Go See Do Photography

The Photo Blog of Mowers Photography, LLC

Tag: Michigan (Page 1 of 2)

Early Season Camping

Spring is in the Air

Trees at Crosswinds Marsh

This past weekend, we made our inaugural camping trip of the season. The weather was beautiful and I just had the itch to get out and sleep under the stars. We drove to Holly Recreation Area just in time to set up camp in daylight and have a campfire. One of the nice things about camping near home is the reduced travel time gives you more time in camp. Since we don’t typically camp just to camp but to explore, we don’t usually stay overnight at our local parks. This was my first time at Holly Recreation Area and it was very quiet this early in the season. I look forward to returning in the future, maybe for another low key camping trip. Who knows?

If you are ever doing a spur of the moment camping trip like this, I have a few little tips for you. I would recommend checking availability online before you leave. We were planning on going to Highland Recreation Area but after looking on the website, we discovered that to camp there in April and May you have to bring a horse. I was very glad I checked this before we left and we didn’t drive all the way out there before learning that. And of course, you could get all the way out to a campground only to find out that they are full and that wouldn’t be good either. So, I suggest that you check the website before you leave, but do not book a last minute trip online. Most campground reservation systems charge you a processing fee, but if you book at the campground they do not. By booking at the park, we saved some money and it didn’t take any additional time to check in.

Just for clarification, the above photo is from Crosswinds Marsh not Holly Recreation Area. We weren’t really at the park long enough to explore and take pictures. Maybe we will come back another time to capture it and share it here.

If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Learning From Classic Art

For my husband’s birthday we were given a membership to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Since then, we have taken three trips to the museum and it is very interesting to look at these famous works of art through the eyes of a photographer.  So often, as photographers we have heard these rules about composition (rule of thirds anyone?) and lighting (no harsh shadows, EVER!) but when you look at paintings that are hanging on the wall in a famous museum, you see that if you break these rules, that is OK!

Yes, there are paintings that depict magic hour and dramatic sunsets, but more of them show blue skies, puffy clouds, and mid-day shadows. I have even seen some portraits with a shadow on the subject’s face. You post a photo like that in a photography group on Facebook, and watch out, you are going to hear about it! What is my point? Don’t get bogged down by all of these photography “rules” . Do visit an art museum and study the works of art. Discover what it is that makes them good enough to be hanging in a museum. Most importantly, get out there and shoot! Don’t let these “rules” make you lose your inspiration!

If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Gardens in Winter

Winter Waterfall

After two days of photographing sports for the State Games of Michigan, we stopped to take in the scenery at Meijer Gardens. I had never experienced it in winter and as long as you are dressed appropriately and temper your expectations (sorry, but the gardens are not in bloom this time of year, but you can still enjoy the flowers in the greenhouses) it really is a good experience. The blanket of white totally changes the feel of the sculpture park.

The waterfall, pictured above, was probably one of my favorite parts. I have photographed the waterfall numerous times before, but the lighting in the middle of a summer day is not ideal. Afternoon in the winter, though, makes for much better photo. The snow adds more contrast to the rocks and trees and I really liked the footprints going towards the flowing water.

Continuing this year’s winter theme: Don’t let the cold keep you from photography and experiencing familiar places in a new way! I would never have thought about exploring the gardens in the winter (nothing is in bloom, right?) but I am very glad we stopped and got to see another side of one of our favorite Michigan spots!

There is still time to vote for my photo in the State Games of Michigan photo contest! Like, comment, and/or share to vote! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Lighthouse

St. Joseph Light

West Michigan Winter

South Haven Lighthouse

As I mentioned last week, we recently took a trip out to Lake Michigan to capture the beautify its lighthouses in winter. As we learned last year on our day trip to Muskegon, the weather out there can be unpredictable. When we left our house, the sun was shining. By the time we were west of Kalamazoo, it because obvious that we were travelling at the end of a snow storm. After I returned home, I checked social media and learned that along Lake Michigan it had snowed for eight days straight. Needless to say, the roads were treacherous and the locals must have had a bad case of cabin fever, because shortly after we reached the lighthouse in St. Joseph, it seemed like we we not the only ones to have the idea to explore and photograph the lighthouse.

After we got all the shots we wanted, we decided to head north to South Haven while we still had some daylight. By the time we got there, the sun was setting and if it wasn’t for the lingering snow clouds, it would have been a stunning winter sunset. Alas, with the setting sun, the temperature was dropping and it was time for us to make our way back east. I am very glad we braved the frigid cold and the threat of snow to finally experience the beauty of these lighthouses in the winter when it would have been much easier to stay inside. I will be watching my instagram for the lighthouses to turn into ice castles and I may have to return.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Tugboat

Tugboat

Lighthouse in Winter

Lighthouse in Winter

By now, I’m sure my regular readers are aware of my love of Michigan lighthouses. Many of my summer days are spent exploring the coastline and its beacons. Until this past weekend, I had never explored them in their winter splendor! So, even though the temperature was in the teens, this weekend I ventured to the west side of the state to see the frozen St. Joseph lighthouse.

This lighthouse is known for its beautiful ice formations in the winter and one shot of it actually showed up as my Windows 10 lock screen the other day. If you haven’t seen any pictures of it, check it out here. Even though it had snowed for the past eight days, there was a path worn through the snow on the pier out to the lighthouse. While it was cold and there were ice floats in the water, the lighthouse wasn’t as covered in ice as I was hoping. I didn’t get the shot that I was hoping for, but I was glad that I ventured out in the cold with my camera!

I encourage you to follow my lead and get out this winter! It is so easy to sit inside out of the cold, but that is not how memories and photos are made! This winter, get outside, explore new places, and go shoot! If you decide to venture out to lighthouses this winter, I suggest bringing along ice cleats (like these ones) so you don’t fall into the lake!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Zehnder’s

Zehnders

2017: A Year in Review

Untitled

Every year at the end of the year, I set the goal to go one place I’ve never gone to before. In 2017, I explored parts of Michigan I had never been to before and even made my way to the Atlantic Ocean. On our summer vacation, I really got a feel for American History, visiting Jamestown, Yorktown, several Civil War battlefields, and learning about the history of aviation at the Wright Brothers Monument.

We found a few new favorite campgrounds in Wilderness State Park near Mackinaw City and Tahquamenon Falls Rivermouth Pines. I learned that I should not tent camp in the south in the summer unless I want to turn my tent into an oven. I started a Facebook group for fellow Michigan tent campers called Michigan in Tents. It has been fun to get to talk with people who share the love of the outdoors without all the comforts of home. I am excited to begin planning for next summer and learning tips from other tent campers.

In 2017, I got my first chance to get into sports photography. In January, we photographed the State Games of Michigan shooting mainly skiing and basketball. In August we photographed the State Games of America and we got to shoot a myriad of sports from figuring skating to Cricket. I am excited to continue this journey and hone my skills in 2018.

I can’t forget the biggest thing that happened this year and the was the start of our new photography tour adventure, Guided Photography Tours. It has been fun sharing our love of photography and helping others improve their skills. We hope that in the near future, we will be able to actually take groups to some of our favorite locations!

In 2018 I hope to continue exploring my home state and beyond. I hope that I will continue to improve as a photographer and hopefully this year I can upgrade from my entry level gear. Want to know where I go and what I learn? Stay tuned to the blog and I’m sure I will let you know.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com</a

7 Reasons Why I Love Detroit

I Love Detroit

Detroit Skyline from Sunset Point on Belle Isle

And You Should Too! Lonely Planet recently named Detroit as the #2 city in the world to visit! It was the only city in the continental U.S. to make the list and after this list came out, I was surprised by all the negative comments from my fellow Michiganganders. Yes, Detroit has been hit hard since the race riots in the 60’s to the more recent corruption scandals and a bankruptcy filing. It seems that Detroit is finally making a comeback, but for some reason the locals can’t see the progress. I am here to tell you to give it a chance!

  1. Earlier in the year, Detroit was named an “unexpected food city” by National Geographic and once again, it was the only city listed in North America. The article sites Corktown favorites such as Slow’s Barbeque, and ethnic delights from Greektown (obviously Greek food prevails here), Hamtramack (Polish cuisine), and Dearborn (Middle Eastern eats). Alton Brown also listed Anthology Coffee in Detroit as one of his top 5 cups of coffee ever. I would say that’s high praise for the Detroit food scene and a reason that I should be more adventurous when dining in the D.
One Detroit Center

One Detroit Center

2.   Downtown Detroit is home to one of the greatest collection of pre-war skyscrapers in the world. From the Fisher and Guardian buildings to the more modern Renaissance Center, there is much beauty and history to be explored in the city. I love that Pure Detroit offers tours of several of these buildings from their stores and fill visitors in on the history and significance of these architectural marvels.

3.  If you are looking for a little culture, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a world class collection of art in an absolutely stunning building! Located in Midtown Detroit, it is within walking distance to the Detroit History Museum,  Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Science Center, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit as well as Wayne State University, The College of Creative Studies, and the beautiful Detroit Public Library. This is really the cultural hub of the city.

Diego Rivera Mural

The Spirit of Detroit by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts

4.  Speaking of culture, Detroit is also home to many beautiful theaters. Take in a show at The Fisher Theater, Fox Theater, Detroit Opera House, Masonic Temple, The Fillmore, or Orchestra Hall to name a few. The theater tradition in Detroit dates back to the 20’s with The Fox being the first theater to be built with film sound equipment. Part of the music for West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein was composed on the piano in the Fox Theater. Hello, Dolly actually premiered at The Fisher Theater before making its debut on Broadway. Orchestra Hall is home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the 4th oldest U.S. Orchestra. (wiki)

5.  Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons, oh my (sorry, no bears) now all reside within the city limits. In the late 90’s, in a plan to begin the revitalization of downtown, Ford Field (Lions) and Comerica Park (Tigers) were built adjacent to each other on Woodward Avenue. As of 2017, both the Pistons and Red Wings now play at the new Little Caesars Arena in Midtown. With the most Stanley Cup Championships of any NHL Team, Detroit is affectionately known as Hockeytown. With all of Detroit’s sports teams downtown, that is one more reason to visit the city during any season.

Scott Fountain

Another Belle Isle Highlight is the Scott Fountain

6.  I remember visiting Belle Isle about 15 years ago and it was rundown and desolate. In 2013, the State Park Service took over management of the park and has begun a beautiful restoration! The beautiful Belle Isle Aquarium which was the oldest continually operating public aquarium in the U.S. until it closed in 2005 is open again and is home to fish from around the world. Next door, The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is another Albert Kahn masterpiece full of beautiful palms, cacti, and ferns. I recently visited the Dossin Great Lakes Museum for the first time and I was truly impressed (expect an article on that at a later date). In the summer, visitors flock to the beaches to cool off in the Detroit River. Of course, a visit to Belle Isle would not be complete without a spot at Sunset Point to photograph the beautiful Detroit skyline (top).

7.  Of course, if you venture just outside the city there are some additional must-see attractions. Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford, known as “America’s Greatest History Attraction”, is made up of a collection of historic buildings with costumed reenactors at Greenfield Village, The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, and The Rouge Factory Tour. Of course there is also the Detroit Zoo, which despite its name is actually in Royal Oak. The highlight of the zoo is also the newest attraction, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center where you can get up close and personal with the penguins! Don’t miss the Outback exhibit either: the kangaroos can hop right up to you!

Butterfly on Flower 55/100

Butterfly at the Butterfly House at the Detroit Zoo

Like any major city, Detroit does have crime. Visitors just need to remain vigilant and stay in the tourist areas. Detroit is not a city where you want to go exploring off the beaten path. I have noticed on my recent visits to the city (which tend to be on weekends), there really don’t seem to be a lot of people around. Don’t let the negative press surrounding Detroit, keep you from experiencing this unique, impressive city.

Thanks for stopping by! To plan your trip to Detroit, check out VisitDetroit.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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