The photographic explorations of a former film student.


Waterfall Hunt

Last fall, someone in the photo club told my father about a “waterfall” not too far from where we live. Technically, it isn’t a waterfall. It’s a man-made spillway, but it looks like a waterfall. The spillway was not easy to find. At one point, we gave up looking and decided to go to a park in the area instead. However, when we stopped at the park office, we found a sign featuring a large photo of the waterfall and the words “are you looking for this?” It then provided directions. Thus we continued in our hunt, but it still wasn’t easy. Roads were under construction or had similar names, I couldn’t get the maps app on my phone to work because the cell service was spotty, and we had to be careful to stay off private property in the area. The spillway was located right off the road. You had to be looking in the right direction at the right time to see it though. After a considerable bit of driving around in circles, we finally found it.


While Dad was photographing it with his view camera, I found a Japanese beetle on a wildflower to photograph.


It was a long day, but we found what we were looking for. Sometimes, persistence does pay off.


Old Schoolhouse

As you may have guessed, I haven’t been in much of a photographic mood this year. Nevertheless, my father convinced me to bring my camera on a family trip a couple of months ago. I didn’t think I’d have time for any real photography on the trip, but Dad was bringing his  4″x5″ view camera, which is a very serious camera. This meant photography would be a priority on the trip. The subject? Well, that was undetermined.

Near supper time on day one of our trip, we were driving through the countryside when I spotted an old, abandon schoolhouse out the window. I only caught a glance, but it was enough to flag the building as anything but your typical plain Jane schoolhouse. I noted the road we were on for future reference, then informed my father of the discovery. The next day, we retraced our steps and found it, but the solar angle was bad. Early on the morning of day three, we finally got out to photograph it.

The weather was cloudy at first. Not bad for the subject. It gave it a bit of an eerie mood, standing isolated in the country.


Later, the sun started to come out. By then, I liked the angle on the front better. Since the schoolhouse was right on top of the road, it was a little more tricky. I don’t have a view camera, so I had to tweak perspective in Photoshop.


Even a short vacation can lift you from a rut, even if just for a few days. Be prepared and keep your eyes open. Thanks Dad.

Super Moon

I had a busy weekend. It was bad for my original blogging plans, but good in many other ways. Because of my weekend, here are a couple of pictures of the super moon through tree branches and amidst the towers of the old mental hospital (now restored into offices, shops, and senior living) in Traverse City Michigan.



Next Time: Ornamental Gourds

It’s Fall. I bought gourds because they are pretty. If I don’t photograph them before they rot, it’s a waste.

Stubbornness and the Tail End of Fall

I had these lovely plans for how I would spend October weekends this year: weekly walks in the woods with my camera, apple orchards and doughnuts, and maybe even a road trip to a distant park. But my front stairs happened. They are wooden with a deck-like landing area, and they needed to be repainted and repaired. Despite my parents very kindly giving lots of time and effort to the project, the three of us spent most of October on my stairs.

Last weekend would have been beautiful for photography: good lighting, nice temperatures, and just about the peak for fall color. But alas, you guessed it, stairs. This weekend was definitely past prime for fall color and quite dreary most of the time. However, I was free. The stairs were done, the parks were beckoning, and the temperatures were not bad at all. So I stubbornly decided to grab the month of October by the tail and try to cram all the things I’d wanted to do all month into one weekend. I needed to experience Fall before it was over: to see, hear, and smell it all around me.

Friday night, I visited a small, hard to find park in my city. It was almost dark, so not much luck there. Saturday morning, despite the dullness of the day, I took a two-hour walk in one of my favorite parks. Photographic prospects were better:


After a few more weekend activities, I headed out to the local apple orchard for my annual sugar encrusted doughnut and hot spiced cider. The sun finally peaked out a bit.


My takeaway from all of this is that should plan on spending some time in November raking leaves in my parent’s large lawn, and I should start the deck refinishing project in April next year. Procrastination has consequences. You can cram a lot into one weekend, but it’s not quite the same as planning things and scheduling them appropriately.

Clydesdale Outting

Every year, the photo club goes to a Clydesdale event. This year, my father and I decided to come along. I’ve not been shooting much due to other responsibilities, so it was good to get out.

Clydesdale hitched to wagon.

Clydesdales pulling wagon

Clydesdale Hooves

Clydesdale waiting

Butterfly House

I’ve had an exceptionally busy week, so unfortunately, this post is late. It is also archive that I’ve been saving for a time like this. When I was in Michigan visiting family and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, I also visited the butterfly house in Traverse City. It was not quite ready to open at that point. My uncle works for the local MSU extension office in the area. As a result, he  and my aunt got to know the young couple who own and run the butterfly house.

Unfortunately, we arrived on a sad day for them. Many of their butterflies had died due to pesticides. I did not realize this, but most plants purchased at greenhouses and box stores have pesticides on them or in the soil. These pesticides kill butterflies as well as undesirable insects. Of course, the owners of the butterfly house knew this. They had asked the company they purchased the plants from specific questions about pesticides. However, the answers they got did not match with the plants they got. Fortunately, not all of the butterflies were out of their cocoons yet, and all of the fruit feeding butterflies were fine.


They look rather drab on the outside, but inside, these butterflies have brilliant blue wings.


I did not touch the butterflies. They are delicate, and you have to know how to handle them so as not to hurt them. Others in our group did know how and had permission.


The butterflies can and do land on people. They have signs on the way out of the enclosure asking guests to check for hitchhikers. Since my dad is a quite and steady type, the butterflies liked him.


Despite the sad death of some of the butterflies that day, I enjoyed visiting the butterfly house and photographing the butterflies. Perhaps I will be able to go back someday or visit another butterfly house. In the meantime, I should do some pesticide research.

OrangeOnRocks OrangeOnPlants ButterflyOnRocks

Next Time: End of Archive?

I’ve a three-day weekend coming up, so hopefully I’ll be able to shoot something.

Waterfall Hike

I’d planned it to be much more. A few days of vacation to take from work that month were supposed to be a long weekend for two parks and an architecture shoot. It rained until the last day. Fortunately, that last day was a great one. Sunny, not too hot, and enough rain to make falls that aren’t always there flow steady. Dad came with and managed to haul all his gear (he shoots 4X5 film) up and down long staircases and around waterfalls through steep and narrow trails.

In the morning, we only saw a few smaller falls.


My research on the park paid off for our afternoon hike. Two more out of the way canyons with three waterfalls total.

LaSalleCanyon TontyFalls

Also some lovely rock formations. One almost looks like a person emerging from a cave.

RockWall RockMan

Next Time:
Camera or Necklaces