I love the interaction of land, water, and the human element. Something about the mix draws me in time and time again. It all started back in the early eighties when I was shooting a project on Great Blue Herons for National Geographic. I found an old Piper Cub airplane sitting on a grass runway in Southern Maryland. I asked the farmer, who owned the plane, if he would fly me over the rookery on the Patuxent River. He did and charged me all of 15 dollars for fuel.
That is how it all started.
I fell in love with the Chesapeake when I saw it from the air. I wanted to see all of the watershed.
Years later, in the late nineties I met a couple of fixed-wing pilots who started flying me around the bay between Baltimore and Tangier Island. It was then that I decided this was a book and it needed to be shot in depth. I wanted more than a book of pretty tourist destinations; I wanted a book that showed the impact of man’s hand upon the watershed and also of the stunning beauty of the bay and its tributaries.
The Susquehanna is the mother of the bay. It always surprises me when people ask me how the Susquehanna is connected to the Chesapeake. It’s as if they don’t know or realize that the bay is a living extension of the Susquehanna and not just a tidal estuary.
In 2005, Dan Myers, a pilot I flew with quite a bit for the book suggested that we take advantage of an amazing fall high pressure system that gave us clean, clear air from Quebec to Virginia. Dan and I took off before sunrise in his Cessna 172 a couple of hours before sunrise. Our goal was to hit Cooperstown at sunrise in order to shoot the first light at Lake Otsego, the headwaters of the Susquehanna.
We had to contend with a strong crosswind as I shot the creek that flowed from the lake. Dan and I spent the day flying downstream, hitting Binghamton and all the small towns that dot the Susqueahanna. We got as far as Harrisburg and then called it a day. The very last flight for the book was in February of 2010 when I flew in a MD500 helicopter and shot winter landscapes of the river from Harrisburg to the mouth of the bay.
The book is divided into three sections. The Upper Bay section is primarily focused on the Susquehanna and upper reaches of the Chesapeake including Baltimore.
The goal of the project and book is to educate people that we’re all a part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed from Virginia all the way to New York. It is the little things that matter and small changes can have an enormous impact upon the quality of water in the bay. Simple things such as cleaning up after your dog, reducing or eliminating lawn chemicals, creating a butterfly garden that is irrigated by your rain gutters and not allowing allowing cattle into stream beds can make an enormous difference.
If you would like to see more of the book, please go to: http://www.aerialchesapeake.com There are two versions of the book available. A signed limited edition book with a slip case and signed print, or the standard edition which is also signed or inscribed.