Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday Waterfall: Wagner Falls...with the iPhone

Wagner Falls, Alger County, Michigan's Upper Peninsula
This is just a quick snap of the popular Wagner Falls along M-94 in Alger County, just outside Munising, Michigan. Just a quick pop with the iPhone, but representative of why the Upper Peninsula is such a great base camp for our family.

Here's the deal. With two little kids in the house things get nuts. Check that, things are ALWAYS nuts, it seems. So whenever possible I like to separate the two instigators and get some good one-on-one time. One of the easiest errands to do this on is, believe it or not, is the dump run. Yep, that's right, dump run. I load the truck up with household garbage and the nonstop stream of refuse that comes from remodeling our old farmhouse and head to the local landfill with my son. Along the way we pass fields, streams, wetlands, The North Country Trail, Valley Spur Ski and Bike Area, National Forest, etc. It gives us a chance to talk about all that stuff and get an important household task out of the way at the same time. Plus he's pumped to see bigazz trucks and the army of seagulls at the landfill (our version of angry birds).

On the way back we stop at one of several waterfalls in the Munising area so he can stretch his legs (code word for pee) and marvel at the natural wonders that are his Yooper inheritance (may be the only one he gets).

On another note, this was shot with my iPhone. I've been using it more. I like it. Not perfect, but it's always there. The best camera is the one you have folks. I wonder when we'll stop calling them phones? Since there's hardly any coverage in my piece of Michigan, it never gets used as a phone, mostly a camera or email machine. Will we ever just call them "i"?

Thanks for looking/listening!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marquette Michigan hosts the 2012 Ensign National Championship Regatta

The Ensign National Championship Regatta came to Marquette, Michigan this summer and I had a chance to spend a few hours in awe of 1.) the offshore beauty of Marquette and Lake Superior and 2.) the insane aesthetic dynamics of a sailing regatta.

The "ensign" is a class of small sailboats, 22.5 feet long, full keel, etc. but to me, as an outsider non-sailing guy, it seems more like a spirit than a certain type of boat. Something like the spirit of summer meshed with a sense of craft and old-timey skill, comraderie of the sea, that sort of thing. From what I've read, it's also a very American thing as this type of boat was first designed and built in the states.

Which leads me to the next thing: Red, white, blue. The pure colors of summer on Lake Superior were overwhelming. Red Lighthouse. Red boats. Red spinnakers (the pretty extra sail that comes out when they run with the wind). Blue lake. Blue sky. White sails. White boats. White clouds forming over the land promising a good wind for the races. Simply stunning. A good day to have a camera and some time on hand.

Thanks to Fleet 35 and the Marquette Yacht Club for a great event, and thanks to the fine folks on the boat Lattitude Adjustment that hauled me around.

Spinnakers! Lighthouse! Superior Dome!
Matching outfits

Red shark boat has my bet every time

Many sheets to the wind

A wet lunch-Jimmy Johns delivers

I'm a sucker for patterns

Little ladies on a big wind

Wednesday Waterfall: Agawa Falls, Agawa River, Ontario

Writer Conor Mihell views Agawa Falls in flood while canoeing the Agawa River.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Holy Crap I'm a winner in The Great Outdoors photography contest!

I am pleased to have been chosen as a winner in the Photo District News Great Outdoors photography contest. An image shot this spring of sea kayaking along the icy cliffs of Lake Superior of Michigan's Upper Peninsula was selected in the Outdoor Sports and Activities category.

This is the first contest I've entered, and frankly, I'm not a contest guy. I've always been sort of "who cares" when it comes to competition in general. Work hard, be kind, do good work (enjoy the paycheck) and move on has been more my mantra. But after having a humble image of new work chosen from among lots and lots of peers, and seeing my name side-by-side with other winners like The North Face's Jimmy Chin (my hero; Nat Geo guy), Woods Wheatcroft (hero; cool name) and Peter Lik (landscape icon) I can see how this could get addicting.

Backstory: This silly picture was made on the first "date night" my wife and I had enjoyed in several months. Grandma and grandpa came up, stayed with our little squeelers and we, for some reason, decided sea kayaking in the ice in March was a good idea. So much for a "hot" date. Thanks to my wonderful wife for stumbling down this crazy path of life with me. And thanks to good friend Sam Crowley, paddler extraordinaire, for crashing date night to enjoy a beautiful afternoon on the water.

Finally, thanks to Lake Superior and the rugged, pristine shores of Michigan's Upper Peninsula for providing the amazing backdrop that allows me to do my work.

For a look at the gallery of winners from the 2012 PDN Great Outdoors photography contest visit: