Over Thanksgiving I traveled home to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. I enjoy taking my camera and seeing what I can discover while I am there. I had a list of places I wanted to go for photos and I made it to almost all of them.
One plan I had was to photograph some of the dams that make up part of the Shiawassee River. This river flows through my town and there are various dams along its path. I had originally wanted to photograph a few of these. I was able to accomplish… one. Sometimes when I’m home there just isn’t enough time. But the afternoon I arrived I bugged my dad to show me where one of the nearby dams was and we headed out there even though it was cold.
This particular dam is in Corunna, MI. From the photo you can see the cement portion of the previous dam. There used to be a mill at this location and that is what is left. Apparently, in the summer, they will be re-doing this whole dam and removing it. Instead, they will be placing large boulders. To me, that sounds good because I imagine it will cause a cascade-type effect which would be far prettier to photograph. I did not make it to other Shiawassee Dams but maybe I will in the future. Another item on my list was barns. I was told that barns sell well at shows and so I had a plan. Thankfully, there are numerous bars around my hometown. I took photos of a bunch while my daughter drove. A few didn’t turn out as good as I would have hoped but I got one that is perfection. Funny enough, I shot it with my phone. I hadn’t grabbed my camera yet and I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve already sold two prints of it.
I also wanted to photography my downtown. Owosso is a quaint town that has seen a bit of a revitalization as of late. There are now some really cute shops and one fantastic coffee place. Fosters Coffee has some of the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. At this visit I simply got a white mocha latte. The best part is it isn’t overly sweet (like some places). The flavor is subtle and you still have the richness of the Espresso. We took our time to support Small Business Saturday in town and I loved taking photos of the architecture. Much of it has remained unchanged since the early 1900s.
On Thanksgiving we headed to my brother’s house in Holland, MI. After sufficiently stuffing ourselves with incredible food we headed to Mt. Pigsah. I had never climbed this “mountain” so I was excited. It consists of 239 steps and once you reach the top you can see Lake Macatawa to the east and Lake Michigan to the west. There is a trail that continues through the area but we did not have time to take it. We, instead, headed to Holland State Park to see the sunset.
The wind was whipping pretty hard at the beach. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t feel my face or fingers. I had hoped the sky would clear a bit for the sunset and instead it cleared completely. And while that is nice, it does mean less drama. I took photos of the Harbor Light (Big Red) and the golden tones on the beach. I felt pretty happy with my advancement of my photography skills to take some cool longer-exposure shots of the sunset. I wasn’t quite sure how they would turn out but I am pleased with them. When we finally got back to the car, my whole body was frozen (keep in mind the temperature was only about 44 so it wasn’t even that cold. Yes, I have lost all ability to survive Michigan winters).
The last item on my list was The Polar Express. You may wonder about that because don’t a bunch of cities have rides on trains that they call The Polar Express? Yes. However, none of those are actually on the very train used as the model for the movie The Polar Express. That steam engine lives right in my hometown and can be classified as THE Polar Express. The last time I tried to photograph the train I failed miserably. I didn’t know what I was doing so I was excited to try again. Because we missed the morning trip, we headed down to the train depot around 5:00 pm. The sun was setting so this makes for a difficult shoot. Low light and fast train. I found a good spot to set up my tripod until a vehicle came and parked right in front of it. Words were exchanged and it was declared that I owned that whole parking lot so they eventually moved. The trail started and I shot off a bunch of photos hoping at least one would be good. After it left the station I hopped back in the car and raced back to my parent’s house. Please note that “raced” is a liberal term I applied to going 22-25 mph behind a car that was going the exact place as me and there was no way to get around them.
We got to the train tracks down the street and I jumped out, ran across to a brush area, and had just enough time to pop my camera on the tripod before it flew past us. I felt pretty confident about these photos because I had positioned my car to shine its headlights on the train. I’m pretty pleased with a few of the photos. Next time, I will take a large light and only be at the tracks down the road and have someone shine the light as I take photos (or, you know, catch the morning train when there is light).
Overall, it was a great trip. I love my photos. I think that I really captured my hometown and the rural area where I grew up. If you’d like to see all of my photos please click on the link below. Prints area available (just comment here if you’re interested).