Former teacher takes walk on the wild side through photography

  • Red Shouldered Hawk TOM McKOAN, Jr.—Courtesy

  • Tom McKoan got a shot of this little tree frog.

  • A blue bird is seen in Florida.

  • Lizard TOM McKOAN, Jr.—Courtesy

  • Limkin TOM McKOAN, Jr.—Courtesy

  • A water moccasin is photographed in Florida.

  • Moorhen TOM McKOAN, Jr.—Courtesy

  • Anole lizard TOM McKOAN, Jr.—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 5/19/2018 6:00:00 PM

Contrary to several posts on Facebook, a former Concord teacher is alive and well and renewing his love of nature photography.

Tom McKoan Jr. taught school in Concord for 28 years, all at the old Rumford School.

During that time, he set up a dark room in a closet where the students could develop and print photographs they took with his camera. At the end of the year, each student received a print they had enlarged.

Since he moved, McKoan says he’s received messages saying some of those former students think he passed away because they don’t see him around town anymore. McKoan wants them to know he’s still alive and well – he just moved to Florida two years after retiring in 2002.

He now lives near a lake and has a short drive to a park where critters abound, but for years, he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to short wildlife photos in his new home. He says he wasn’t a fan of Florida’s heat and humidity.

“I don’t particularly like Florida, so I lost the urge to take pictures. I moved in 2004 and didn’t touch a camera after that,” McKoan said.

But when he got in contact with former Concord Monitor photographer Ken Williams, McKoan got inspired to start taking photos again.

McKoan had long been a fan of Williams’ work at the Monitor, and he even took a clipping of a favorite photo down to Florida with him. Last year, he wrote Williams a letter saying thank you for all the photos.

“He wrote back to me and told me to send him up some pictures I’d taken, so I went out and bought a new camera and started taking pictures again,” McKoan said.

McKoan used his Nikon CoolPix 900 to take photos. With the telephoto lens, he can get close-up shots of dangerous animals, like in one of his favorite photos of a water moccasin snake.

“I really like that one, but when I sent it to some of my friends, they told me to never send me a photo of a snake again,” he said.

McKoan’s renewed love of photography has made Florida a little easier to tolerate.

“The photos give me a reason to be creative again, so that makes it a little more enjoyable to be here,” he said.

Nevertheless, McKoan says he’s “a New Hampshire boy at heart,” and misses his days as a teacher when he took photos of all his students. Now, with no students around, water moccasins and bluebirds will just have to do.

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