When Pennsylvania pro, workshop leader, and Master Landscape Instructor, James Moore and I first began discussing a fall workshop in the UP, what showed through to him was my enthusiasm for the variety of photographic subjects and composition. After spending a week driving the Hiawatha National Forest and the Lake Superior shoreline, I think Jim is in full agreement. Typical fall photography venues, like New England (in my view the number one spot for Fall Foliage photography), the Smokies, and even the western states offer dramatic landscape, colorful, foliage, and often a variety of wildlife. But other than perhaps Maine’s ocean coasts, none offers the variety we saw in Munising, including forests, waterfalls, sandstone formations, lakes and perhaps most unique of all, the shoreline of Lake Superior.
If you have ever planned a foliage-oriented trip, you know it is always a lottery whether you will hit peak foliage and the weather conditions will cooperate. What I was able to assure Jim was that no matter what happened with those variables we would find something worthy of shooting for the serious landscape photographer. As you can see from the images here, the foliage, in some cases, enhances the image, but is not a critical element.
It is always a lottery whether you will hit peak foliage and weather conditions
During the short time we were in Munising, it was simply not possible to cover all the potential photographic opportunities. Because colors in the forest were particularly good this year, we concentrated more there than along the shoreline. But the shoreline offers some dramatic photographs, from Marquette all the way east, to Sault Ste. Marie, on the east coast of the UP. From Munising to Grand Marais, The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore holds colorful rock formations, arches, and waterfalls tumbling (and sometimes trickling) into Lake Superior. There are three picturesque lighthouses (one which can only be seen by boat) along the shoreline. Near one of the lights, the Sable Point Lighthouse, there is a sandstone reef extending a mile out into the lake which was the end of many lumbering and mining ships before the advent of modern navigation and shipwreck timbers can be photographed along the shoreline near the lighthouse. Time constraints kept the group from our planned trip up to the lighthouse this time.
We did start our several of our days out on the Lake Superior beach and spent one sunset there. While on the beach, we concentrated on the pre-dawn twilight and looked for dramatic skies. We also looked for spots where the dune grasses could act as a foreground element and frame photographs. The image of the beach near Christmas, Michigan (just west of Munising), combined these elements, giving all but the dramatic lighting we so often seek for these images. Mineral deposits and seepage of mineral-laden water through the layers of sandstone give the stone its characteristic streaked colors and the bottom the turquoise blue seen reflected up through much of the waters.
My week in Munising will be among my more memorable photographic trips. While there, I had the privilege to meet some folks I had either “known” from the internet, or admired from afar over the years. While shooting at Council Lake one morning, I ran into and had a nice chat with well-known pro’s John and Barbara Gerlach. I have several of their books on my photography shelf. We spent about an hour shooting in the same vicinity as their group. I was struck by the fact that neither John nor Barbara were carrying cameras. Instead, they were being attentive to their paying customers, answering questions, giving advice when appropriate and generally being “good hosts.” Seems like a sure formula for a successful outing to me, and I would enthusiastically endorse and recommend their outings based on what I saw.
I also met Wisconsin pro and fellow Nature Photographers.net member, Nick Bristol and had a nice chance to chat with him. I know he has since spent some time reading here, so Nick, it was nice to meet you and to chat.
My week in Munising will be among my more memorable photographic trips
We met a pro from Minnesota who leads tours on the North Shore and who we will likely contact the next time we travel there, and a local guide and kayak outfitter who specializes in photo tours right there in Munising. All in all, a very enjoyable and profitable trip.
Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL | Tagged: Andy Richards, color, fall, fall color, Fall Foliage, foliage, Light, LightCentric Photography, Michigan, National Park, National Parks, PHOTOGRAPHY, reflections, tripod, U.P. |