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  • Writer's pictureMeg Ryan

The Story Part 1 - South Manitou

January and February can be near colorless, cloud covered days here in the Midwest. For photographers, whose medium is light and it's manipulation that can pose some challenges for landscape photographers. So I've been doing a little self-exploration on creativity, and photography - reading books, perusing other photographer's work, re-processing old images with a fresh eye and new skills.


One of these books challenges photographers to ask themselves a series of questions about their work to drive toward their best work. One of those questions is whether the photograph tells a story and what story that is.


A few examples in my work came to mind and I'm going to spend a few of these posts to revisit mostly brighter days.


South Manitou Island, Michigan


Summer of 2019 - The Great Lakes are all at record high levels not seen in 20+ years. I was seeking adventure and a place less frequented and settled on an August week on Lake Michigan - South Manitou Island 8 miles off the main land of Michigan. A place that I stared at in the distance longing to hop the ferry to on a family trip years ago. A place home to microbears (chipmunks with an affinity for snacks at campsites), rampant poison ivy with no deer to consume it, old farms and homes from a bygone era, primitive campsites. and South Manitou Island Light marking safe passage through the straight.


It was a particularly rough ferry ride over - one that was nearly delayed by the rough lakes. The first night, we wandered around the light at sunset after carrying our kayaks a half mile since even the bay was too rough for passage that first night.


The combination of rough seas, high waters, and a passing front lead to this unique capture with the lighthouse reflected in a receding wave's water. Now - I immediately fell in love with this scene - but it took several attempts at post processing to really bring out the life and feeling of being there.


The final result:


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