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.
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…
…up close, then moving farther away…
…as I stopped at every location along the short trail that offers views of the falls, until I shot this one…
…which is why so many people visit the falls in autumn.
The “problem” with both the upper falls seen above, and the lower 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.
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…
I climbed the lighthouse, and crawled through a tiny doorway at the top to shoot these next two.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!