michigan

Summer Vacation

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.


Jubilee

The Hot Air Jubilee is one of Jackson’s big annual events. Photos of hot air balloons are all over the Chamber of Commerce’s promotional materials, and for good reason: thousands of people head to Ella Sharp Park each July to watch the liftoffs.

For me, it never gets old. There’s magic in these giant sacks of hot air slowly inflating, and then leaving the ground, heading to Oz – or the outskirts of the county. It’s not just the balloons, either. The Hot Air Jubilee is like a small county fair, with junk food and rides and games of chance.

Tons of local photographers fight for the chance to get inside the launch grounds. I’ve been there, but it’s just as fun to sit on the sidelines and watch the show as a spectator.

These Never Never Land moments are rare, indeed.


In Conversation

Steve Berkemeier

This is what I miss about portrait projects.

The conversation, the sharing of experience, the laughing and joking around. Remembering local history. Swapping stories. Sharing a complete and consuming love of music.

Last time, it was about art and creativity, about the Jackson market and the struggles of being a small-city artist.

This time, it’s a lot of same, except you swap paint brushes and cameras for guitars and microphones.

It’s good to be back.

[Help the Musicians In Jackson project on Kickstarter!]


Let’s Do This: Musicians In Jackson on Kickstarter

Away we go.

I’m launching my new community portrait project, Musicians In Jackson, on Kickstarter today.

A week ago, I kicked off the project at my studio open house. But this project has been in the works for almost a year now. I’ve thought and thought about it for so long, and now it’s a real thing in the world that I’m working on.

It involves capturing local Jackson, Michigan musicians on black and white medium format film through the summer. I’ll capture our conversations, make portraits, and share the creative love in my hometown.

Why Kickstarter? There are film costs, and the studio space to rent, and photographic prints to produce. It’s also a way to preorder prints or the book when it’s released this holiday season. Really, it’s a way to support creative endeavors like these community portrait projects.

I’d appreciate it if you could help me spread the word, and make a pledge before July 16 on Kickstarter. I also hope you’ll join me for the ride.


Studio Open House

Tomorrow night I’m hosting a studio open house in downtown Jackson.

It’s partly to kick off my next portrait project, partly to test out the new space, and partly as a big “thank you” to folks around town who have supported my projects. Plus I have a few people whose portrait I’ve wanted to make for a while now. So, bonus.

Details at my Musicians In Jackson page. Hope to see you there.