Photographers have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. We also have great days and terrible days. The terrible days make us want to throw our equipment off the Mighty Mac and never click the shutter again. No photographer(as far as I know) has ever done this and that's because the highs we get from the great days hugely outweigh the lows from the terrible days. A few months ago I had the best photographic day of my life! This one day will keep me from ever tossing my equipment off that bridge!
When my desire to photograph came back with a vengeance a few years ago I knew eventually I would want to get back to the Upper Peninsula and create some images. I put it off for a while deciding to "re-hone" my skills closer to home first. I ventured to the U.P. a few years ago and fell in love with the abundance of beautiful scenery. That was 2006 and was so long ago that I was still using a film camera(actually I switched to digital shortly after that trip as the lab I was using lost 4 of my 12 rolls of film from that trip). I went back again in 2008 and found it just as amazing! Anyway, a trip to the U.P. was long overdo.
So I started planning. I decided mid October might be a good time to go. There would hopefully still be some fall color and the tourists would hopefully have thinned out by then. I booked my hotel(s), started checking the maps and anxiously awaited for the day to arrive. Finally, departure day - October 15th. I would spend this day on the road traveling 10+ hours to get to the Porcupine Mountains, spend one day there and then travel to Marquette. The travel day started off great with dry roads and blue skies with the occasional white puffy cloud. But as I traveled farther north the blue sky gave way to overcast, misty weather. It would remain this way for the rest of the travel day. I finally arrived in the Porkies in the middle of the night(I was delayed by scenic overlooks and pasties). I went right to bed and hoped that when I awoke in the morning the weather would be a little nicer. My alarm went off around 5:45 in the morning and I was so excited that I didn't even hit the snooze button! I grabbed a cup of joe and headed to South Boundary Road(a beautiful site by itself) which would lead me deeper into the Porcupine Mountains and eventually take me to the Presque Isle Scenic Site. Being as early as it was the sun was not up when I headed out but as it got lighter I could tell that the gray, misty skies had cleared and it looked like I was in for some good lighting conditions.
When I finally arrived and started the short trek to the river's edge I was certainly not disappointed. The light was great, the river was gorgeous and the October temperature wasn't even that bad. After a few clicks of the shutter I knew it was going to be a good day! I had a feeling come over me that I've had from time to time when shooting in the past but this was stronger. I was seeing photographs before even framing them in the camera's viewfinder, my head was clearer than at any other point in my life that I could remember and I seemingly floated along the river's edge for a couple hours going scene to scene and clicking the shutter. I felt like with every click I was creating a fantastic photograph. I was hoping, unrealistically obviously, that this wouldn't end. Finally and sadly, the sun rose to a point where the light was no longer great for photographing. My U.P. high was wearing off and I was coming back to reality. I got back in the car and travelled to the next destination I had pinned on my map. I would travel to L'Anse to see Canyon Falls and Powerhouse Falls and eventually head to Marquette for the 2nd night's stay. Powerhouse Falls and the Falls River didn't make my "high" return but it was a beautiful and unique place nonetheless. The weather, at this point, was starting to turn again into that gray misty mess I was hoping wouldn't return. It let up just enough when I arrived at Canyon Falls to allow me to photograph for about an hour before the skies started getting too dark to photograph any longer. My day, sadly, had come to an end. But boy what a day it was! The weather turned so bad the next day that I headed home early but there was no way I could be disappointed. I had the best photographic day* of my life just 24 hours prior!
*all images in this post, including the slideshow below, are from October 16th, 2014 - the best day of my photographic life.
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