Republic of Georgia Photo Exhibit Opens – experience a virtual tour of the Crowell Gallery

March 3, 2019

Thank you to all my friends, neighbors, and community members who attended a successful and fun reception and meet & greet to open my Republic of Georgia photo exhibition at the Crowell Gallery of the Moore Free Library in Newfane, Vermont. Here are a series of photos displaying my exhibition setup. I rarely do this on my blog but (1) these images are unedited (no Photoshop), and (2) they are all taken with my iPhone. The images that appear curved were taken using the panorama setting on my phone.

If you reside locally or are in the area from out of town, I invite you to stop by and not only virtually travel through Georgia but also enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Crowell Gallery. It is truly a gift – one of the most beautiful gallery spaces in southern Vermont. And the Moore Free Library certainly ranks among the best of local libraries in the area.

A very BIG thank you to the Moore Free Library and the Crowell Gallery for providing me with this opportunity to share my photography from six months of one of the most wonderful work and travel experiences of my life.

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Library Hours

  • Tuesday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Wednesday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Thursday – 2pm – 7pm
  • Friday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Saturday – 10am – 1pm
  • Sunday and Monday – Closed

 

Location

23 West Street
Newfane, VT 05345

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All photos copyrighted ©Stephen Tavella

 

 

 

 

 

New Photo Exhibit – March 2 – 30!

February 24, 2019

__Vacation_Ananuri04_smallSteve Tavella, a resident of Dummerston, Vermont – photographer, gardener, hiker, open-water swimmer, traveler, adventurer, motorcyclist, sushi-maker, and lover of all things natural – has been exploring and photographing landscapes and cultures from around the world since he spent four years in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Kiribati and Solomon Islands in the 1980s. His work and photography includes a two-year stint working with Karen refugees in northwestern Thailand, five extended work and travel trips over three years throughout Egypt, eleven years of short-term technical assistance as a contractor with the U.S. Agency for International Development throughout Southeast Asia, the greater Caucasus region, and East Africa, a year in Afghanistan working with farmers (see videos in these two places here and here), six-months leading humanitarian relief operations in support of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State, Myanmar, anthropological and spiritual work with cultures of eastern Brazil, the Peruvian Amazon, and the Santa Marta mountains of Colombia, and most recently, in 2016, six months in the Republic of Georgia as a strategic management advisor to the peace institute, The International Center for Peace and Integration.

With sixteen select images, Steve hopes to convey a sense of that which is uniquely Georgian despite Greek, Roman, Arab, Persian, Mongol, Turkish, Russian, Christian, Muslim, eastern and now western invasions and influences spanning over two millennia. The exhibit is on display through March. An artist meet and greet will be held at the Crowell Gallery in Newfane from 1:00 – 3:00 PM on Saturday, March 2.

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If you are unable to attend the artist’s reception or experience the exhibition between March 2 – 30, you may purchase a companion guide to the exhibition online. The booklet is a glossy magazine-style 20-page professionally published guide including all 16 photographs that include accompanying descriptions, history, and personal anecdotes.

Hey! Even if you do visit, you can still purchase the exhibition booklet!!

Preview and purchase it here.

Moore Free Library and Crowell Gallery Location:

23 West Street

Newfane, VT 05345

 

Website:

http://www.moorefreelibrary.org/

 

Hours:

  • Tuesday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Wednesday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Thursday – 2pm – 7pm
  • Friday – 1pm – 5pm
  • Saturday – 10am – 1pm
  • Sunday and Monday – Closed

 

Experience the magic!

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All content copyrighted ©Stephen Tavella

Georgia On My Mind

February 24, 2019

Yeah, ok, so it’s been over a year since I’ve posted on my blog. I’m still here, though there are some I know who wish I were not.  🙂  I’m planning on being around for a bit longer. I just can’t guarantee how often I’ll land here. One day at a time.

It’s one of those days for reminiscing. Southern Vermont, a winter of snow, thaw, rain, ice, more snow, thaw, rain. Who knows what’s next. Going on 33 years in this state and I have never seen anything like it before. Humans are changing the climate, people! Let’s all try to do our part.

That’s not what I’m here for today. I’m here to share some sweet, happy, and heart-warming reminiscing. I hope all my readers have moments like this in your life.

Earlier today, I was outside for a couple of hours with my pickaxe chopping ditches in the ice to channel water away from my home and cottage. They both lie at the north end of a south to north downward slope on my property. I came inside, lit a deliciously warm and inviting fire in my fireplace and opened my email for one short moment. While I was outside hacking at the ice I was thinking back to 2016 when I lived in the REPUBLIC of Georgia. That’s NOT the state of Georgia that some of my readers may be a little more well-acquainted with. I worked there as a management advisor to a peace institute, the International Center for Peace and Integration. While I was hacking at the frozen ground, for some reason I started to reminisce about Georgia – (The Republic of) Georgia… on my mind. When I opened my email in front of my cozy fire what was the first note that popped up? Nothing other than one from my dear friend and professional colleague, Natali Kenkadze. Please take some time to watch her inspiring Tedx talk by clicking on her hyperlinked name. Her email warmed my heart more than anything the heat of my fireplace could do.

Natali got me thinking… she’s had me thinking, actually. We met in NYC this past December when she was attending a U.N. conference. She accompanied me to Vermont where I had the pleasure of sharing my beautiful state with her and spending some of the most splendid time of 2018 with a dear, dear friend. Incidentally, I will be opening a photographic exhibit of 16 select photos – from thousands, I took – at the Crowell Gallery of the Moore Free Library in Newfane, Vermont, on March 2. I got to thinking there are so many photos from Georgia (THE Republic of) I have never shared with anyone. I decided to share some of them here today.

So, with no further ado, travel with me through my reminiscings as I share my warm heart and happy memories of a country that will always have a place in my heart.

Clockwise from top left:

(1) Steve with the management team of the International Center for Peace and Integration: Gvantsa, Ani, Me, NATALI, Ana, Gocha, Khatuna (and her sweet daughter); (2) Traditional Georgian Dancing to rock n’ roll at an ICPI party; (3) A traditional Georgian dancer; (4) Selling fruit by the side of the road in Kazbeghi, on the Russian border; (5) My chacha friends (you’ll have to look up “chacha” on the web to learn more – hint: search on ‘Georgian chacha’

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Waiting for Stalin

I’ve called this photo ‘Waiting for Stalin’ because I met these women outside the Stalin museum in Gori, the home of Stalin. At their age, they undoubtedly had so many memories to share. Unfortunately, because they did not speak English and my Georgian was limited to ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, and ‘where is the restroom?’ I could not converse with them, though I so much wanted to!

The back streets of Tbilisi – my favorite places to while away my time (and I spent a lot of time doing so). If only the walls, windows, twisted gates, hanging laundry, and cobblestone streets could talk – and sometimes the walls did talk.

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And one of my favorite places to stop and pick up a bag of popcorn for less than twenty-five cents (while I wandered the streets) was the popcorn vendor on Rustaveli Boulevard.

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I visited this sacred church in Mtskheta several times. Each time I stepped inside I walked to this corner and pondered, “What is it like to be a monk in this 6th-century building that has so many stories in its soil and stone?”

As a mostly landscape photographer, I will let these last few images speak for themselves. If you wish to learn more, do an internet search.

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Dmanisi – house on the hill

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Dmanisi – castle ruins and Orthodox Church

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The hike to Gergeti Trinity Orthodox Church and Monastery, Kazbeghi (Russian border)

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Enchanted moss-covered forest, outside of Kutaisi

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Doorways into doorways

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Have you looked up chacha on the internet?

Beware, the day after!

Watch Ray Charles sing the most beautiful rendition of ‘Georgia On My Mind’ here.

Lyrics:

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)
I said Georgia
Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
I said Georgia
Ooh Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
Whoa, Georgia
Georgia
No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
I said just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Be well, my friends. Sending blessing and warmth!

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All content copyrighted ©Stephen Tavella

Each New Day Filled With Gratitude

November 2, 2017

Have you ever heard the phrase, “There’s light at the end of the tunnel”?  I think it may be an American expression but I suspect there are similar phrases in many other languages. For my international readers, and speakers of English as a foreign language, here in the U.S. we primarily use it to console someone who is experiencing difficulty in one form or another. Mostly, it’s endearing and meant in a supportive way to comfort the person. Things will get better.

There is a contrary derivation of that phrase that can be interpreted as a dire warning or in a humorous way – or ill-humored depending on the person and situation. It goes like this: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s a train!”

Short interpretation: You got trouble comin’, buddy!

I surmise every human being on this planet has experienced “the train” at one point or another. Unfortunately, given some of the places I have worked (Afghanistan, Rakhine State Myanmar, the Thai/Myanmar border, to name a few) and the people I have striven to help, “the train” is ever-present in their lives. Another story; another time. This past year and a half have been a challenge for me. Let me repeat the key word in that last sentence: C-H-A-L-L-E-N-G-E. That light at the end of the tunnel HAS been a train all-too-often, and it has been heading in my direction frequently. This post is not about trains or lights at the end of tunnels, however. Hmmm, or is it? Certainly, they are integral elements of the message I really intend to impart. The key word here is:

G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E

As I reflect in these challenging times, the greatest spiritual, personal, and professional growth I have experienced in my life has come through some of the greatest adversity. And when I look back on those times and examine my current circumstances I am filled with gratitude! The Universe, God, Spirit, Angel, Mother Earth – call it what you want – presents us with gifts both big and small each day (we only must be observant) that enable our growth and contribute to our happiness and fulfillment.

This morning, I received this gift – and many more – that filled my heart with immense gratitude for where I live and all the love that surrounds me each and every day:

This is sunrise and fog at Pleasant Valley. Yes, that’s really its name. This is where I ended up after an early morning jog a mile down my dirt road with a short detour into a small apple orchard. And for the photographers visiting this site, no fancy Nikon camera here, just an iPhone pulled from my vest pocket.

Be grateful.

And tell someone in your life every day that you love them.

Gracias por me vida!

Sending love and blessings to all of you!

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All content copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

 

 

Bees on Dahlia: Nikon and iPhone Comparisons

October 6, 2017

We have had unusually warm weather in Vermont for early October, providing a welcomed extension to what was a mostly cool summer. A few mornings ago, however, the nighttime temperatures dropped into the 30’s (single digits Celsius). On an early morning walk around my gardens, I spotted dew-bespeckled bees seemingly painted on my dahlias. It was a magical moment. I ran back to the house and grabbed my Nikon SLR and tripod. I shot this photo:

I thought to myself, “Is this the way some bees die at the end of the summer? Their metabolisms gradually slow as the temperature drops on a waning day and through the night. While they are drinking the sweet nectar of a beautiful flower, they eventually drift into a sleep brought on by what we humans call hypothermia.”

I have read that after the initial pain from the cold, death by hypothermia is relatively peaceful. The bees in this dewy, motionless state perched upon my dahlias seemed impervious to the chill if it weren’t for their inability to move. I don’t think they would have moved had I petted them.

I am happy to report that when the warm sun filled my meadow the bees were dancing happily from flower to flower.

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I visited that same garden this morning. It’s not nearly as cold today, but it is damp and grey. I discovered bees (the same ones?) perched atop the same dahlias “frozen”, but not covered in dew, awaiting the warm sun to invigorate their exoskeletons. This time, iPhone in my pocket, I decided to snap some pictures and compare them with those I took with my Nikon a few days earlier. Here is one I took of a singular bee on a singular petal:

I am more than occasionally surprised at the quality of the photos I get from my iPhone 6. Their quality falls short of those from my Nikon but given the convenience, portability, and surprising resolution and color, I always keep my iPhone handy.

Now, as to the surprises I find in nature, I never cease to be amazed!

Here on my mountain in southern Vermont, I am frequently delighted by the soaring hawk above my meadow, flocks of turkey guiding their young through the edges of my woods, owls that call to each other in the night, the black bear that plods along my brook, the snake that warms itself on the stone wall, chipmunks that chatter noisily, robins that pluck insects from my gardens and fields, and goldfinch that feed on my sunflowers.

The wonders of this magical natural world no doubt alight in front of each of us every day – most likely even if you are an urban dweller. Be attentive, be mindful. The natural world has much to teach us if we choose to observe and listen.

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

Stormy Seas and Foggy Ports on the Maine Coast

May 8, 2017

The photographs will do most of the speaking on this post. My partner and I spent two glorious days exploring the southern Maine coast from Ogunquit to Portland. Rain, fog, a cold persistent wind, and stormy seas created the atmosphere for this series of photos, along with a little long exposure magic from my Nikon DSLR.

Plan a visit to Maine sometime. It’s such a special place. Hope you enjoy!

Stormy Seas and Wind: A View from the Marginal Way (Ogunquit)

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Reflection and Fog in Wells Harbor

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Moored in Fog (Wells Harbor)

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Stormy Surf and Fog (Portland Harbor)

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Portland Light (Portland Harbor)

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

Vermont in Autumn – Transition (series 3)

November 29, 2016

fairlee_airport01_smallStick season, as we call it here in Vermont, occurs in that space between foliage season and the onset of snow. Generally, that means late October to early December, give or take some weeks on each end depending on how Mother Earth chooses to behave. Any wise person knows you don’t slap dates on Mother Earth. She has a mind of her own, and so it should be.

The mention of ‘wise’ people sets me to contemplating, especially as the rain pours down here in southern Vermont on a grey, chilly, late November day in Stick Season. It is the sort of day I consider near perfect for sitting, and contemplating, and writing.

But I won’t take much of your time. A few meandering thoughts, if you will…

I find this time of year of low light in the northern hemisphere drives not only my physical body to be sheltered inside in the comfort of my tiny home in the woods, but also sets my soul to settle on more solitary ground. As I sit here today my heart and mind travel across the years that seem to pass more swiftly despite my futile attempts to apply the brakes. Mostly, I am nonplussed to consider my situation. I am not in this predicament alone… friend. On the grey and chilly side of this current deliberation lies the reality of time passing more quickly than the many tasks and dreams I hope to accomplish and attain before that final hour. On the brighter side of the equation lies the wisdom I feel I have attained – and continue to attain – as a sum of the rich life I have lived and the providence the Universe, God, Spirit, Luck (call it what you will) has showered upon me. Yes, ultimately I see the glass as half full.

Pour me more wine, please!!

Attention! I did not claim to be wise! A wide chasm separates those who claim to be wise from those who claim to be attaining wisdom. I entreat you to consider me humbled at the feet of the ultimate wisdom of the universe!

I have gone philosophical. That’s what a grey, chilly, late November day in Stick Season will do to me. I will release you to a few photographs that evoke the season. I hope you will enjoy. And please do feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. I always enjoy hearing from those who are gracious enough to visit these pages.

Onward

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On my meanderings through my neighborhood

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The stillest of days with the waters of the West and Connecticut Rivers like glass

(iPhone photo)

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The Dummerston Covered Bridge (Vermont’s longest), just down the road from my home

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(iPhone photo)

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Foggy morning and sunbeams on Beaver Pond Road

(iPhone photo)

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

VOTE!

November 8, 2016

It is November 8th and it is time to vote, America! If you live in the United States and are registered, then you have no excuse – GET OUT AND VOTE TODAY! Voting Rights law requires an employer to give you two hours off to vote. So you don’t work, but can’t drive or take public transportation to the polls? Call family or friends to give you a ride. If you do not vote you are not exercising your most fundamental right in the oldest democracy in the world. This election is too important – every election is important – to not exercise that right. Your vote does count.

And here is my in-your-face opinion if you do not vote: You do not have the right to voice your opinion about how this country is run and the politicians who were democratically elected to draft our laws. Climb back in your hole and keep your mouth shut. Or better yet, maybe you should go find a country where you have no rights at all? Our democracy is far from perfect, but I do not think it takes a lot of contemplation to appreciate the freedom and rights we have in the United States.

Maybe you have become cynical to the fact that the system is rigged and your vote is not really counted? I confess to a degree of cynicism myself, BUT I vote. Maybe, if you consider a little more deeply, you might see that it’s not the system that’s rigged, but the fact that the electorate in this country has become complacent. Here is a cold fact for you: Voter turnout fluctuates in national elections, but on average only about 60% of eligible voters actually cast their vote. Consider, on the other hand, countries like Belgium and Malta, which have a voter turnout that reaches 95%!

You say you don’t like the choices we are given? Neither candidate represents you? Then write in your choice. This blog is not telling you who to vote for, it’s just asking you, telling you, pleading with you to vote. So get out there and do your duty! But before you do, enjoy these few long exposure photos I took of the White House, Washington Memorial and Capitol Building during a visit to DC in September.

Happy Voting!

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The White House – telephoto lens long exposure

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Moon and Birds Over the U.S. Capitol Building

(I will talk about this blended photoshop technique in an upcoming post)

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Looking Down the Mall at the Washington Monument

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

Vermont in Autumn – Reflections (series 2)

October 29, 2016

Light is most kind to a photographer at the beginning and end of the day. The light is softer, richer and saturates sky, earth and water with deeper hues. Clouds are more dense. Subdued winds invite mirrored reflections on water. Fall’s colors are amplified in those reflections. In this post I share photographs taken at the ends of the day – early morning and late afternoon – with nature’s mirror (water) amplifying the adjacent colors of the landscape.

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Morning Fog and Reflection on the West River

Location: Brattleboro

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Foggy Morning on the Meadows

Location: Brattleboro

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Morning Fog and Reflection at the Dummerston Covered Bridge

Location: Dummerston

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Mt. Wantastiquet (New Hampshire) in Color

Location: Brattleboro (VT)

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Late Afternoon at the Green River

Location: Guilford

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Set Alight by the Sun

Location: Connecticut River between Brattleboro (VT) and Hinsdale (NH)

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

Vermont in Autumn – The Year of Brilliant Color (series 1)

October 28, 2016

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For more than a year much of New England has been suffering a prolonged drought. My photography friends and I anticipated the fall colors that turn Vermont’s scenic green mountain landscape into a Wolf Kahn painting would be muted this year as a result. Not so! In fact, this year’s foliage has been one of the best in the 30 years I have made southern Vermont my home. The brilliant colors, combined with the dynamic weather conditions, have provided a smorgasbord of photographic opportunity.

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting the short October foliage season that draws thousands of visitors from urban areas to our beautiful state.

Also, enjoy all Vermont seasons – and share the beauty with family and friends – by ordering your Vermont fine art all-occasion/all-season note cards featuring my photography and designed by me, by clicking here. These unique, one-of-a-kind cards are perfect for sending thank you’s, announcements, birthday and holiday greetings, or just simply to say, “I am thinking of you!” Professionally printed in the United States using ecological soy ink, with high gloss, spill-proof coating. You will not find this quality by Hallmark, or any other card sold in a big box store. I have been told by customers that the quality of images, layout and printing is so high they would even consider framing them. Email me directly at gilbertislands@gmail.com, or call 802-254-0057 to discuss special discounted pricing on bulk orders of 20 or more cards.

Thank you for visiting; enjoy your days!

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My foliage photography season always starts north of where I live in Dummerston. This photograph was taken in early October on the road leading to the Ball Mountain Dam on the West River, a tributary of the Connecticut River (New England’s longest at 410 miles), which runs the length of the border between the states of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Location: Jamaica

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Emerging Color on Ball Mountain Brook

Location: Jamaica

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Tree Tops and Birds on a Rainy Day

Location: Dummerston

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Going Home to Roost: The Waning Day

Location: Brattleboro

Come back and visit soon for a second set of images in this fall foliage series.

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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella

 

Vermont Photographic Note Cards – On Sale Now!

Four classic landscape prints from southern Vermont: Grazing horse in a spring pasture, a summer sunset on the river, vibrant fall foliage, and an old barn on a wintry day. You need not have visited the Green Mountain State to enjoy and appreciate the classic rural American beauty captured in these images. These unique, tastefully designed, 4 1/2″ x 6 1/4″ (11.43 cm x 15.875 cm) professionally printed note cards are printed on front and back sides and blank on the inside. Spill-proof coating; individually packaged with envelopes.

Photographed and designed by Stephen Tavella.

Perfect for all occasions – holidays, thank you’s, invitations, or a thoughtful note to family or friends – and as a gift!

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Click on thumbnail images below to see the featured photos magnified

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Pack of 6 cards (with envelopes): $11 + $3 postage

Total Price: $14

Place your order by Paypal or Credit Card by clicking

ORDER NOW

ALL ONLINE FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS USE SECURE PAYPAL AND CREDIT CARD PROCESSING

(Note: Unfortunately, I am only able to ship to U.S. destinations at this time)


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All Content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella