On Assignment with Jerry Monkman
KATAHDIN WOODS &
A winter assignment in Maine’s
remote National Monument.
IRON OX FARM
The start of a new documentary about
an innovative collaboration between a
land trust and young farmers.
A DRONE’S VIEW OF
From Maine to Rhode Island.
A multi-season tourism photo project.
Restoring sea run fish passage and
rewilding the Northeast’s forests.
Snowboarders at Quarry Road Trails in Maine’s Kennebec Valley.
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We’ve all seen a lot of change around us in the last few years. That’s
definitely been the case in my home life as Marcy and I have gone from
sharing our house with two energetic teenagers to being empty-nesters.
We’re now staring at a strange, quiet, freedom we haven’t enjoyed for
twenty years. I’m not sure how this will impact my photography, but I
expect I’ll have a little more space in my head for new creative projects this
On the Cover: Lenticular clouds at
dawn above Maine’s Katahdin Woods
and Waters National Monument.
This issue of Places looks at some of the great projects I had the fortune
to work on during the last year. From fun tourism shoots where I got to
work on skis and snowshoes or from boats and snowmobiles, to more
serious endeavors looking at the perils of how we source our energy to
the challenges of restoring habitat for sea run fish, I was challenged by
new shooting situations and learned a ton of new information about our
In this issue, I’ve added links to the video projects mentioned in the articles,
so if you’re reading this on-line, you’ll be able to click straight through to
Be well, stay safe, and enjoy the outdoors!
Table of Contents
A winter journey to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.............4-9
Shot on assingment for National Parks Magazine.
Iron Ox Farm....................................................................................................... 10-13
See the trailer for the new documentary I’m filming about a land trust’s collaboration with young farmers.
A Drone’s View of Environmental Issues.......................................................... 14-17
Aerial views of a power corridor, oil tanks, and algae blooms.
Exploring Maine’s Kennebec Valley.................................................................. 18-23
Enjoying Maine in all seasons.
Three short films about dams, fish, and rewilding, shot in Maine for conservation clients.
P.O. Box 59, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802
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Katahdin Woods and
Waters in Winter
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Maine’s newest National Monument
offers remote winter adventure.
In August 2016, President Obama
designated the 87,500 acres east
of Maine’s Baxter State Park as
Katahdin Woods and Waters National
Monument. The land making up
the monument was gifted to the
government by Roxanne Quimby,
a philanthropist who had spent the
better part of three decades acquiring
this remote, undeveloped land,
primarily from timber management
companies, with the dream of creating
a national park. The land includes the
rugged foothills east of Baxter State
Park and the wild forests bordering
the free-running rapids of the East
Branch of the Penobscot River.
This was my second winter visit to
the park, this time on assignment for
National Parks Magazine. My friend
Steve and I spent four days crosscountry
skiing, snowshoeing, and
snowmobiling in what is truly a wild
winter wonderland. We stayed at
private cabins just outside the park
as the park’s cabins were closed due
to Covid-19. We really enjoyed the
skiing along the East Branch, which is
some of the best backcountry nordic
skiing in New England. We also got to
experience most of the weather a New
England winter has to offer, from
bluebird skies to beautiful large-flake
snowfall to 40-below wind chills.
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Ice jams on the East Branch of the
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Steve braves minus 40-degree wind chills so I can get the shot.
Snow falls on canoes at Bowlin Camps on the eastern border of the National Monument.
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The groomed trails next to the East Branch of the Penobscot River.
IRON OX FARM
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Conserving a historic farm for
a new generation of farmers.
A young couple loves the food scene and decides they want to start a farm
to provide quality organic food to local residents and restaurants. They also
have a strong bond to their family and want to stay close by, but they happen
to live north of Boston, home to some of the most expensive real estate in the
US. Too expensive to buy and farm at a profit.
Nearby, a land trust acquires a historic farm once owned by General George
Patton with the understanding that the property will remain in farming. But
the land trust isn’t in the farming business.
In the late summer of 2021, my colleague Ryan Smith (Rooted in Light Media)
and I began work on filming a documentary for the Essex County Greenbelt
Association, the above-mentioned land trust in Massachusett’s Essex
County. Earlier in the year, they had given a 99-year land lease on Green
Meadows Farm to Stacey Apple and Alex Cecchinelli who rechristened the
farm Iron Ox Farm. We’re following their story through this year and plan
to release our film in 2023. A sneak peak trailer is available now on Vimeo:
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Kale and cabbage ready to harvest during Iron Ox Farm’s first
year at the former Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, MA.
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Construction begins on the CMP corridor in Maine’s
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Aerial views of environmental issues across New England
Drones have become an important part of my toolbag in
the last five years or so. The aerial perspective is one I
include on probably three quarters of my projects now
and it is so much less time-consuming and affordable
than shooting from traditional aircraft.
The opening spread of this article shows the beginning
stages of forest clearing for an electricity transmission
line in Maine that was being protested by many
environmental groups in the state. I shot this photo and
video footage as part of a campaign to convince voters
to shut down construction in a ballot initiative (which
passed in November).
Also last year I shot several issues for the Conservation
Law Foundation. I shot petroluem tanks in several
locations where corporations are either running afoul
of clean air and water regulations or failing to take
steps to secure facilities from rising seas and potential
damage from storm surges. I also captured aerial views
of concerning algae blooms caused by pollution in
waterways on Cape Cod.
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Above left: Petroleum tanks adjacent
to Boston Harbor and a residential
neighborhood in Quincy, MA.
Top and middle right: A hurricane
wall built under the I-195 bridge
protects downtown Providence, RI,
which is particulary vulnerable to
storm surge flooding.
Lower right: Algae mats in Prince
Cove in Marston Mills, MA on Cape
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Enjoying Maine in All Seasons
Maine’s a big state by New England standards, and I’ve
been lucky to shoot many corners of the place over the
last 30 years. I’ve yet to find a spot that isn’t a worthy
vacation destination and this project for Thalo Blue
Destination Marketing and Kennebec Valley Tourism
Council definitely kept that streak intact.
For this shoot, our goal was to spend a day or so in each
season photographing people enjoying the cultural
and recreation opportunities in the Kennebec Valley,
which runs north-south from near Maine’s border
with Quebec to the coast just beyond the state’s capitol
district. We manged to capture camping, fishing, boating,
snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, craftbeer
drinking and more.
I enjoyed most of these activities vicariously through the
lens of my camera, with probably my most fun day being
our winter shoot at Quarry Trails in Waterville where
I wore skis or snowshoes all day. Actually, paddling a
kayak on the Kennebec south of Skowhegan in summer
was pretty great too. And ok, I also really liked climbing a
fire tower with fall views of a distant Mount Washington
followed by sampling the product at Grateful Grain
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Above left: Fat-tire biking at Quarry
Road Trails in Waterville.
Top right: A Maine Guide works with
a young client on the Kennebec River
Middle right: A couple enjoys a flight
of beer at Grateful Grain Brewing Co.
Lower right: A young snowshoer at
Quarry Road Trails in Waterville.
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Floating on a lazy summer afternoon on the Kennebec River in Skowhegan.
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It’s always fun to find a rope swing on a summer paddling trip. Kennebec River.
Morning fishing from just outside the door of the camper. Skowhegan.
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Ending the day in a good way at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville.
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Restoring Wildlands and
Sea Run Fish
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A dam in Waterville, Maine, as seen in Free the Kennebec.
Three conservation video projects in Maine
In 2021, I spent almost as much time
pressing record as I did shooting
stills. During the spring and summer,
Ryan Smith and I spent about a week
shooting in the Kennebec River
valley for two separate sea run fish
The first became Keystone: Voices
for the Little Fish, an 11-minute short
film featuring the volunteers who run
Upstream, an organization working
to restore the river herring run on
Cobbossee Stream in Gardiner. The
film has already screened at three
film festivals this year and filming
introduced us to the incredible site
of seeing thousands of fish trying to
find their way up the streams in the
For our second fish story (Free the
Kennebec) we actually shot a series
of videos for the Natural Resources
Council of Maine who are working with
several other organizations to create
fish passage past four dams on the
Kennebec River that are preventing
federally endangered Atlanitc Salmon
from reaching their spawing grounds.
In October, I produced a video for
the Northeast Wilderness Trust that
explains their Wildlands Partnership
program. We shot the video in
Hancock, Maine during peak foliage
and ended with some amazing drone
footage like that seen in the still photo
to the left. You can see the whole video
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River Herring as seen in a frame grab from Keystone: Voices for the Little Fish.
We filmed the Wildnads Partnership video in the Hancock Community Forest.
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P.O. Box 59
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03802