ABOUT CHRIS HUNGERFORD & VTFALLS.COM
I am not sure when my fascination with waterfalls began, but I have been enjoying them my entire life. As a child, my family had a camp in Georgia, VT that was within a mile of Mill River Falls. I recall going up there with friends and family trying to catch minnows for fishing. The thumbnail to the right is of me exploring the falls in very low summer flow.
Over the years, I was always stopping by the road to look at waterfalls, but never really thought too much about them beyond the occasional sighting. In addition, I had never been involved with photography and didn't own a camera in my younger years. This all changed in the summer of 2005 at a Barnes & Noble in Burlington, when I found a new book!
I never realized how many waterfalls there were until I found the book New England Waterfalls by Greg Parsons and Kate B. Watson. I was hooked, and began to visit and photograph waterfalls with my girlfriend, Carrie. I also began to look online for waterfalls, and found Waterfalls of the Northeastern United States by Dean Goss. Those sources were my influences for getting into waterfalling, and I am forever grateful for the joy I have gotten exploring waterfalls because of their contributions.
In 2006, I didn't have a lot of time to hunt falls in Vermont, but I made my first trip to a monster, Niagara Falls! The trip began with a stop at New York's High Falls, seen in the far left thumbnail below, which is a stunning waterfall in its own right. On August 14th, my girlfriend and I drove from the thousand islands towards Niagara. We parked on goat island, and I could already see the mist. I will never forget my first view of the Horseshoe falls, seen in the second thumbnail. We checked out the American Falls next, and crossed the Rainbow Bridge, with the view seen in the third picture below.
In Canada, we took the maid of the mist ferry to the base of the horseshoe falls and got soaked! There is nothing more amazing than being in the plunge pool of a world record fall. We visited Table Rock, on the crest of the Horsheshoe Falls in Canada, seen in the far right picture above. After getting a close-up of the horseshoe from the Canadian side, we did the behind the falls and observation deck tour. We finished the day by having dinner in the revolving skyline tower overlooking the falls lit up by colored lights. If I wasn't hooked on waterfalls before that day, I was addicted after the amazing experience.
In the fall of 2006, I began to entertain the idea of starting my own site to share my waterfall pictures. For a short while I had a site on waterfallogy, which means the study of waterfalls, that would be about geology and world-record waterfalls. I soon realized that this was not what I was most interested in working on, and on January 1, 2007, I set up vtfalls.com and began to plan a site exclusively devoted to Vermont waterfalls. I soon realized that to make my pictures "silky" and representative of how beautiful waterfalls are, that I would need a new camera. I purchased a Canon Rebel XTi, and a Canon 18-70mm IS lens to get me started. I didn't know much about photography, or web design, but I had all the enthusiasm in the world. I photographed waterfalls extensively in 2007, and built a decent base for the site, especially for northwest Vermont.
In 2008, I continued to visit Vermont falls, often with my friend, Tim Fugere, seen below on the far left at Crystal Falls. He snapped a shot of me at Pike River Falls, seen in the second thumbnail below.
I also picked up a Canon 75-300mm IS lens to help shoot from a distance and photograph golf. In the summer, I was lucky enough to make a trip to Crawford Notch in New Hampshire, with another friend Glenn McCabe, seen in the second thumbnail below at Bemis Falls. The area is well known for dramatic cliffs and great waterfalls. I was not disappointed by Arethusa Falls, a 150' waterfall most often ranked as the best of New England, seen in the first thumbnail below. In addition, we saw Bemis Falls (below) and the copper colors of Colliseum Falls (third pic below) on the same trail. We also saw two towering waterfalls as we were leaving Crawford Notch: Silver Cascade (fourth thumbnail), and the Flume (last). I got a taste of the massive falls of the white mountains, and can't wait to get back to the area!
In 2009, I started the year off slowly, and actually didn't get to many falls in the spring due to being busy teaching science and coaching varsity golf at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans. I visited the Grand Canyon in the summer, and enjoyed a side of nature totally different from the waterfalls of Vermont. When I returned in July, I was contacted by WCAX (Ch.3) news about my waterfall web site, and their interest in doing a "destination recreation" piece about it. We met on Thursday, July 16th in Stowe and visited Moss Glen Falls and Bingham Falls. The Vermont Waterfall Feature was a great experience, and I really appreciate the work done by Keagan Harsha and Joe Carroll to make it special. It has been great to hear from others who enjoy waterfalls, and hopefully it will help spread the word about what spectacular natural wonders they are in Vermont.
Well that brings us to the present. I have been a full-time high school science teacher and varsity golf coach for several years in St. Albans. I love my job teaching students about the natural world, and the opportunities it affords me to continue to pursue my waterfall enthusiasm, especially in the summer. I hope to continue to build up the database, improve my photography skills, and maybe someday write a Vermont Waterfalls book. Ultimately, I would like to inspire others to enjoy the waterfalls of Vermont as much as I have.
July 27, 2009
Chris Hungerford © 2009