December 30, 2010

A man of the mountains

Dave Smith will educate Londonderry residents on the history of the
White Mountains and also offer hints on taking nature photographs. COURTESY PHOTO
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- As a child, Hudson resident Dave Smith and his family camped in New Hampshire’s White Mountains each summer. Now he returns there several times each month to take photographs that memories are made of.
“I’m up there for all kinds of seasons; I even spend some nights there in the winter,” the Hudson resident said this week. “That’s how you capture the best sunsets.”
Smith will visit Londonderry’s Leach Library on Jan. 13 to offer his free presentation, “Seasons of the
 White Mountains,” to interested residents.
“I started taking pictures when I was little using my dad’s old camera,” Smith recalled.
After serving a one-year tour in Vietnam, Smith was stationed in Oklahoma in the early 1970s, where he worked in the Army’s photography department and eventually earned his photography certification.
 Having recently retired from his security administration position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology after 35 years of service, Smith specializes in digital photography of the White Mountains and New Hampshire wildlife. 

A native of Lowell, Mass., Smith moved to the Granite State in 1976 and has lived in Hudson for over two decades. 
About six years ago, he began giving informative presentations on the region through the Appalachian Mountain Club in Glen and in the areas surrounding Crawford Notch, using his photography to take audiences on a visual journey along the trails, brooks and of the White Mountains throughout the seasons. 
At the suggestion of a likeminded friend, he soon added an oral history piece to his presentations, including tales of the Native Americans and colonial settlers that once dwelled in the region. 
Though his references are many, Smith said the works of historian John Mudge, author of “Legends and People of the White Mountains,” are among his favorites. 
Last fall, Smith began taking his presentation closer to home, giving chats for the Nashua and Hudson historical societies and public libraries. 
His appearances caught on quickly with locals. Smith said he soon noticed many “frequent fliers” seated in his audiences — familiar faces from previous shows. 
“Word gets around, I guess,” he said with a chuckle, noting that rather than simply lecture on a podium, he prefers to interact with his audiences, even offering a few pointers for budding nature photographers. 
When he visits the Leach Library later this month, Smith said local audiences can expect a 40-minute interactive lecture on the region’s history, including dates, events and stories of such personalities as Darby Field (1610-1649), the first European to climb Mount Washington; Mount Chocorua’s namesake native American; and the Willey family, who lived at Crawford Notch in the early 1800s and lost their lives during a rock-slide in August 1926. Today, Mount Willey, located on the notch’s west side, is named in the family’s memory. 
Smith’s presentation, “Seasons of the White Mountains,” will take place at the library on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held in the library’s lower-level meeting room. Light refreshments will be served. 

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