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]

People; People Everywhere

Bruges, Belgium
{Copyright 2019 Andy Richards}

I know. Its a song (by Brother Love). But the thought often comes to mind these days, when we are traveling the world. Probably because we don’t often go to “out-of-the-way” places. We go to known attractions. And world tourism – at least before the pandemic – was at an all-time high. In fact, some of the most sought after destinations (like Venice and Santorini) are (or were) actively seeking ways to limit tourism on their islands. Understandably. Cruise ships and masses of people are taxing the infrastructures and the shear beauty of places like this. I have read, anecdotally, that the canals of Venice have actually cleared up, with the lack of visitors during the pandemic. It is a bit of a dilemma for me. I see places and I want to go there and photograph. And as such, I am perhaps adding to the problem.

There are some places that are still crowded, but perhaps less so. One of them seemed to be Bruges, Belgium when we were there, although my shot of the tourboat might suggest otherwise 🙂 . After visiting busy places like Paris, London, Dublin and Amsterdam, it was a nice change to wonder the comparatively quiet streets of Bruges, and to sample some local beer, chocolate and wines.

Looking for a Lifeboat

Lifeboat aboard Princess Cruise Ship
Copyright Andy Richards 2013

I

t seems like ages ago, but this was taken on the lifeboat deck of our first ever Mediterranean Cruise, aboard a Princess Cruise Ship. As I post this, I have just learned (not surprisingly) that our scheduled, “Canary Islands” cruise has been cancelled. Disappointed, but certainly not shocked, I cannot wait until things get back to some semblance of “normal” and we are able to travel again. In the meantime, I will have the memories through photographs.

Threesome

Birches
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.