What Happens When Six Photographers Meet Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

There’s no question that fall in Pure Michigan is a dream come true for a shutterbug. Today, guest blogger and landscape photographer Aubrieta V. Hope shares the story of six photographers who set off for the Upper Peninsula in search of scenic fall vistas.

Once upon a time, six shooters ventured north to the Tripod Forest, a fabled land of brilliant fall color in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  All were packing:  most brought Nikon’s, but two carried Canons.  They loaded up minivans, SUV’s and 4×4′s, bringing filters and flashlights, bug spray, raingear, ice scrapers, and backpacks.   About half of them planned to find a campsite someplace and the others made hotel reservations.  Some had never met, but were destined to.  A few of them hoped to cross paths up there somewhere.

It was late September and their only plan was to find and follow the color.  Frost was in the forecast.  The time was now.  The 2014 Michigan Fall Foliage Convention had begun!

Their program?  It all depended on the trees, sun, wind, and cloud cover.  Some headed for the western U.P. first, others tracked to central inland areas.  In this rugged and beautiful land, photo opportunities crop up everywhere.  Cell coverage, however, can be scarce, especially in the most remote areas.  So, happenstance and coincidence tend to be the best, if not the only, methods of connection.  That certainly proved to be true for the shooters in our tale:  Neil Weaver, Craig Sterken, John McCormick, Phil Stagg, Ken Keifer, and Aubrieta Hope.

Over the next couple of weeks, with surprising frequency and with almost no planning, these six shooters ran into each other on rocky outcrops, at the end of nearly impassable two-tracks, in parking lots, and other likely and unlikely places.  They shared location tips, stories of shots taken and shots missed, and bucket lists of dreams on the front burner. There was no conference schedule.  Everyone had their own agenda. But there was plenty of camaraderie and inspiration. And, there were rescues, for example when Aubrieta fractured her ankle on a trail and was glad to be shooting with others at the time.

Outdoor photography is an unpredictable pursuit.  It’s nice to have friends in the vicinity!  So, maybe this was more of a round-up than a convention, all these creative mavericks meeting on the beaches and overlooks, sharing tripod space and good light, and bagging some great shots.

Here’s a glimpse of some of their adventures:

Craig Sterken at Paradise Point, Christmas, Michigan. Photo by Neil Weaver Photography.

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Sunset, Miners Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Phil Stagg (Michigan Waterfalls)

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Aubrieta Hope at Cloud Peak, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Photo by Michigan Nut Photography.

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Mouth of the Hurricane River at Sunset by Michigan Nut Photography

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Misty Morning at Manido Falls – Porcupine Wilderness State Park by Craig Sterken Photography

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Carp River at Dusk by Neil Weaver Photography

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Photographers at Miners Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Phil Stagg (Michigan Waterfalls)

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Stormy Afternoon at Paradise Point, Christmas, Michigan by Aubrieta V. Hope/Michigan Scenery

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Storming the Castle, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Kenneth Keifer

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Where is your favorite place in Michigan to snap a few photos? 

MI14-0606-0758 Aubrieta V HopeAubrieta V. Hope is a landscape photographer with a special interest in Northwest and Upper Michigan; check out her website. She also highly recommends the following websites for beautiful Michigan/Great Lakes photography:  Neil Weaver Photography, Michigan Nut Photography (featuring John McCormick’s Photography), Craig Sterken Photography, MI Falls (featuring Phil Stagg’s photography) and Kenneth Keifer Photography.    

 

Six Autumn Experiences for a Fall Getaway in the Oscoda Area

Whether you want to enjoy the changing leaves or learn about unique Michigan history, the Oscoda area offers an unforgettable experience. Read more on just six of the many things to check out when visiting Oscoda, via The Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The chance to experience Michigan’s beauty doesn’t end once fall brings about seasonal changes.

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

The lush greens of spring and summer turn to hues of orange, yellow and brown. Sandals, shorts and T-shirts are replaced by walking shoes, jackets and long pants to more comfortably explore Michigan’s natural beauty.

One perfect Michigan destination for day trippers and weekend explorers is the Oscoda area. Located on the east side of the state and on the south side of the Au Sable River in Iosco County, the Oscoda area features some of the state’s signature sites and experiences.

Here are some sites and experiences the Oscoda area offers for you next Pure Michigan adventure:

  • The 22-mile River Road National Scenic Byway is a great way to take in all the color Northeast Michigan has to offer. It stretches westward from Lake Huron into the Huron-Manistee National Forests. While visiting, don’t forget to drop by the 14-foot bronze Lumberman’s Monument statue and its accompanying visitor’s center. Travelers will also find numerous recreation opportunities, from motorized trails for off-road vehicles to quiet hiking trails.
  • The Iargo Springs Interpretive Site, also located on the River Road Scenic Byway, offers a breathtaking view of the Au Sable River Valley from its observation deck that is 300 feet above the river. The adventurous can also walk down a flight of 294 steps to experience where the underground springs come together and form cold water streams.

    Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

    Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • There are more than 3,500 acres of Michigan hiking trails in and around the Oscoda area. Visitors can head out on the Reid Lake Trail and see natural sites like a beaver pond, marshes and bogs, as well as an abundance of birds and wildlife. The Highbanks Trail is a 7-mile trail that gives hikers and backpackers a great view of the Au Sable River. The Highbanks Trail is also where you’ll see the MCRA Canoer’s Memorial Monument, which was erected in memory of canoe racers who have died.
Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

  • The Au Sable and Oscoda Historical Society and Museum is where you’ll find Native American artifacts, as well as information about the region’s history concerning commercial fishing, ship wrecks and the railroad industry. The museum also has information about the Au Sable River, its dams and the notorious fire of 1911 that caused mass destruction to the community.
  • The Au Sable River Queen is the only paddle-wheel boat that runs from summer into fall, allowing passengers to take in the autumn colors from its decks. Passengers can enjoy a two-hour round trip on the Au Sable River, but should dress warm for those fall evenings and call in advance to reserve a spot.

For more information about the Oscoda area and the attractions you’ll find there, go to www.oscoda.com.

What do you plan to do in the Oscoda area this fall?

An Ode to Michigan’s Four Spectacular Seasons

Today, our great state celebrates 178 years of statehood. What better way to celebrate than to reflect on the breathtaking natural beauty that surrounds us all year long? 

Guest blogger Doug Houseworth spent 43 years creating 12 poems inspired by Michigan’s spectacular changing seasons. His work is truly a labor of Pure Michigan love. 

The Month Poems 
A Year in Pure Michigan
By Doug Houseworth

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Want to see more? The Month Poems and other works by Doug Houseworth can be seen on the Fire and Ice Photography website.

About the Poems

When asked what caused me to document the months with poetry and photography, I can only reply that inspiration is the most fitting word.  To be so captured by an image or experience, that you feel compelled to express it in words, is what happened with the first four poems.  After that, the idea of having this happen for all twelve months became a challenge and a goal.  I had no idea it would take over 43 years.  A visit from one’s muse cannot be scheduled.

At first, it was enough to write the poems, but then matching up the poems with images became both an obsession and a daunting task.  Usually the poem would come first, but sometimes a photograph would inspire a poem.  October was the first poem and came in 1971.  Twelve years later, I took a photo that inspired a new poem. In turn, the new poem inspired another photograph, but wasn’t captured until 2008.  October became an evolving collage.  The one you see in this gallery is the final product.

The second poem didn’t arrive until winter of 1977.  Driving home from work one day, I came upon a magic moment. Conditions were such that dozens of tiny whirl winds (snow devils) were dancing across the sharp edged snow drifts.  The snow was light and fluffy, but filled with ice crystals.  The light refraction was dazzling and diamond like, flittering over the farm fields and roads, against a deep blue sky.  I was so struck with the beauty, that I couldn’t quit thinking about it.  Snow Dust (January) was written the next day.  It took another two years for a suitable photograph, and even then the photo doesn’t quite match that enchanting moment and first vision.

And so it went, each month having a story and personality of its own.  It has taken decades to capture the essence of each month.  In Michigan there are seasons within seasons, and nothing is static.  Each month is always in transition.  There is a certain tension within each month, and often within the same day, as in the first line of September, “Sweater mornings with shirtsleeve afternoons.”

Many of the months make reference to dance as in January and in August.  Dance is about movement. The dance really never stops, but the music and mood change.  This is the richness and diversity of living in Michigan. There is something about being surrounded by fresh water seas, and the life force that goes with it, that sets this state apart from all others.  The interaction of sky and water, and how that plays on the land, is an ever changing wonder and fascination for those who live here.

There are those who say, “It is the land that defines the people.”  Certainly, Michigan offers an encounter with the elements unique in the world.  It does shape our lives and how we live. Trying to capture this with both poetry and photography has been a labor of love, and could only be done as personally experienced.

Meet the Author

UntitledDoug Houseworth was born in Petoskey, Michigan in 1943.  He is a lifelong resident of Alanson, Michigan, and his children make five generations to live in Northern Michigan. Respect for the land and the beauty of this region were instilled early in life.  As a graduate of MSU and a Realtor of many years, he is “all about” Michigan. 

A passion for poetry is generational in his family.  Combining photography with poetry to capture a year in Michigan became an obsession after the first four poems. Writing The Month Poems and finding the right image to fit each poem was an unpredictable process.  Inspiration comes when it comes, and usually not very often. It has been a long labor of love, that I can now share.