My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, I’ll get to the reason later, maybe. I think that I’ll focus more on photos, and less on the written word.

On the plus side, I hit the area at the time of peak color in the leaves on the trees and with plenty of water flowing over the waterfalls that I photographed. On the minus side, the weather was horrible the least four days of my one week vacation in the area. There was even snow on the ground as I was heading home.

This is a image I shot on my way home, and it’s one of my favorites from the trip, even if it isn’t spectacular.

Scene I saw along the road home.

Maybe one of the reasons I ike this one so much is that it isn’t one of the big name tourist attractions I visited, It’s something I noticed and photographed on my own.

But, back to the beginning of my trip. I started at Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park, camping there to photograph the falls and anything else I found. Here are the upper falls in all their glory…

The upper Tahquamenon Falls

…up close, then moving farther away…

The upper Tahquamenon Falls

…as I stopped at every location along the short trail that offers views of the falls, until I shot this one…

My quintessential image of the upper Tahquamenon Falls

…which is why so many people visit the falls in autumn.

The “problem” with both the upper falls seen above, and the lower falls…

The lower Tahquamenon Falls


The lower Tahquamenon Falls


The lower Tahquamenon Falls


The lower Tahquamenon Falls

…is that you’re limited to staying on a boardwalk that only gives one limited views of the falls. The lower falls are really a series of small cascades, and while they’re pretty, don’t have the impact of the upper falls.

It didn’t help that I was at the lower falls at the wrong time of day, with one side of the river in full sun, and the other side in full shade. Also, as happened all week long at any of the big name spots, I had to wait in line for a chance to shoot the photos that I did, and I didn’t want to take too much time at any one location so that the people waiting would be able to take my place once I had finished shooting.

Another factor in my decisions as when to go where is that I had done a lot of research into the subjects that I wanted to photograph on this trip, and I knew that even though I attempted to keep it to a reasonable number, there were more places on my list than what I would have time for. And, I didn’t want to burn myself out as I did on my last trip to Michigan’s upper peninsula, when I found myself barely able to function by the 5th day due to not eating right or staying hydrated.

One other thing that I should mention too, during the time of my trip, many of the businesses and even government campgrounds are beginning to close for the winter season. This contributed to the long lines I encountered everywhere, from the scenic wonders to photograph, to waiting for over an hour for a bowl of chili at a local eatery. Major portions of my time during this trip were spent waiting, but I held up well for the entire week.

Anyway, here are a few photos that I shot in the Tahquamenon Falls area, mostly in the campground itself.

Sunset over the Tahquamenon River


Sunrise over the Tahquamenon River


Reflections of color on the Tahquamenon River


Just a spot of red


Camping on the Tahquamenon River

I spent two nights there, then it was time to pack up and head to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Along the way, I stopped to shoot the Crisp Point Lighthouse…

The Crisp Point Lighthouse


The Crisp Point Lighthouse

I climbed the lighthouse, and crawled through a tiny doorway at the top to shoot these next two.

The view from the top of the Crisp Point Lighthouse

The weather was already changing for the worse, I had to brace my knees against the railing on top of the lighthouse, and push my back into the glass of it to keep myself steady due to the wind. As stiff as the wind was, it was from the south, so Lake Superior, the body of water in these images, was still relatively calm. I was wishing the wind was from the north to build up some large waves that Lake Superior is known for, but I took what I could get.

The view from the top of the Crisp Point Lighthouse

Not long after that, as I was on my way to the Lower Hurricane River campground in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, it began to rain, moderately hard at times, very hard at others. But before the rain became unbearable, I did stop to shoot these images on the way.

Another scene along the road

I loved that scene, but I screwed up, I should have zoomed in a bit tighter on the red leaves of the trees, and the golden vegetation at the back of this pond. I did shoot another image while zoomed in, but for that one, I went too far, and lost the other parts of the scene that really are needed to convey how attractive I found it.

Color over the road, the first of many of these that I shot

I could have shot hundreds of images from along the road like the one above, as I said, I was there for peak color, and just driving down the roads was awe inspiring.

I made it to the Lower Hurricane River Campground, and managed to get my tent set up during a lull in the rain, without getting too much water in the tent. I dried it out best I could, then went into town for food, making it a good day over all.

The next morning, I woke up to intermittent rain showers, interspersed with sunny periods later in the morning. I spent most of the morning at the mouth of the Hurricane River, which may be one of the most photogenic small areas in Michigan.

At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore


At the mouth of the Hurricane River in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Perhaps my biggest disappointment during this trip was that of all the time I spent at the campground, the weather and the lighting never really changed there. I never got a good sunrise or sunset image, nor enough light to freeze the motion of the Hurricane River as it cascades into Lake Superior. I may have included too many images of it, but I spent several hours there, setting up my tripod in various spots, shooting what caught my eye. And, even though I spent quite a bit of time there, and shot many images, I could have easily spent much more time there. As a budding photographer, I truly enjoyed this area more than many of the other places I visited because there were few people there, and I wasn’t limited to shooting from a designated spot as I was in many other places that I visited.

Still, I’m quite proud of these images, as I had to wait until there was a lull in the wind so that the vegetation wasn’t moving as the shutter was open for long periods of time as I shot these.

I’m about to wrap this post up, but first I have to go back to the upper Tahquamenon Falls and a video that I shot there to give every one an idea of what it’s like to be there in person.

Now then, for some boring photo talk. All of these images were shot with the Canon 5D Mk IV, some are HDR images, most are not. I probably would have shot more HDR images if it hadn’t been for the wind which plagued me the second half of the week. The lulls in the wind weren’t long enough to shoot three images without the vegetation moving, I had enough trouble getting good sharp single images with the winds gusting to over 30 MPH most of the time. Also, the 24-70 mm f/4 lens was my workhorse lens for this trip, I only occasionally switched to the 16-35 mm f/4 lens, and I did shoot a few using my 100-400 mm lens as well.

In my next post, there will be plenty of images of the various waterfalls that I visited, along with a few other scenic wonders as well. It was with out a doubt one of my best vacations ever despite the weather and the crowds.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


14 responses

  1. Hi Jerry. Thanks for all the great fall color photos. You certainly picked the right time to be there – such spectacular color. We missed color entirely this year, it seems. Went up along the entire Canadian edge of Lake Superior, camping in four or five of the Provincial Parks, plus one Canadian National Park, but we were ahead of the season by a week or two. Wandered down Highway 61 in MN for another few weeks, but we were still ahead of it. After camping for two months, the only color is laying in my front yard, waiting for a rake.

    Love the Hurricane River campground. It’s just a wonderful place to be. Happy you were able to get up and away from town for a spell.

    I sure do miss your frequent postings. So glad to see this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 10, 2019 at 10:28 am

    • Thank you very much Judy! I’m jealous again, you did the Lake Superior tour that we did as a family when I was a kid, some fantastic scenery along the way, with lots of history as well. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do it again.

      Yes, for once my plan worked, and I hit the UP at peak fall color. I wish that I had taken more than a week off, but at least it was a great trip other than a little foul weather now and then. Can’t have everything though.

      I haven’t been posting lately for a number of reasons, time being one, but mostly because my posts seemed to be all the same to me the last couple of years. I have one or two more posts worth of photos from this trip to post, then I’ll probably do a post now and then on single species of birds.

      I miss your blog, and wish that you had done a post or two from your trip into Canada.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 11, 2019 at 9:03 am

  2. BIT|Hiker 65

    Absolutely beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 7, 2019 at 8:21 am

  3. Good to see you back, Jerry! Beautiful photos, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 6, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    • Thank you Lavinia! It was a great vacation, and a chance to photograph some things that I don’t normally see around home.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 7, 2019 at 10:23 am

  4. Such a lovely surprise to see a post from you again and what a post- such wonderful photos from a beautiful, stunning place. Amazing autumn colour which is the perfect background for all the scenes. Sounds like a brilliant holiday even if there were too many other people and weather unreliable- at least you’ve got all those fantastic photos to look at and enjoy when more snow arrives! Glad to see your posts back.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    • Thank you very much Marianne! It was a great holiday as you would say, a week off from work in one of the most beautiful parts of Michigan. I tend to forget that I usually seek out secluded places because I’m usually photographing birds and other wildlife, the crowds probably weren’t that bad, I’m not used to any people being around. The weather could have been nicer, but the last time I was there, the entire week was sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky, and while that may sound ideal, it made for boring photos.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 7, 2019 at 10:31 am

  5. Lovely shots, great to see a post from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 6, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    • Thank you Bob! It was a great vacation, and the photos are a far cry from what I had been posting, so I thought that these may get me blogging again.


      November 7, 2019 at 10:25 am

  6. Sorry you had to do so much waiting but , boy, your pictures are certainly worth the wait. You should be very proud of them. I did so enjoy looking at the little video too.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 6, 2019 at 11:34 am

    • Thank you very much Susan! Yes, the waiting was annoying at times, but the scenery was beautiful, so I tried to concentrate on that and in how I would set-up for the shot once it was my turn. I hope that you enjoyed the scenery through my photos as much as I did in shooting them.

      Liked by 1 person

      November 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm