When photographer Jim Westphalen heads out, he never knows what he's going to find, but he knows it's going to beautiful.
From secret spots to magnificent vistas, his pictures showcase the beauty of Vermont year round. And for the past ten years his photos have graced the pages of Vermont Life calendars.
"They're buying a Vermont Life calendar because they want to see Vermont," said the magazine's Mary Hegarty Nowlan.
Vermont Life started in 1946 as a way to promote the state. To make more money Vermont Life started creating calendars featuring only local photographers like Wesphalen. Now 50 years later the calendar business is still going strong, selling 50,000 in 2012. Officials said magazine sales are big part of the Vermont Life business, accounting for a quarter of total revenue.
"Visually I think it still speaks to people -- still there's something primordial of seeing it on the wall and people love to see images of Vermont, there's no way of getting around it," Hegarty Nowlan said.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Is it hard to pick only 12 pictures?
Mary Hegarty Nowlan: It's impossible.
Luckily Vermont Life has eight calendars to choose from. From the standard scenic wall calendar to engagement books and weather calendars. And Vermont Life is always looking to bring it's iconic images to more people -- recently partnering with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.
The process starts in September when the company solicits photos from local photographers. Hegarty Nowlan said customers like a certain look, preferring vistas that really reveal Vermont -- over close-ups. "If you have the same photographer doing everything the calendar would seem very boring," she said.
Thousands of pictures are submitted and it matters when they are taken. Photos that land on the January page have to be taken in January. "We go through and select images that are the most stunning or different or have an edge to them that makes them more interesting to look like than a regular snap shot," Hegarty Nowlan said.
Not much photo editing is done, to keep the pictures as natural as possible. And by the Fourth of July, calendars are printed and on store shelves.
Vermont's beauty captured by Vermont photographers for all to see in Made in Vermont calendars.
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