A Photographic Journey through the Heart of New England
by Al Braden
Al Braden’s collection of gorgeous full-color photographs guides the reader the full length of our 410-mile river, from a pond on the Canadian border to Long Island Sound. Braden donned waders to capture intimate glimpses of water’s many textures and took to the air to bring back breath-taking views of the landscape we inhabit below. Photographed digitally, lovingly printed and published. Afterward by Chelsea Gwyther, CRC Executive Director at the time.
“Al Braden takes us right to the water’s edge, vividly showing us the Connecticut River you won’t see from the highways. You’d have to hop into a canoe and paddle the river yourself to get a better sense of this long and historic river.” – Steve Grant, author of The Hartford Courant’s 17-part series Canoeing the Connecticut.
Connecticut River armchair travelers never had it so good. The recipe for this successful book: Begin with a professional photographer who grew passionately dedicated to the Connecticut decades ago. Wait patiently as the river inspires him to go to extraordinary lengths (and heights) to capture its many personalities. Stir in the advantages of digital color photography not available to producers of previous Connecticut River photo books. Entrust these ingredients to Wesleyan University Press, in Middletown, CT, on the banks of the river.
Now it’s done, and ready to be served directly to you. Or to the family member or friend with an interest in the river itself, or in regional history, architecture, land use, ecology, or simply the many ways that light interacts with water.
At Al’s gracious invitation, CRC Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther provides an Afterward, This Place is Worth Defending, which places the photographs in the context of CRC programs to protect the 11,000-square mile Connecticut River watershed.
The photographic tour through 136 full-page color images begins where the Connecticut is a small stream in the foggy Northern Forest, and proceeds south as the river gathers breadth, winding between hills in Vermont and New Hampshire. It continues through densely developed urban waterfronts in Massachusetts and Connecticut, pausing for a stunning view of fireworks bursting over the night-time river amid Hartford’s glittering riverfest. The trip concludes amid broad marshes and islands in tidal coastal waters.
En route, there are landmarks you know, possibly your own community. The scope of images ranges from intimate focus to wide angle. Here, a solitary fishing egret thrusts its bill into shallow water, and Braden captures it still bent over in the center of concentric ripples going out from that moment. There, he leans out of an airplane to show us what few have seen in person: the fine white line in the water out past the Connecticut’s mouth that shows the boundary between the salt water of Long Island Sound and the fresh water that began 410 miles to the north.
An online slideshow of Al Braden’s photographs of the river includes images from this book.
©2009 by Al Braden
Published by Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT
Hard cover, 136 full-color photographs, 149 pages, 10¼ x 10¼ inches $35.00
Shipping and Handling $5.00