CHESHIRE — You may not know her name, but it’s likely you’ve seen her work. Angela Pontecorvo has posted her photographs of Cheshire wildlife and scenery on the community Facebook forum, each week, for a number of years.
Originally from England, photography allowed Pontecorvo to acclimate to her new country.
“When I came here 27 years ago, it was a cultural change for me. I am such a nature lover, that it really is a whole new environment. I’d never seen a cardinal before. I’d never seen a blue jay before, and I certainly never saw a hummingbird before,” she said, adding, “I am just absolutely in my element of all the new things to me. Everything is so photogenic.”
Pontecorvo finds beauty in Cheshire throughout the seasons. She has posted stunning pink sunsets at Broad Brook reservoir, a streamlined blue heron in late fall flying over Mixville Pond, and an iconic Christmas holiday scene of the Victorian Inn dressed in winter white.
Pontecorvo also captured a close-up photo of a bobcat in August in her backyard.
“It was a really big surprise to see this visiting bobcat climbing a tree right next to me to get a better vantage point of my bird area,” she wrote alongside the picture.
A self-taught photographer, Pontecorvo has a degree in display and exhibition design, and worked as a window dresser; first in England on High Street, and then with a thirst for travel, she worked for cruise lines, like the QEII, where she decorated the shop windows in the ship’s high-end galleries. Pontecorvo still creates window displays in Cheshire.
“I really do love New England. It’s so beautiful. Everyone says to me, ‘England must be so beautiful.’ It is, but it is so beautiful here, too,” she said.
As to the nice response she gets from online forums, Pontecorvo said, “When somebody says to you, ‘I look forward to your photos,’ then I feel compelled to find that shot of the week. I basically plan my week around it.”
While photography is a hobby, Pontecorvo also does commission work. She uses an SLR camera, a Nikon D7200. Though she does both color and black and white shoots, her love is black and white photography. The contrast brings out the detail, it gives more emotion, she said. “That’s another thing with photography. If it’s a puffy white cloud day, I have to go out, because those puffy white clouds make the best pictures.”
Among her favorite subjects to photograph are birds. In England, Pontecorvo cites her sister’s skill at training robins to eat off her hand. “The English robin is the most incredible thing,” she said. Pontecorvo lists a few more favorites. “I love Drazen Orchards,” she said. “I’ve actually been there in January and there’s still golden delicious apples on the tree, and the white snow, and with the red barn. It’s unbelievable.”
Another scene Pontecorvo loves to capture is the alpaca farm on Talmadge Road with the Christmas trees in the foreground. The light is special in the fall, she said, with contrasting colors of orange, magenta, deep burgundy. “I’m asking myself, does anyone else see this? It’s one of those things where you have to stop and look. These are some of the most vibrant colors,” she said.
That special light quality is something she also has found at Mixville. “Going there at sunrise, you get the sunbeams and I love when you get those big, puffy clouds and you get that reflection on the water,” Pontecorvo said.
Cheshire Community Gardens in Bartlem Park is what Pontecorvo calls “her sanctuary.” She is a long-time friend with one of the gardeners and has taken bluebird photos there. She also includes the small pond on Country Club Road and Half Moon Stables as regular shooting locations. She likes to photograph the pond at Country Club, especially in winter when it’s snow-covered. Catching sight of the small heron while there is a bonus.
At Half Moon Stables, Pontecorvo captures the jewel tones of fall from the ridgeline trees. There’s a small pond and open land where you get the best sunrises and the best sunsets, she said. “I am up for sunrise and I always have to capture sunsets.”