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The Quest to Capture Pirie's Seasons

Pirie Quarry Compilation of Seasons as Photographed by Nathan Payne, Owner of Dream Anchor Photography
I’ve ventured out many times to capture a particular shot, but Pirie Quarry remains the only location I’ve felt compelled to photograph during every season.


From the Archives

By the Summer of 2018, I’d already captured two seasons of Pirie Quarry simply out of a drive to visit the location and bring a camera. However, when I realized I’d created very similar images, the idea of capturing all the seasons sprang to mind, and all I had to do was wait and remember my desire at the appropriate time.

I’m rather forgetful when it comes to specific things, one where I set something down, and two, purely chronological affairs with little else to remind me. So, for example, the annual return of any particular birthday has little bearing on my day-to-day life—just because it’s August, whatever, doesn’t mean I’m going to remember it’s Auntie Jane’s 53rd birthday. Trust me, I wish it were different, but it’s not, so there’s no use in worrying about it.

Anyway, Autumn rolled around, and I remembered my desire soon enough to capture Vermont’s turning of the season. Maybe it wasn’t Peak Foliage Season any longer, but I was happy enough with the result to say so and had only one more image to capture. This last image, of course, had the potential to be far more complicated than the other three, and I’m not much of a fan of winter, so I can’t say I was looking forward to getting it.

The Final Season

According to my camera’s timestamp on the image, it was November 27th before I ventured out to create my winter image. And according to my memory of hoofing it out to Pirie Quarry and the collection of snow captured in the frame, I had chosen a day following reasonably heavy snowfall.

Now, I’ve gained some essential information I didn’t have that day back in 2018. There are at least two ways to hike into Pirie Quarry via the Millstone Trail system, and on this particular day, I took the longest of them all.


It may not sound like much to hear that my trek was just shy of a mile in one direction, but when you account for the waist-high snowdrifts I encountered along the way and my six-foot-four stature, you’ll realize that this hike was an undertaking. However, the trail is relatively level and easy enough to follow, a blessing I’m still thankful for today.

Still, I remember tiring out near the end of the return journey, slogging the last bit with heavy breath, soar shoulders, and burning flexor muscles but not before walking away with my desired image—the final piece to my collection.

Four years after the idea came to me, I’m proud of my journeys to Pirie Quarry and the resulting images. The Four Seasons of Pirie Collection was, if not the first, one of the earliest long-term photography projects I ever completed and is a testament to how patient application to a task can bring great results.

One day I would like to return to this project and recreate the four images comprising The Four Seasons of Pirie Quarry. Two reasons drive that motivation. One, capturing Peak Season will enhance the foliage colors, and two, patiently applying myself to a task has proven a valuable photography approach. When I return, it will be with more knowledge. For one, I know to take the shorter path, but I’ll also return with more photographic experience and improved technology.

The experience of hiking out to Pirie Quarry with a camera in hand will be worth whatever snowdrifts I encounter. Even if the resulting images are only some of what I might hope for.

I will venture out many times to capture a particular shot, but Pirie Quarry remains the only location I’ve felt compelled to photograph during every season. In fact, my feelings on the topic may stay that way until the day I die. And I’d be okay with that. Pirie Quarry is undoubtedly a gem amongst the rolling hills of Vermont, one I am glad to have discovered and one I am happy to have added to my collection. Thank you, Rock of Ages, for creating this incredible vista, and Millstone Trails, for all your work making your trail system to the public. You’ve brought me many joys over the years, and more are yet to come.


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