As 2017 kicks off, I’ve decided to start up another blog. This time, there are no rules. There are no restrictions or guidelines or expectations. I’m going to write what I want to write in the way I want to write it and show off the pictures that I capture of the Northwoods, while often freezing my ass off in the process. If nothing else, I hope you enjoy the photography. I’m sure along the way I’ll write something that irritates you but that is, in fact, the joy of having and paying for your own website. If nothing else, perhaps my writing will allow you to pause for a minute and realize that everyone is driven forward by different things in this world. We don’t all see the world with the same lens and we don’t all need to conform to the lowest common denominator. I’m blunt, direct, sometimes crude, maybe a little ungracious and gruff but in the end, I’m just as human as you are Dear Reader. My take on the world we live in together doesn’t need to be the same as yours, nor does it need to conform with the orange wig presently set to rule the underlings of this country. Let’s see where it goes, shall we?
I’ve started out with a scene that I’ve shot hundreds of times and, over the years, I’ve even had versions of this shot published on the local blogs. This is Shalda Creek and it’s located within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County, MI. Most of my photography centers around this area and within Leelanau County in general. This site was apparently once an old gristmill and village (North Unity) that was destroyed by fire in 1871. Today the National Park Service, in their infinite wisdom, decided it was an excellent location for a Porta Potty. Nevertheless, in the winter, it’s mostly deserted here. Like the rest of the county, Leelanau is pretty much empty wilderness during the winter months. The farmers, vintners, and locals do their best to just hunker down and deal with the day to day weather which swings from one god awful extream to the other, most of the time without any sort of notice. For those of us who don’t like people all that much, this is the best time of year to explore the area without having to step in big piles of dog shit left by disoriented tourists and their dogs trying to find the beach. Shalda Creek wanders around a bit back in the woods before finally emptying out into Lake Michigan. The water moves all year long and never freezes over completely, likely due to the slightly warmer natural springs that feed it. Following the creek towards the lake, those who wish to trek out to the beach are confronted with an array of cypress trees that have thrown their branches in nearly every direction possible. Eventually, if you haven’t twisted your ankle on the way there, you are greeted with an opening to the beach which, depending on the feelings of Lake Michigan in a particular year is either a vast expanse of open space or a tiny sliver of sand. The flow from the creek changes by the season once you are within sight of the lake. In the spring, water rushes out in nearly a straight path right into the lake. As summer wears on, pools form as the water slows down and small children can ride the current right down the lake in the shallow (and much colder) water. As fall approaches muck and algae increase making wading in the water a fairly gross experience. Finally, winter arrives and an ice crust forms over the top of the creek allowing water to continue flowing underneath like a lava tube. Each season brings a different scene to photograph. I think winter is the most beautiful and serene.