Ann Arbor, Michigan
This was it – the last big adventure of the summer, saved until the end.
The trick was lining up our northern Michigan vacation with the grandparents’ schedules. One pair in Mackinaw City for a few days, and the other in Petoskey for the second half. Help with adventures, babysitting, and overnights. With three kids, taking one to spend time with the grandparents relieves a bit of the strain.
Not that this was stressful. No, northern Michigan moves at a vacation pace. Water, and sky, and enough green and blue to make both of our major state university fans happy.
(It’s Go Blue season, just to be clear.)
This close to Lake Michigan, and this close to all those forests – it’s a proper goodbye to nice weather, and water, and wilderness for a while. We even said goodbye to the trout sunning themselves at an honest-to-goodness fish hatchery, complete with a bald eagle waiting, and watching, in the canopy above.
It’s what’s so great about living in our state. A few hours in every direction and you’re next to a giant freshwater lake and enough nature to forget that it’ll all be buried in snow and ice in a few months.
This kind of thing just hasn’t happened in Jackson. Not historically.
This is the (or a) birthplace of the Republican Party, after all. Once fairly progressive, now very conservative. We’re a blue collar town – a small city whose claim to fame is a prison.
So when Jackson’s LGBTQ community scheduled the city’s first pride parade, I had to be there, camera in hand. And I brought my entire family.
The parade turnout was small, but the celebration was big. Flags, costumes, fun t-shirts – it had it all.
The parade had pride.
Am I just living in the space between
The beauty and the pain?
Just when I thought there’s no way The War on Drugs could top their last album, along comes this wash of reverb, guitar, and emotion in “Strangest Thing.”
Starting at 2:40, the synths kick in, and the guitar part takes the lead – I got goosebumps. I closed my eyes, and I felt.
Some might think 6:41 is too long for a song. Me? It’s not long enough for this one.
August in Michigan means hot days, cooler mornings, and a slow dive into autumn.
For me, it’s always the seasonal transitions that are the most fun to photograph. Summer is nice, sure, but the end of summer always holds something special.
Same for when spring (my favorite) comes, and the fog rolls in as the snow melts. Or when winter starts frosting the yet-to-fall leaves.
This time of year is always hard for me emotionally, for some reason. I don’t know if it’s because Winter Is Coming™, or the days are shortening, or what. But I get to feeling down. The last few years, I’ve tried to work my way out of the funk with a few photo projects and writing more.
For this season, I hope to do the same.
Shot on expired Kodak Max 400 film.
We all knew, years in advance, that this day was coming. Our attention spans are short, so we only really started preparing – with the glasses and the filters and our lunch plans – earlier this summer.
So we took the kids, the grandparents, our fellow students, our co-workers, and we all went outside for a bit this afternoon. Novelty glasses in hand, we looked up, and we saw our sky change.
We watched young and old, rich and poor, conservative and liberal, natural born and immigrant go out into the fading sunlight and watch and wonder. See how the light changes? See how the shadows shift their shape? See that funny cardboard contraption the astronomy students are wearing on their heads?
See how everyone, regardless of background, came outside and shared an experience?
Astronomers have our solar system down pat. They know where the sun and moon and Earth will be in relation to each other from now until Rapture. Barring an unexpected astroid, the future is predictable, thanks to models and observation.
We Americans think we know better. Sure, we show up at an appointed time expecting a celestial show. But when it does happen, we don’t think that makes the scientific method any more reliable. We question and we “fake news” everything, still, even when the heavens dance around us, as predicted.
We rarely get the larger message – in plain view there in the sky, in front of our own filtered eyes – just as we rarely think about eclipses a decade down the road.
We don’t have to “believe” in the eclipse; it happens with or without us. We don’t get that message, either.
Great bit from Peter Dareth Evans:
Point being, don’t just leave it to photographers and film-makers – you can find inspiration anywhere. The more you take from that well of inspiration, the more you shoot what pleases and moves you in that odd little way, then the more your work begins to acquire a character and coherency of its own.
Absorb and adapt. Keep reading, keep looking, keep making it your own.
Lake Michigan coast, Michigan’s upper peninsula