“F8 and be there”— it’s a phrase used by photographers. Be at the right place, at the right time, with your camera in hand. F8 is a setting on the camera that refers to an aperture setting on the lens. But, it’s the “being there” that counts. I have been trying to capture a Grand Haven sunset since I moved to the area almost 10 years ago. The problem is that I live 10 miles inland, which makes the trek to the beach too long when inspiration strikes.
Traverse City outdoorsman Mike Norton is glad that the rest of the country considers the Sleeping Bear Dunes the “Most Beautiful Place in America” – but he thinks they’d love it even more if they came in the autumn, or even in winter.
Up here in Traverse City, we like to tell people that we weren’t surprised when more than 100,000 viewers of “Good Morning America” voted for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as the Most Beautiful Place in America.
“Of course,” we say. “We knew it all the time.”
But the truth is, we were surprised. It’s not that we don’t love Sleeping Bear ourselves – we really do – but it came as a shock that so many other people love it just as passionately, even though most of them don’t know it the way we do.
My childhood memories appear in a place where snow days are chronic, the lakes are Great and November 15 is practically a holiday. I am an authentic Yooper, born and raised in Ishpeming Township and three-quarters Finnish. I am proud to be from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, so much so that my slips back into the native dialect simply remind me that I am a transplant in Chicagoland. I write now, days before a trip home, in anxious anticipation. This Yooper is going camping and I am ready for a reset.