michigan

Pumpkin Patch

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.


An Archeological Exercise

Pentwater, MI: Old Fashioned Family Vacation

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.

 


At the Break Of Day

At the Break Of Day

What I’ll miss about moving closer to the city? This.

It’s something I’ve learned while we’ve been out house hunting: I need trees, green space, a sense of privacy, nature, birds chirping, and clear seasonal changes.

I need to feel like the woods are only a short walk away. That there’ll be foggy fields on my way into work. That my home will be well shaded by trees.

I need light filtering through branches and boughs.


Return to Irish Hills

Return to Irish Hills

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.


Urbex, (Mostly) Abandoned

Not So Abandoned

I used to have more time to make photos.

My commute was 30 minutes, but if I left early I could stop and take a landscape, or catch a beautiful sunrise. And sometimes, I’d have enough time to explore an abandoned building or home. Beautiful country roads, lovely scenery, and no rush.

Not so much anymore. My commute is now an hour long, at minimum, and it’s mostly interstate driving. This cuts back on the time I have to get out and explore.

One of the casualties of this new setup is my abandoned photography. My commute is longer and busier, I work on a big-time college campus in a mid-sized city, and I just don’t have the time like I used to. It’s a bummer.

Part of me also feels like I’m moving on from urbexing, creatively. I want to do new things, and make different kinds of photographs.

Except when I take a new way into work, like I did last week. Instead of busy I-94 East, I ventured down US-12. It added 20-30 minutes to my drive. It was so worth it. For one, it felt like my old commute: moseying at a nice pace, lots of scenery to check out, and the fog helped make the landscape extra interesting.

For two, I noticed a few abandoned building opportunities (including my old haunts in the Irish Hills) – like this abandoned farm structure.

The itch still gets me when I see an abandoned property. It used to be a big part of who I was, creatively, and I’ve had to let some of that go. But it’s okay. I’ll try to make time for adventure when I have the time and inclination.