A Window with Ice Shanties

I slid across the ice. Accidentally at first, and then as my comfort grew, I evolved my technique from a means of avoiding a broken tailbone to a proper, Risky Business-esque maneuver. Building a head of steam, I scurried across the frozen lake aiming squarely at a wind-swept portion of ice. A few feet before the snow stopped, exposing the glassy surface, I hopped, landing squarely with the toe of my right foot touching the back of my left Danner Mountain Lights. For twenty feet, I slid. Across the lake, in a protected cove, a group of colorful ice shanties broke up the green and white horizon. Marching across the frozen landscape one slide at a time, I made my way towards them, camera in hand.

Months ago, I searched through flea markets and antique malls looking for windows. My interest in old windows as picture frames and not economic replacements was bewildering to most Mainers at local flea markets. After turning over many rocks, I eventually found some windows that were both aesthetically pleasing and practical as frames. Working with Tucker, we stripped the excess paint and applied a few coats of sealant to protect the frames.

Looking through my Picasa page for groups of photos, I quickly settled on my images of ice shanties. Drawn to the bright colors contrasting the bleak landscapes and the idea of being in a place you shouldn't, protected from cold and wind, I selected my 12 favorite and ordered them in 9"x7" archive-quality prints

Throughout the summer as I transitioned into my new life in New York, Tucker put the finishing touches on the window frame.

Red and White.

Outside of Skowhegan, Maine, one of my favorite shots.

Near US Route 1 on the mid Maine Coast.

Anchored to the ice near Canaan, Maine

Built on the concept that each frame and group of images will be unique, the finished window tells a story more complex and evolved that a singular image mounted on the wall.

The finished window is 40" high by 25" wide and has 12 9" by 7" color prints.

A lonely shanty Down East.

Frozen footsteps captured by thaws and freezes.

The Ice Shanty Window is the first of a series of my favorite images partnered with antique windows.

The shanties complement each other and providing context through repetition.

Offering a view to a distant world, my window with its twelve images hangs over my living room for the time being. If you are interested in owning the Ice Shanty window, or one of the following ones, please send me an email at foster.huntington(at)gmail.com.

Here are some more links,
Windows (ART),
Ice Fishing (ART).

A Farewell To Winter

"The snow is gone and it's not coming back," a baker at the farmers market told me recently. Impressed by his beard and suspenders, I took his word as gospel. The rivers are humming with water from a mild winter's snow. Dead set on maximizing their lawns, Mainers are raking up gravel and sand deposited by the county's army of plows.

I live in a shanty in a shanty town.

Signs warning of thin ice pepper the edges of lakes as open water slowly gains confidence around the perimeter and then spreads towards the center like kids at a middle school dance.

Tucker reading out on the ice on one of the last days of winter.

For Sale by Owner.

As you read this I will be in Nicaragua, playing in 85 degree water like a seven year old at Chuck E. Cheese.

Protecting a Mainer's back yard, these ice shanties won't see redeployment for another nine months.

Things weather fast here.

Chirping birds in the morning are bitter sweet. I will miss the reality of Maine winters that shatters the romantic ideals of snowball fights and warming up by the fireplace, but at the same time makes the bonds to seasons more long lasting and genuine. All good things must come to an end, and, like my time in Maine, a new opportunity is here.


Ice Fishing Shacks in Maine

Starting in December, the lakes of Maine ice up and thousands of outdoor enthusiasts take to the frozen playgrounds on snowmobiles and pickup trucks in search of fish. Basing their operations out of small shacks, the fishermen walk around the frozen landscape periodically, checking traps, breaking up ice buildups and drilling new holes. Bundled up like Randy Parker from The Christmas Story, they approach their fishing responsibilities as a defiant right of passage. Each inadvertent slip on the ice or splashing of water proves to themselves and their buddies, warming their stomachs with cheap beer in nearby shacks, that not even sub-zero winters can bar them from enjoying the great Maine outdoors.

Driving by lakes throughout New England, I am always on the lookout for ice shacks and their dedicated proprietors. On Sunday, I looked at a map of central Maine for unfamiliar roads, towns and lakes and headed northwest with my camera sitting shotgun. Near Canaan I spotted a lone ice shack standing tall and pulled to the side of the road. A dozen more shacks came into view as I rounded a small point and for the next hour and half I walked around exploring the landscape and looking at the structures.

Utensils for cooking fish and breaking ice.

Scott Peterman's photos of architecture and ice shacks have had a major influence on my photography and overall aesthetic.

The bright colors of the ice shacks juxtapose the bleak Maine winter, making both more pronounced and impressive.

A thermometer on the door handle of his shack reminds Mr. Bickford of the gelid nature of ice fishing.

Anchored to the ice.

Truck, snowmobile and foot prints on the ice, the highway of ice fishing.

Thawing and freezing cements footprints in the ice until the spring storms of April and early May.

Take Note.

Yellow and Red.

Time passed as the wind whipped up loose snow and the drone of snowmobiles oscillated in the distance like a snooze alarm in a nearby room. I slid my feet on the ice towards the shore and the warmth of my car.

Here are some more links,
Ice Shacks in Maine (Picasa),
Fishing with John: Willem Dafoe in Maine,
Scott Peterman (Photographer),