We wait all winter for days like this: sunny, decently warm, fresh breeze blowing.
In our new neighborhood, we’re surrounded by parks and playgrounds. Sparks Park – kind of Jackson’s own Central Park – is a block or two away, and we have several schools in the street next to ours, lousy with playground equipment. Our old neighborhood was very walkable, but it’s nice being so close to all this fun.
Now, when we go on walks around the neighborhood, the kids beg to go to one of the playgrounds. I have a feeling we’ll spend a lot of time here.
And that’s great. For today, we’re just happy to be outside.
Back on New Year’s Day, I came down with something terrible: fever, chills, aches, and an all-encompassing drowsiness. It was so bad I had to cancel holidays plans with my family.
By day three, I was going stir-crazy, so the boy and I headed outside during an unseasonably warm January day to get some fresh air. It had to help, even a little, to take a walk around the neighborhood.
We walked our usual path down by the lake, and through the neighborhood trails – to the giant pile of concrete rubble that sits on the farm property just outside the residential zone.
The walk didn’t end up helping all that much, long-term, but to my feverish head and aching lungs, breathing that foggy Midwestern air provided a much-needed break.
Michigan Avenue has been recognized for its significance as a Historic Heritage Route. Given the fact that it’s persisted so long and been so essential to the state, it seems more than fitting to refer to this road, which spans the entire east-west length of the state, as Michigan Avenue.
After thinking about my favorite type of camera – small, single lens, 35-45mm range – I loaded a roll of Agfa Vista 400 and hit the streets for a just-starting-to-feel-like-spring afternoon in Ann Arbor.
From loading to dropping film off at the camera store took less than an hour. I had 24-ish chances to capture something walking around an unfamiliar neighborhood. And I had 40mm to express what I saw, with a rangefinder focusing mechanism to express it.
I also had a serious limitation: the bright, sunny afternoon was killer when the Canonet’s highest shutter speed was 1/500. That, combined with a 400 ISO film speed, meant having to pull the ISO down a bit, or else the camera refused to take a photo. Chalk it up to one big learning experience.
The point is, I took the Canonet for a spin, and blew through a 24 exposure roll of film. That old saying about potato chips, that you can’t eat just one? Same rule applied to that roll of Agfa Vista. It was easy to just keep visually snacking.
The Artist-in-Residence Program is open to artists and artisans whose work can be influenced by the unique northern wilderness setting of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s largest state park encompasses 25 miles of wave-washed shores, four inland lakes, entire river systems, countless waterfalls, enchanting wooded peaks, and an escarpment, which rises slowly from the edge of Lake Superior until it plummets abruptly into the Carp River valley.
The Artist-in-Residence Program offers writers, composers and all visual and performing artists an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the park and to express it through their art form. Each year a number of artists will be selected for residencies lasting a minimum of two weeks.
Again: if I were a younger man, and photography was a hobby, I would jump at this.
Back in 2011, I visited Michigan’s only mountain range during a drive-through trip in the Upper Peninsula. It’s beautiful country. A two-week stay to do nothing but explore and make art? It would’ve been a dream for my younger self.