On the first of October last year, I took a walk in the Whitehouse Nature Center in Albion, Michigan. It was a beautiful fall day, one that only hinted at the darkness to come. The leaves were just starting to fall, and I wanted to play with the light and see what I could capture.
This what I came up with – edited and processed more than a full year later.
I’m doing this more and more: letting projects sit for a while, and then addressing them months (or a year) later to see what sticks out, creatively. For these leaves, I knew I wanted to let them marinate for a while.
Last weekend we traveled up to Harbor Springs, Michigan—a beautiful little bayside town along the Little Traverse Bay, on Lake Michigan—to visit family for a birthday party. These little weekend vacations are a nice, quick getaway. We need a distraction from selling the house, and who can say “no” to northern Michigan?
The autumn colors were gorgeous, of course, but so was the light coming in from the big living room window. It’s one of my favorite situations to shoot in; we’re lucky enough to have a big window in our living room back home.
But for this weekend, with all the cousins playing together and quiet fall mornings spent sketching or watching the game, we soaked up all the light and seasonal spirit we could.
One of the benefits of living where we live: two orchards five minutes away, out in the southern Michigan countryside.
The seasons come, the rhythm of life beats on, and every year we visit these places to take part in these family rituals. Cider and donuts, apples, fresh produce (squash season!), and picking out pumpkins.
Adams Farm is the closest to our house. It’s less touristy than the other place, farther down the road, and that means less people, less noise, less hornets. This is where we come to grab our pumpkins – a big green field full of orange.
Soon, this place will be a longer drive away. So we soak up all the pastoral goodness we can now, while the season is right.
My family took a short vacation to northern Michigan over the weekend to visit family. On the way back, as I usually do, I made it a point to stop at the little towns along the way and grab a few photographs.
Capturing small towns in Michigan is long, ongoing project of mine. I find the sights of these little communities so fascinating. And it highlights the benefit of getting off the interstate highway system and travel the two-lane highways all across the countryside. It’s on these little side trips that you see the memorable stuff. There’s space, time, and a lack of traffic that makes pulling over easier, too.
Making photos of these small towns is almost an archeological exercise for me. I feel like I need to capture the quirks and personalities of these towns and villages before they disappear. Or in case I never come back.
There’s value in returning to the same places or subjects over and over again. In time, you watch the place change, grow, or deteriorate as your own skills develop.
The Irish Hills of Michigan has become my go-to spot, over and over again, for years now. My fascination with the place comes from childhood: I grew up and around the area, and visited the local amusement parks often. It’s also a gorgeous place, full of rolling hills and secluded lakes, and located along the US-12 corridor west of Detroit.
Lately, I’ve driven US-12 on my work commute, which is much more my style – no freeway, no stop-and-go-traffic, etc. And each day I drive the route, I think, “This is the place I want to focus my creative attention.”
There are plenty of project opportunities in a diversity of settings in the Irish Hills. It already has been my focus for a few years now. But lately, I find that I keep coming back to the place. I did just that this past weekend, revisiting some old haunts and scoping out some new ones.