that we got a team together and then we played organized hockey for a while, and we still play every Monday night in Durham. They have the old Whittemore Center Unit (back then it was Snively Arena) they moved that down to Jackson’s Landing and we play there every Monday. And we have been playing up here [in Meredith during the New England Pond Hockey Classic] since its inception four years ago.”
“It’s a great time for us to get together and you know, we play hockey together, but we don’t hang out much together, so it’s a great opportunity to sit around and have a couple beers and get to know each other a little better. It actually makes; I wouldn’t say I’m going too far to say that it makes us all feel like eighteen again. You know, out on the ice, playing hockey, having a blast, not really having much of a care in the world how we put the puck in the net the next game.”
When Cameron is not playing on the ice he is studying it as a climate change scientist at the University of New Hampshire.
“I’m an ice core paleoclimatologist by training and drill ice core around the world and try to reconstruct how our climate has changed in the past. More recently, over the past decade, I’ve got really involved in understanding how climate has changed across the northeast, how our climate has changed by looking at meteorological records and how it might change in the future.”
“Depending on what our choices are, 25 years in our future climate depends fundamentally what we as humans decide to do over the course of the next decade about how we produce and how we use energy.”
“The climate is literally in-our-hands. And we can go down the pathway of continuing to rely on fossil fuels and give our children and grandchildren a future that’s very different, a climate future that is very different from the one we grew up in, or we can invest in renewables and energy efficiency and a whole new economy around being more sustainable and give our children and grandchildren a climate that is somewhat similar to the one we grew up with.”
“So what I’m working on right now is helping society make that transition, because it’s not a matter of if, its only a matter of when. And the sooner we do it the less suffering there is going to be in our country and around the world.”
Many thanks to Cameron and the Climate Change Crew for taking a few minutes before their game to talk with me and get a few photos. To learn more about Cameron Wake and the work he does click here. You can also find him on Twitter @TheClimateDr and check out these great videos including the latest videos produced by On Frozen Ponds with the film crew from National Geographic which takes you inside the world of Pond Hockey showcasing a unique culture that thrives in the heart of New England winter.
Click here to view the series of photographs I shot during the event featuring many of the teams that competed and some behind-the-scenes shots at the New England Pond Hockey Classic weekend, February 2-3, 2013.