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Photography and adventure in Tawas.

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by , 01-19-2009 at 12:38 PM (1612 Views)
On Saturday (1/17/09) I decided it'd be fun to get some "snowy lighthouse" pictures. So I went online and found that a close, publicly accessable lighthouse would be the Tawas Point Lighthouse. So I got up a the butt-crack of dawn (5am for me) on Sunday, got ready and headed out. It's a 2hr drive to Tawas, MI from here so I was hoping to make sunrise.

After getting some McD's breakfast, gas, and a little miscommunication between me and my GPS, it turned into a 3hr drive. The drive was crazy. Most of the way was regular snow driving, packed snow roads, 4wd, 50mph. The last couple miles got really interesting. The roads hadn't been plowed too recently but had been driven on, they were passable without concern.

When I gt to the park that the lighthouse is a part of the roads were knarly. 2ft drifts abounded and at times I did worry about getting stuck but I made to to the parking lot in front of the lighthouse and parked in a shallow spot.

It was furry-ing and beautiful. I snapped some pictures with my Fuji gw690, which jammed on me again. As it turns out, the Fuji really doesn't like cold weather. It runs test rolls through just fine at home.

I switched to my Koni-Omega which cares much less about the ambient temperature for whatever reason. I saw a point behind the lighthouse and a trail and thought "Hey that'd be a cool shot looking back at the lighthouse!" I started down the trail, which was deceptively easy at the outset.

After several hundred yards it turned into snow drifts which I initially just walked through or around. Finally the trail became impassable without snowshoes. I headed to a higher trail hoping just to catch a glimpse of the lighthouse which I did just over the trees. I saw a higher sand dune and decided the higher vantage point was the best I'd be willing make of this jaunt. I snapped some more pictures and started back.

It was one of those times when the experience could have easily been better than the images. I had so much fun tackling and overcoming the challenges, just seeing the sites, and doing something that I assume *very* few people do, the images almost became secondary.

Lake Huron in January is quite a sight to behold. Instead of water to the horizon, it's ice and snow. I looks like Hoth from "Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back" as far as the eye can see.

The trip back initailly wasn't any easier, both walking and driving. I finally made it back to the Jeep with wet boots, snow covered pants, and a roll and a half of TriX 320 (220) shot. After about 10min driving home, the sun broke through the clouds and I realized how lucky I was. Had the sun been out earlier I thing the contrast would have been too great for good images.

Later that evening I developed (Xtol, 6:15) the completed roll and the film looks good. A little thick but it sort of should look a little thick. I was generall shooting 1 stop under incident, which was also 1 stop over reflected. I was going for bright but not blown snow and sky. I don't yet have a spot meter so this is how I roll.

The whole thing had me thinking. What would be better: the experience or the images? I still haven't decided. I'm in my mid 30's and a bit rather pudgey. I was reminded of the frequent winter hikes I took when I was in college. I was quite pleased I could still do it despite being able to body double for private Pile in FMJ. Sure it was harder now than it was then. It is, however, still possible. I was a real "Now *this* is what photography is about!" moment for me. I just wanted to share.

Updated 01-19-2009 at 02:03 PM by jmxphoto



  1. Fixcinater's Avatar
    Sounds like you had a great day of photography. Sure, the images may not be breath-taking, or blow even your own socks off, but you got out there, had fun with your camera and will remember the day for a long time coming, I'd bet.

    Thanks for posting this, I enjoyed reading it, even as I sit in sunny San Diego after shooting beach/surfing pictures yesterday in shorts and a t-shirt. I grew up in the northern Midwest and sometimes miss the vast changes in climate and scenery that came with the seasons. North Shore of Lake Superior is a sight to behold, and Duluth, MN is beautiful in it's own way in mid-winter.
  2. jmxphoto's Avatar
    Here's a shot from the excursion:



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