Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Up North

The plan was to spend a long weekend in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. I have to admit it started out good.

After a late start Friday, I took my time getting to Empire. I needed to stop at the park office to get a new pass. Of course I arrived after the office had closed. Making note of the office hours, I started scouting places to photograph. I had an some idea of locations, since I had visited the area before. Trying to get to some places I had noted on the map, I immediately ran into a problem. Several roads were still closed due to snow. Pretty much any place that was sheltered from the sun still had piles of snow present. There was also ice still in the lake, though not much. By that time, the sun was starting to set and probably the best light I've seen this year started showing up. The kind of light you wanted to bottle up and take with you to use later. A warm golden light that made me want to sell my house and move to Traverse City. I started kicking myself because I hadn't arrived earlier and staked out a place to photograph.

The next morning, after stopping at the office and picking up my pass, I started looking at a few more locations. After climbing up and down bluffs and walking the beaches, I came to a belated realization. As beautiful as the area is, aside from a few specific areas, it's not what I'm looking for photographically. A long stretch of beach, while relaxing, doesn't have much interest or dynamic tension for a photograph. I'm going to have to go back to look at the areas that were blocked to me, and there are several streams that I want to walk up a ways also. But I don't think I'm going to get the grand landscape vista that I'm looking for.

After a long morning and early afternoon in the park, I spent some time in Traverse City. The college museum has a display of portrait Polaroids done by Andy Warhol that was somewhat interesting.

My plans to go back to the park Sunday morning was rudely interrupted. I woke up to 6 inches of wet snow with more promised for the day. While I had prepared for a light snow, that was more than I wanted to deal with, so I beat a strategic withdrawal.

On the way home, I thought about what to do next. Sleeping Bear still has some attraction to me, but I think I'm going to start looking at some lakeshore areas on the east side of the state. I'm going to start researching areas and see if I can find something a little more interesting.

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