Something new

Leaf on fence with fall colors reflecting in background
Leaf on fence with fall colors reflecting in background

Another visit to Thumb Lake, from our Michigan trip last month.   Tried something new with this shot, and wasn’t sure if it’d work out or not.  Fortunately, I think it did.  I had to look at it off-and-on for awhile, and it kept growing on me.  Plus, I had to ponder how I was going to process it, and finally decided on a somewhat minimal approach.  I did do some HDR and tonemapping, but used a preset and didn’t put a lot of thought into it.

I shot this with an 800 ISO, which leaves it a tad grainy when looking close.  The background is purposely out-of-focus.  I like how your eye is drawn to the fence rail and solitary leaf, then your eye gets drawn back into the photo to the blurry yet still distinguishable lake and autumn colors in the trees in the background.

Another aspect that appeals to me more and more is the “layered” look of the far shore(s).  The lake actually does veer off the the left behind the closest trees in the left of the frame.

All is not Lost

Barn and Fall Colors, near East Jordan, Charlevoix County, Michigan
Barn and Fall Colors, near East Jordan, Charlevoix County, Michigan

I was lost.  Yes, I know, the “Human GPS” had lost his way.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Michigan and it is a beautiful state, but it is also a horribly-signed state.  If you’re on the Interstate you’re fine, but venture off the beaten path and you might as well put a blindfold on.  Even maps help only so much.  Just as I was starting to grumble and get irritated for being lost, I spied this gem through some trees and had to stop and investigate.

I took several shots and am going to see what I can do with a long panorama.  It was really a quite nice scene with a large field bounded in something of a bowl shape by trees beginning to turn color.

I guess the moral of the story is that even when lost you should still keep your head up and seek for the best.  You never know what you’ll stumble across.  It just might be a beautiful scene like this.

Report: Yellow Dog Falls

Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan
Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan

With this post I will begin a new feature for my blog, the “Report”, where I will give a little more information than just some random musings.  For example, I have three photos today, all of Yellow Dog Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula… or UP.  This one takes a bit of getting to.  Most directions that you will find on the internet make it sound absurdly easy, but it’s not quite so.  Now, Missy and I are both out-of-shape, I’ll admit that, and it’s not too hard, but there is more to it than one would think.  I will give some directions here, so hopefully that will help.  I can say that the locals had nothing but good things to say regarding this location, and I now know why.

Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan
Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan

Directions:  Leave Marquette heading toward Big Bay on Big Bay Road, aka County Road (CR) 550.  You will go approximately 21-ish miles then turn left on CR 510.  Go approximately 2 miles to what is described as a fork in the road, but is really a ‘tee’ intersection.  CR AAA veers off to the right and is a nice paved road.  CR 510 takes a sharp left and immediately becomes a decent dirt road under a tree canopy.  Continue down CR 510 for approximately 6.5 miles, to the second river crossing.  This is Yellow Dog River.  There are no signs.  The river looks more like a creek, and you will be at the only guard rails on the road as the road crosses over the river.

Park on the south side of the crossing, on the east side of the road.  The trail begins here.  The trail is approximately 0.7 miles long, but is not always intuitive.  Again, there are no signs or markers, but it is relatively well-traveled and reasonably obvious.  The trail has some fallen trees crossing it, and crosses four streams.  Someone had laid branches across the streams, which helps, though they were only trickles when we hiked.  Just when you begin to wonder if you’re lost you hear the roar of the falls and you’re there.

Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan
Yellow Dog Falls, Yellow Dog River, near Big Bay, Marquette County, Michigan

And what a “there” it is!  That little creek we saw at the road produces these magnificent waterfall?  Well worth the drive and the hike.  The journey is just enough to keep most people away, but not so difficult as to discourage those who want to see it bad enough.  We had the fortune of being the only people there for a couple hours, which helps my composition immensely.  I was able to “work” the falls for over three hours.  It was quite peaceful and serene.

As a general rule, I prefer the blurred water shots in a waterfall.  I’m not a big fan of “frozen” shots, though I took many of each.  I give three different perspectives here.  The first shot is about half the falls, and is probably my favorite of the three and it gives a nice balance of the waterfall and the fall colors.  The second shot isolates a small area that appealed to me.  The last shot is an overall view done with my fisheye lens, that I think gives a nice perspective.