Dune Grass and Lake Michigan

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dune grass and lake michigan

Dune Grass and Lake Michigan

The beaches and dunes of West Michigan are unique in all the world and a beloved summer refuge for Michiganders. I think that accounts for the popularity of this, my most popular, image. To look at it is to be transported to the halcyon days of summer, a place of beauty, and a time of peace.

I’m pleased by the success of this image because it shows that I have been able to effectively capture the emotions I experience when I took it. I think this is the primary purpose of my work. My goal is not to simply document a place of beauty, but rather to capture and communicate my experience of it. I don’t so much want to show as to tell.

Our family had been through difficult days. As winter passed into spring, we were exhausted and emotionally frayed. My son and I decided to spend a few days decompressing in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, an isolated expanse of forests and dunes just north of Ludington. Not many seek this place out in early spring, so we occupied it almost as a personal refuge.

Fortune smiled on us with warm sunny days and cool clear nights. Stress free days in a place of beauty was balm for or souls. I felt the creative impulse and began to explore with my camera.

I came across this scene and was taken by its simple beauty. The gentle curves of delicate sand reed grass were nestled perfectly in a small bowl of dune. I chose a low angle so that I could isolate the grass against the sand, water, and sky. I think this gives the picture a feeling of repose. A polarizing filter enriched the colors in the water and sky.

A moderate aperture of f/8 rendered the grass in focus but slightly blurred the background. This helps to isolate the subject and give the photo a feeling of depth.

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