With the publication of its 2015 edition last week, the Portland Water District’s “Images of Sebago Lake” calendar is now 10 years old.

Since the publication of the 2006 calendar, hundreds of amateur photographers from 16 states have submitted more than 1,500 photos for publication. Every year, the water district distributes 1,200 of the calendars to year-round and seasonal residents, as well as its business partners and staff members.

The district has seen steady growth in submissions during the past decade. For the first calendar, 33 photographers submitted 34 photos, according to water district spokeswoman Michelle Clements. The number of photographers submitting photos peaked at 92 for the 2013 calendar, while the number of submissions peaked at 284 for the 2014 calendar.

This year, 61 photographers submitted 222 photos for the 2015 calendar. The district selected 26 photographs shot by 20 photographers to place in the calendar.

“The calendar is really a great way to connect people with their source of water,” said Michelle Clements, district spokeswoman. “It really creates that stewardship, that caring of the lake.”

Lynne Richard, the district’s former education coordinator, established the calendar. Richard, who now works for the Lake Auburn Watershed Protection Commission in Auburn, said she conceived the calendar as an outreach tool that could simultaneously celebrate Sebago Lake and local photographers.

“If you look at Sebago Lake every single day you just see all that beauty,” Richard said. “I knew from talking to people around the lake that they were very passionate about it. And there are quite a few pretty terrific photographers in the area, so it just seemed like a nice meeting of great minds.”

Since the Richard, who left the district in 2012, said the photographers have taken on the calendar as their own.

“You would hear from the same photographers every year,” she said. “I think the photographers feel a sense of ownership, as well.”

Linda Panzera, of Sebago, has appeared in the calendar nearly every year since its inception, with her photographs appearing on the front cover three times. Panzera said she feels honored to have been featured in the calendar so many times.

“It’s just so special to see everybody else’s pictures in here and the different aspects of photography as well as seeing different parts of the lake in all different seasons,” Panzera said. “Sebago changes daily, almost hourly, or minute by minute. You look out and you go, ‘Oh my God, look how beautiful it is.”

This year, Panzera’s photo of a common merganser family is featured as the main photo for July. Panzera took the shot – which features a mother merganser and her eight chicks – with a Nikon D700 while she was kayaking near Third Breach, in the northwest corner of Sebago Lake in July 2012.

“All of a sudden there’s mom merganser and babies right in front of me,” Panzera recalled. “They came out from behind some rocks. I was a little surprised.”

In 2000, Panzera, then a resident of Framingham, Mass., purchased a home on Anderson Road in Sebago. In 2008, she moved full time to the lakeside road, which is also home to photographers Rich Antinarelli and Claudia Lowe, both of whom were featured in this year’s calendar. Panzera, Antinarelli and Lowe, who are all friends, each approach the lake from unique perspectives, Panzera said.

“We all have a different view,” she said.

For Antinarelli, this will be his seventh consecutive year appearing in the calendar. He has three photos featured in the calendar this year.

This year’s May photo was captured by Antinarelli in May as he was fishing for salmon in his boat near Thompson Point. When he saw an adult bald eagle peck a landlocked salmon out of the water about 150 feet away, Antinarelli reached for his Canon digital camera, and snapped a photo of the bird taking off, salmon in claw.

“I missed the initial grab of the fish because I was trying to get the camera, take the cap off and everything, set it up,” he said. “I was fortunate I was able to capture this.”

Antinarelli’s picture of a female common merganser is also featured as the inset for the April page, while his fall shot taken from his North Sebago dock is featured on the calendar’s inside back page.

For Antinarelli, it is clear that the quality of the images in the calendar has improved since he started sending in submissions.

“I’ve seen a great improvement in the pictures over the years,” Antinarelli said. “It just lets people know about the lake, what it looks like. There are some beautiful pictures in there.”

For Claudia Lowe, a 20-year resident of Anderson Road, 2015 will be her second year featured in the calendar. Lowe took this year’s featured photograph – the February main page – in January 2014 with a Canon EOS 6D at the beach in front of her home. The photo shows an accumulation of shard-like ice sheets accumulated on a beach, with Sebago Lake State Park and Outer Island in the background.

“It’ll do a thin layer of ice at night and then when the wind picks up during the day or there’s any activity and the lake starts to move it will break up,” Lowe said. “What happens is it starts to ripple the lake and then it breaks that ice up into little pieces and then the wind pushes the ice up onto the shore, and you can hear it coming up the lake. You can hear all the ‘tinkle, tinkle, tinkle’ as it piles up. It’s really quite fascinating.”

Before moving to Sebago from Massachusetts two decades ago, Lowe fell in love with Sebago Lake while visiting her parent’s camp in Raymond.

“The lake imprints on you,” Lowe said. “You have to come back to it.”

Panzera said she does not envy the district employees who choose which submissions to feature annually.

“I have to give so much credit to all the photographers as well as the women and men at Portland Water District that have taken the time to go through all the pictures that have been submitted every year and choose,” Panzera said. “It’s got to be difficult.”

Through the years, Richard said, the calendar has become a prized possession among Lakes Region residents.

“I think it became almost competitive for people to come in and get copies,” Richard said. “People would start calling in early summer saying, ‘Don’t forget to save a calendar for me.’ ”

Linda Panzera’s photo of a common merganser family is featured as the main photo for July. Panzera took the shot with a Nikon D700 while she was kayaking near Third Breach, in the northwest corner of Sebago Lake in July 2012.Claudia Lowe took the photograph featured on the February calendar page at the beach in front of her home. The photo shows an accumulation of shard-like ice sheets accumulated on a beach in Sebago, with Sebago Lake State Park and Outer Island in the background.


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