Archive: Jun 2013

  1. Dune and Sky

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    Dune and Sky

    Spring is one of my favorite times to explore the dunes of West Michigan because you encounter forms that have been created over months and have not yet been trampled by the crowds of summer. As I hiked in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area on an early spring day I was arrested by this sensual curve.

    The strong, shadow free light of mid-day lent itself perfectly to this exploration of line and symmetry. A polarizing filter deepened the sky and enhanced the contrast between sky and sand. I think of this image as my homage to Edward Weston, a photographer who often explored the surprising echoes of the human form you can find in nature. My wife, who is a writer and loves word play, calls this my dune nude.

    I took this image the same day as “Dune Grass and Lake Michigan.” It strikes me that many of my most successful images are fraternal twins—brothers and sisters born on the same day but not sharing an identical genetic heritage. More, I think, than could be attributed to mere chance. I believe this comes from a wonderful resonance between extraordinary circumstances and my own heightened awareness. I live for those days.

  2. Orchard in Winter

    Orchard in Winter

    Orchard in Winter

    I had spent an entire day driving the back roads of Leelanau county looking for compelling images of the lovely orchards that characterize this rural landscape. I’d had some success, but when I encountered this scene just at the end of the day I knew I had found what I was looking for.

    Time was very short, but I have a personal rule that I will not create a traffic hazard in the interest of my work. There was simply not enough room to pull over safely. Just down the road was Saint Wenceslaus Catholic Church and ample parking. I pulled into the lot, grabbed my camera bag and tripod, and ran down the road, racing against time.

    As I ran down the road I extended the legs on my tripod. When I reached the location I chose a vantage point and quickly mounted my camera and telephoto lens on the tripod. I composed the image, snapped just four shots, and the light was gone. I was so sure that this was an important image, and so unsure that I had managed to capture it, that I returned the next day at the same time to try again. But the light was not the same and the images not as successful. This is the final image I captured that first day.

    I love the echoes of repeating color, texture, and pattern in this image. The rich auburn trees that form the central band are cherry trees. It was the first week of March, the weather was mild, the snow was melting, and the buds were filling in anticipation of spring.

    I chose a relatively small aperture of f/16 to maximize the depth of field and assure that the entire image would be in focus from foreground to infinity.