Saturday, 29 September 2018 08:30

A Gathering Place

For fifteen of the past eighteen years I have spent this exact week in the awesome Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In the Great North Woods of the UP, I have found the most amazing fall colors of anywhere I have photographed in this country. The Middle Branch of the Ontonagon River, as it flows over the upper cataracts of Bond Falls, offers one of the most outstanding autumn opportunities to be had: color, water, reflections - all in one small space. The fallen litter seems to gather on the edges of the rocks just to talk about the journey before continuing downstream. I'm looking forward to visiting this wonderful place one more time.

A focal length of 21mm, heading toward extreme wide-angle, gave me the opportunity to get very low and to include the rock outcrop with its leafy burden and a wide swath of the multi-faceted upper cataract. An aperture of f/22 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 0.6 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure and an apparent flow rate to the water that seemed interesting to the eye.

The land of Kitchi Gami is a magical place, sacred to the Anishinaabek, where the spirit of Hiawatha still lives and the call of the loon haunts the quiet waters.

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10 comments

  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 05 October 2018 11:25 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone. Thanks you all for joining me; I am delighted that the beauty of Bond Falls has resonated so strongly with all of you. I first learned of this amazing place from two dear friends, Bob and Gloria Epperson, both of whose passing several years ago left a hole in my life. Their work in the Upper Peninsula set a high bar for my own visits there.
    Hey Linda; it's great to hear from you. I hope you've had a wonderful New England summer since our Acadia adventure. The Upper Peninsula should definitely be on your list. Kevin Desrosiers is putting together a 2019 UP adventure, which will go on the website as soon as we have decided on dates: maximum of 8 and there are 4 signed up as of now. Regardless of whether you go with us, just go!
    Hi John. It's good to have you join us. Thanks for your kind words. Bonnie and I were thinking of you as we've been preparing for the next Road Scholar adventure. Hope you've had a great summer. I'm like you; I think the upper cataracts offer many more creative opportunities that the lower. But I always make time for the lower falls just because it's there - and it can be very appealing. Of course, the entire Bond Falls Flowage Area can keep you occupied for days.
    Hi Dianne. It's good to hear from you. Thank you so much for sharing the story of your Mother with us. She obviously has enjoyed all of the many years she has lived in the natural world and has equally enjoyed creating images of her journey to share. You are blessed to have been able to share it with her, and thanks for your kind words.
    Hi Ray; it's always good to have you with us. The overburden of leaves was quite special enough, but the scallops of water were a gift, and as I noticed their forming and moving away downstream, I ended up spending quite a bit of time here just capturing their movement. The relationship between the leaves and the cataract was also interesting. The result is the effect of one of a wide-angle lens' inherent distortions, the recession of background elements, making them appear even smaller than they do to the naked eye. It's a relationship that must be considered when work in wide-angle landscapes. Thank you for pointing these aspects out for us and for all of you thoughtful comments.Walk in Beauty, my friend.
    Hey Nancy T. It's great to hear from you. I'm so glad to learn that you were in the UP with your Mother. I know she enjoyed it and the chance to share it with you. I believe that sometimes you just have to accept elements as you find them and work toward whatever creativity that discovery will allow, and I agree with you: being this low to the leaves gives us a chance to see Bond Falls from a leaf's perspective.
    Mornin' Donald; it's always good to have you with us, to ask my favorite question: what will he think of to ask me this time? I always appreciate your questions. In this case, the questions and answers are all basic wide-angle considerations and the discussion would center around wide-angle compositional ideas and wide-angle inherent lens distortions. I know your schedule works against it; but I'd love to share the UP with you. Be well.
    Hey Pat. Yes, the Upper Peninsula is always an adventure, and we were so grateful we had a chance to share it with you. Thanks, very much, for all of your kind words. I trust you are preparing for a beautiful New England autumn with all of the curly ones and Sue. I hope we can arrange to catch up with each other in the coming year. Walk in Beauty.
    Hey Terry. You would think that I selected this Image just for you: well, maybe so. Actually, there are quite a few folks who thing very highly of the beauty of the UP and enjoy sharing it with anyone. As always, I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments. Now all we have to do is keep this old body sufficiently mobile so as to make one more journey to the Great North Woods.
    Hi Willa. Thank you very much for joining us for this conversation and for your kind words. Over the years I have come to really appreciate how wonderful even a small cluster of leaves can be a a foreground element. Bonnie and I will be thinking of you as we prepare for the final Road Scholar program of 2018. We so enjoyed having you with us and seeing your creative expressions of the Smokies as the week unfolded. We hope you will allow us to keep up with your creative journey and that our paths may cross again somewhere down the road. Walk in Beauty.
    Thanks, again, Everyone. Even though it's beginning to feel like the green of summer is going to remain with us the rest of the year, I do trust that fall and its color will be here before long and the intensifying color will remind us of why our forests are so special and deserve to be preserved wherever and whenever we can.

  • Comment Link Willa Boswell Monday, 01 October 2018 16:01 posted by Willa Boswell

    Love the pic Don! The leaves on the rock set the scene off!
    Thanks,

  • Comment Link Terry Bemis Monday, 01 October 2018 09:13 posted by Terry Bemis

    Another beautiful photo, and of my home state. Thanks.

  • Comment Link Pat Crutchfield Sunday, 30 September 2018 22:09 posted by Pat Crutchfield

    Ah, yes ... I remember the UP trip so well. A great trip ... great shot.

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 30 September 2018 19:05 posted by Donald Newsom

    What a gorgeous blend of color and energy! I continue to be grateful for your discussion of the technical parameters, too, giving us insight into the perennial question, "How did he do that?"

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 30 September 2018 15:54 posted by Nancy Tripp

    What a beautiful reminder of another one of my favorite places and my favorite time of year. Mom went with me on my first trip to the UP and she talked about it for a long time after we left. She loved it!

    This image is mesmorizing the way you composed it. It looks like the leaves in the foregrond are in awe at the lower point of view instead of their usual view from above. The beauty of the falls is a whole new story from that angle. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful time in the UP.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 30 September 2018 14:43 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, an image and moment full of beauty. The leafy “burden” as you poetically put it leaps off the screen, and the little scallops in the creek behind provide almost a watery version of the same. I really like the way you captured enough of the falls to show their beauty but kept them subtle to complement the vibrant foreground. Terrific. Have a great week. Ray

  • Comment Link Dianne Joseph Madden Sunday, 30 September 2018 09:59 posted by Dianne Joseph Madden

    Wow Don, this is lovely. My Mom turned 94 this past Thursday. The small party of 5 celebrated Hawaiian style as she never got to go on her visit there, due to a breast cancer diagnosis right before my parent's departure. That was thirty years ago, so this lady is a surviver in more ways than one.

    She brought out her photos of a trip she took to Vermont for "the turning of the leaves" and showed each one to my son as she told her stories. This is
    her favorite time of year, her favorite time to be in nature. I will share this photo with her for sure!
    Thanks for all the good work you and Bonnie do, and for speaking so powerfully.... in silence.

    Take Care, keep on truckin'.

  • Comment Link John D. Roach Sunday, 30 September 2018 09:16 posted by John D. Roach

    That is a nice one. I like the upper falls even better then the lower one.

  • Comment Link Linda Taylor Sunday, 30 September 2018 08:31 posted by Linda Taylor

    Now I have to put this on my list of places to go! Thank you.

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