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TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: THE MANISTEE CHRONICLES & THE ROAD HOME

 

Portrait of a small town scene outside a movie theater in Frankfort, Michigan.

From my blog archives, I offer this post about a family trip to northern Michigan not long ago. I hope you enjoy The Manistee Chronicles: The Road home.

The long cold winter rolls on here in Washington, DC.

If ever I was on the fence about the colder months of the year, this Washington winter has closed the deal. I’m not a cold weather hater, honest. I love the change of seasons here in the Mid Atlantic, but it is the change that I look forward to. Winter has it’s place in my heart and in my running log (yes, I have a running log). I have been known to knock out a 10 miler in sub freezing temperatures and slog through ice and snow to get my workout in. A few years back, I ended up in The Washington Post for braving a winter blizzard just to get a 5 mile run in, when the entire city was shut down. My snow bound neighbor, a reporter for the Post, saw me running and thought it was timely feature material. The next thing I knew, I was in the news. OK. so it was a slow news day. Still, my family and friends were impressed with my 15 minutes of fame.

Some of the greatest distance runners in history lived, and trained, in the brutally cold Northeast. Think Bill Rodgers (Boston) and Joan Benoit-Samuelson (Maine). Two of the best distance runners the US has ever called its own. Rodgers once said that he welcomed the long northern winters. They forced him to slow down. Prevented injuries. Allowed him to recover and prepare for the grueling running season ahead. Benoit-Samuelson credited her amazing stamina and perseverance to consistently training in the the toughest conditions possible. And was she ever tough. She had a hard won reputation for never dropping out of a race, never taking a short cut and never,ever, cutting a training run short. Even when no one was watching. Even if she was injured or running in monsoon-like rains or freezing temps.

But I’m no Olympian.

The days of ultra long sub 6 minute mile runs are long gone for me. No more road races. I’m just happy to be here, logging a few miles on the tree covered trails that wrap around a nearby lake on a warm spring day. That’s enough for me. On that freezing winter day when I made the news, I was running to get the briefest of breaks from my beautiful wife (she really is!) and our 4 incredibly active young children, all crammed into a small suburban townhouse for days and days on end.

So what does this have to with travel photography, you ask. Excellent question! Here it comes.

This very long winter (8 more inches of snow and steady sub-zero temperatures last week!) has given me the gift of time. Time to organize and edit images and do tasks that would normally be left undone. Not a gift I expected, but one with unexpected benefits.

Like rediscovering these images.

I was about to move this series into the archives, but as I sorted through them I realized there was a story there. Not a long or compelling story but a good story, nonetheless. With images from a time and place that lifted me, however briefly, from this bone chilling air. Did I mention golf? No. Then get ready, because if  you play the game, whatever your level, you’ll enjoy these shots.  If not, you’ll enjoy them as travel photography images of a unique and beautiful golf course.

Shot at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club, this particular round of golf improves in my memory with each day that passes. The camera was also with me as we traveled to and from our lodgings in the beautiful, quaint city of Manistee.

So, what of the title Travel Photography: The Manistee Chronicles: The Road Home. I’ll explain.

After a week in late summer in northern Michigan, our car was loaded and ready for the long trek back to the suburbs of Washington, DC, our home. I grabbed a full frame Nikon DSLR pro body, popped on the ever faithful  24-70 f/2.8, set shutter at 1/500, took a few test shots, adjusted the aperture, checked the shots again and crawled into the passenger seat. Terrie, my (beautiful!) wife, drove  first, as I snapped pictures of the Midwest countryside. We’d been warned by our Michigan hosts that the landscape home may not change for hours. Farmaland and barns they said. They were oh so right.

So, after a few hundred miles of flat farmland, and a few dozen shots of the road ahead of and around us, Terrie and I changed places and we headed home, knowing nothing of the long cold winter that would come. I hope you enjoy these images from our time in northern Michigan and The Road Home.

To see more of my images of the beautiful Arcadia Bluffs course, visit my site here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WASHINGTON DC PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: PORTRAIT OF A CORRESPONDENT

Washington, DC Portrait Photography-Portrait of A Correspondent

 

Gunnar was frustrated.

An online article he had recently authored in the US was to be featured in Der Spiegel’s print edition.  His editor in Berlin needed updated professional portraits and headshots of Guunar and he needed them now!

As a Senior US Correspondent for Der Spiegel, Gunnar was accustomed to having his articles published, but with a text by-line, not a headshot or portrait.  It had been years since he had a professional portrait or headshot created. He was scrambling to find a photographer who could create the type of environmental portrait that matched the look he wanted. He searched the web, scouring dozens of Washington, DC portrait photographer’s sites. He found nothing that inspired him.

Then he found my site. He liked what he saw.

I was traveling when his email came in.  Gunnar wanted my earliest open date. According to him, my portraits were modern, classic and engaging. I’ll take that.

I looked ahead to the first opening on my schedule, called Gunnar and offered him the date. Their was noticeable relief in his voice. His job was done. Mine was just beginning.  Gunnar wanted an environmental portrait that had a ‘very natural’ look. No cliche shots of him sitting on the steps of the Capitol or straddling the center line of Constitution Avenue at 5AM. Nothing that would scream ‘foreign correspondent in Washington DC’.

I knew just the place.

We met at a small park in the Virginia countryside, about an hour west of downtown Washington. I don’t shoot there often, but when I do, I remember just why I like doing outdoor portrait sessions there. Tall mature trees create large areas of wonderful open shade, next to sun drenched fields bordered by wooden fences and low stone walls.  A working grist mill and restored historical buildings strung around the site offer great options for settings and backdrops. Add in a lily pond, walking paths and a restored tool shed, circa 1800, and the option list for portrait shots is a location photographer’s dream.

We meet early on a weekday morning. The park feels like it’s our own outdoor studio. We are virtually alone.

Gunnar is nervous. Very nervous.

I solve that quickly, getting right into the session. No time to let him worry about how he looks look or how to pose. I start shooting and talking.  It works. Within 5 minutes, Gunnar is comfortable with me, with himself and with the session. We are rolling. We move around the site, working the settings and creating a series of portraits and headshots of Gunnar.

A little over an hour later, we are done. Another dealine met, another satisfied client and one very happy editor.

 

 

 

 

 

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