MICHIGAN U.P. ebook CORRECTION: Whitefish Falls Directions

Whitefish Falls
Trenary, Michigan
[Copyright Andy Richards 2019]
I have spent much of my adult life writing. Clarity has always been important, and a primary goal. But I am also human. So I am prone to errors from time to time. 🙂 Here is the first (others there are undoubtedly others) correction to the Photographing the U.P. book. I don’t know of any other way to do this other than to publish a new edition (that is probably some years away). So hopefully, this will circulate enough.

my directions in the book were not only partially incorrect, but perhaps even hopelessly confusing

On my October, 2018, trip to the Michigan U.P. in October, I stayed in Escanaba. Escanaba is very close to Rapid River, and to a waterfall on the West Branch of the Whitefish River, known as Whitefish Falls. Being close by, I wanted to check in for any changes, and maybe make some new images. So, one afternoon as I returned to Escanaba, I went looking for this site. As I think we noted in the book, this is a somewhat elusive spot to find. It turns out it was more difficult then than it is now. And my directions in the book were not only partially incorrect, but perhaps even hopelessly confusing.

Updated Directions:  The trailhead to these waterfalls is on an unmarked/un-named (it is not “River Road”) road off of US 41, just north of the intersection of 41 and MI-67.  The directions in the book say that this road is “River Road.”  It is not River Road.  It is the next unmarked/unamed road just north of Diffin Road, to the west.  The road forms a loop and exits back onto 41.

When I visited these falls back in 2007, there were no markings or any parking area for the falls. There was a wide spot and you kind of had to find it by sound and “feel.” Sometime since then, an area has been cleared, with picnic table and firepit and parking for 3-4 vehicles. There are now 2 trails down to the river, one at this new area, and the old one, just south of it. Overall, once you find the unnamed road, the falls are much easier to find.

Whitefish Falls
Trenary, MI
[Copyright Andy Richards 2007]
We had a lot of rain in the fall of 2018, and the water was high, with lots of volume. While we often wish for these conditions when shooting waterfalls, here is a case where I think the falls are more photogenic when the water is not so high. As you can see from my 2007 closeup image, compared to the 2018 view, there is a very nice rock formation that defines the lower drop of the falls, that was pretty much obscured this trip. There are actually two drops on this waterfall. Neither of them are much of a vertical drop, but with the always flowing river, they are nonetheless photogenic, definitely still worth the trip to see and photograph them.

Whitefish Falls
Trenary, Michigan
[Copyright Andy Richards 2018]


Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan U.P.
[Copyright Andy Richards 2012]
On one of my many trips up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (“The U.P.”), a mentor challenged me to look for something more close up and intimate, as opposed to the “grand landscape” we were seeking. He offhandedly suggested, for example, a birch clump.

There is actually a White Birch Forest, several miles from where we were working that day. I was constrained to the area, because I was “on call,” and was guiding a “workshop” being conducted by the mentor.

My buddy and I wandered somewhat aimlessly in an area where it seemed like something like this might be found. And find it we did. While not setting any worlds on fire artistically, this has become one of my favorite fall images.

A Photographic “Happy Place”

Old Red Mill
Jericho, VT
Copyright Andy Richards 2005

Vermont has always been my photographic “happy place.” In 2005, I made my first dedicated photographic trip back (having lived there for several years in my youth). While there in the late 70’s, I met my first photgraphic mentor and inspiration.

He recently posted an image of this Mill on his FB Page, and it stimulated me to go back and re-work this one. Modern versions of Photoshop ACR and NIK Viveza 2 helped me immensely on this very difficult to expose image.

The Old Red Mill was was on our 2005 itinerary.

Making it Work

Fall Scene
Saginaw, MI
[Copyright Andy Richards 2018]
During the last two years of my career, we had invested in our Florida Home and spent a lot of time there during the winter months. In fact, my wife essentially became a full time Florida resident during that period. Rambling around in a 2700 square foot, 4 bedroom, 4 bath home by myself didn’t seem right, we we got it ready and sold it, and I found myself living in a small, 2 bedroom apartment for a couple years.

The Apartment was adjacent to our Township Soccer Complex, which had a nice waking/running track around it and became a twice daily routine for me. I often visualized the part of the track adjacent to the main road, bordered by a white “picket” fence, as a possible image. One sunny fall afternoon, I took my camera out with me and made a few shots. They just weren’t what I had visualized. But the light, colors and shapes were nice.

So, I went to work post-processing, and tried my best oil painter’s version. Hope you like it.

Stay Safe