So here’s the thing about landscape photography in Michigan: there really ain’t no land to scape. So if you find some interesting features, please, do tell. For starters it is almost totally farmland south of Bay City, and north of that the only elevation is just about fresh graves and a few sand dunes. So what do you do when you are in the mood for landscape photography? That’s right, turn it into a waterscape. Because by Jove we have a lot of it. We have it on the sunrise side, sunset side, and if you were to get really creative, high noon.
Now, such a photo does not come easily. First, you have to get up on time. Not early. Not daybreak. But so early you question your basic decision making. Even then, you will wish you arrived earlier. Secondly, you have to be prepared. Camera ready to go, lenses, tripod, ND filter, waterproof boots, hand warmers, and probably an empty stomach, because these days McDonald’s usually isn’t even open this early. Third is just plain luck. I hadn’t seen colors in the sky like this in probably a whole year. Words or pictures cannot describe how awesome this sunrise is. We just couldn’t even with how gorgeous the colors were.
I maintain that sunrises are better than sunsets, but that may be my own bias. Where I live it is easier to get to water on the sunrise side, and it has a natural climax that culminates in the sun peeking over the horizon. Even though I can’t explain it, I do think that colder weather sunrises are better as well. If my fingers aren’t numb, then the clouds just don’t seem to light up properly.
Long exposures are a fun exercise as well, and I waffle between whether the smooth water of a long exposure or the sharp textures of a normal photo are better. The long exposures definitely work best with a highly textured shore and some dark silhouettes to contrast the smoothed out waves.
Finally, sunrise. Once the sun comes up, all the pretty colors get washed out and a normal blue sky day begins. And as with most photography, once the background is taken care of, it is up to you to find something to slap up front. So take the sun, turn it majestic, and shine its light on the biggest piece of wood you can find.
And that’s that. Next week we will be some woodworking, so stay tuned.