My good friend, Al Utzig, often remarks on “S” – curving roads being one of his favorite compositional elements. So I will dedicate this blog to Al. In prior years, I have noted nice curving road compositional opportunities, but normally see them when en route to a destination. This trip, I decided to “stop and smell the roses” (or maybe better, stop and shoot the curves), and specifically sought out a number of shots of forest roads, often with a canopy of foliage.
Last week, I blogged about getting of the “beaten track” (i.e., the paved roads), and following some of the dirt roads that are still designated as roads throughout the Hiawatha National Forest, in order to find some great fall foliage photo opportunities. Next week, I’ll illustrate some of the isolated foliage shots I found while driving these “back roads.” The opening shot here of the road to “The Logslide” on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, is clearly not off the beaten track. But its multiple curves intrigued me – enough so that after going to the destination it took me to, and shooting that destination, I back-tracked and walked the shoulder until I found a pleasing composition. While perhaps not many that have this “squiggly” curving thing going on, there are myriad opportunities to find curving road shots in the UP, especially on the National Forest Roads.
Another shot that grabbed my interest was this shot of the National Forest Road that accesses the Pete’s Lake campground I illustrated last week. Jim Moore, the workshop leader, took off exploring one afternoon during the week on his own and drove this road until it ended at a gravel NF road. He found several nice color compositions along the road and encouraged me to drive it to look for some of them and for research for my “in-the-works” “Photographing the UP” eBook. Friday morning, flying solo (the workshop participants had all left either Thursday night or early Friday a.m., leaving me to my own devices), I drove the length of the road in the pre-dawn, turned around and started working my way back. Some time during the morning, the sun struggled through the clouds and I discovered this classic “S” curve shot (my personal favorite of this group of images) of National Forest Road 2173.
But one of the goals was to try to find a road with a full foliage canopy overhanging. In order to do that, you have to drive some of the back roads that are less “maintained.” These images were taken on Red Jack Lake Road. While not technically “S” shaped, the road still has a nice curves off into the horizon. The leaf drop along the shoulders and the filtered sunlight made for nice, albeit mid-morning, lighting.
The last image will give some viewers discomfort. I have occasionally heard the comment that elements that lead a viewer’s eye from the right side of the image to the left are discomfiting because we read, and therefore tend to view images from left to right. Hmmnn. Not all cultures read and write from left to right; do they? 🙂 From an artistic viewpoint, I don’t buy the suggestion. I look for balance in composition and I don’t feel any discomfort from this image. I do have a number of friends who will take some discomfort, however, at such a severe left turn. But that’s politics. 🙂 My photographic view is “ambidextrous,” seeking only what looks good to me.
Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL | Tagged: Andy Richards, color, fall, fall color, Fall Foliage, foliage, Light, LightCentric Photography, Michigan, National Park, National Parks, PHOTOGRAPHY, travel, U.P. |