Point Lobos and Soberanes Point

Point Lobos B&W-2034-2I recently attended a conference on the Monterey Peninsula in California.  This gave me the opportunity to shoot some photos at Point Lobos and Soberanes Point near Carmel-by-the-Sea.  I was excited to have this chance. The great photographer Edward Weston (1886-1958) lived nearby in a cabin on Wildcat Hill, beginning in 1938.  Weston was a spiritual leader of the Straight Photography movement.  Point Lobos was a frequent subject of Weston’s work in the later years of his life.  Of the cypress trees on the point he wrote:

Poor abused cypress, — photographed in all their picturesqueness by tourists, ‘pictorialists,’ etched, painted, and generally vilified by every self-labeled ‘artist.’ But no one has done it — to my knowledge — as I have, and will.

I took that not as a challenge but as an opportunity to draw inspiration from the rocks, trees and water that once inspired Weston.

Today, Point Lobos is a state reserve with numerous trails over its 554 acres.

Point Lobos

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I hiked the Cypress Grove Trail, which passes through one of only two remaining naturally growing stands of Monterey cypress trees anywhere on Earth.

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The trail leads to the Pinnacle and North Point.

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The Pinnacle
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North Point
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North Point

The twisted rings in this cypress root tell the tale of a life battling the elements on Point Lobos.

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Cypress Cove as seen along the Cypress Grove Trail.

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The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a refuge for Harbor Seals, Southern Sea Otters, and California Sea Lions, among many other species.  These sea lions are resting in China Cove along the Bird Island Trail.

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After his death, Weston’s ashes were spread at Point Lobos on what is known as Weston Beach, where I took these photos.

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Unfortunately, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve closes each day at 5:00 p.m in November, so it is not possible to shoot at sunset.  Farther down Route 1, however is the Rocky Ridge Trail at Soberanes Point.  On my last evening on the peninsula, I headed there to take these shots:

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Where Are the Fall Colors?

Yesterday, I left Grand Rapids at 4:20 a.m. to get to Bass Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore an hour before sunrise.  I had shot some photos at Bass Lake and the adjacent Otter Lake back in July. Back then I thought what a great place to visit in the fall, when the trees had some color.  Driving north yesterday in the dark, I was filled with anticipation. But, when the sun came up, the trees gave only a hint of fall.  That was true throughout the park – it is all still really green.

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Still, the scene was beautiful and worth the drive.

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As I waited for the sun to rise, I watched the setting moon reflected among the reeds in the water.

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After breakfast, I headed over to Point Oneida, an area the always intrigues me.  Driving along Baker Road, a two track road that bisects the point, I spied this view of the Carsten Burfield farm, with Lake Michigan in the background.

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Turning the camera just a bit gave me this view of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

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The farm buildings on Point Oneida are striking in their simplicity.

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While there was little color at Sleeping Bear, I witnessed some beautiful color on the drive home.  I stopped by the High Rollaway Overlook near Buckley, which I visited in September. Though not at peak, the colors were still breathtaking.

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Imagine what it will look like next week.

Closer to home

I stayed home this weekend, without plans to shoot.  But, the fog early yesterday had me running for my camera and heading up to Pickerel Lake.  Along the way I stopped to take a photo of this red gate that has always caught my attention.IMG_9749_50_51

At Pickerel Lake, the fog did not disappoint. (Click on photos to see larger.)

I headed back this morning to take these two photos.  I attempted them yesterday, but was disappointed with the results.

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Another trip to Sleeping Bear

Once again, I headed up to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore very early yesterday morning, this time to catch the sunrise on Otter and Bass Lakes. The two lakes are a stone’s throw from each other south of Empire. After breakfast, I took a short walk up to Lookout Point on the Bay View Trail and then a longer hike on the trail at the old Treat Farm. That trail climbs up a dune the top of which offers a dramatic 360 degree view. After lunch, I came home along M22, through Frankfort, Arcadia, Portage Lake and Manistee, stopping to climb the Arcadia Bluff lookout. A spectacular day up north.

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Bass Lake

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The view from Lookout Point on the Bay View Trail 

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The Treat Farm Trail

The path to the Treat Farm begins at the Tweedle Farm on Norconk Road. The Tweedle family settled in the area around 1840 and established their farm at this location around 1895.

(The following photos have captions. To read them, scroll over the photo.)

The Arcadia Bluff Overlook

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Once More to the North

Once more to the north to shoot photos. Since the sun rises earlier each day, I had to get up even earlier to make the three hour drive and get to my shooting location before sunrise. Up at 3:00 a.m. and out the door by 3:15.

I started shooting on Good Harbor Bay, where Shalda Creek enters Lake Michigan. I had to share the area with a beaver, who was none too happy with my presence. I enjoyed shooting in “blue hour” before sunrise . . .

and the “golden hour” immediately after sunrise.

All that was missing, besides a good cup of coffee, was some clouds to make the sky more interesting.

From there, I headed back towards Glen Arbor, stopping at the Olsen Farm and along Thorosen Road to take a shot I envisioned a couple of weeks ago, when I was scouting the territory.

I next put on my waders and set up my tripod in the middle of the Crystal River, a meandering river that winds back and forth for seven miles from its origin on Fisher Lake to where it enters Lake Michigan.

The final stop was the Empire Bluff Trail, which offered a spectacular view of Sleeping Bear Dune.

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