In the Summer when the air is hot and humid my thoughts turn North in hopes of cooler temperatures and the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. This year I attempted to keep a little Polaroid journal of interesting things I saw while I was there. I like photos of shopping carts in a Conga Line ready to break out in dance. This is inspired by a photograph by Carl Root and I think about his photos every time I see carts lined up in a row like this.
Old trucks are a great subject for old Polaroid cameras (and old Polaroid photographers). This one was in Sawyer at the produce market.
We spotted this restored truck for sale on Highway 12 on the other side of New Buffalo, MI.
Had to stop for this shot of a Morris Minor with the steering wheel on the right side. It’s parked by the Jewelry store in Lakeside.
Going to Michigan is really about the lake and the different moods created by the sun, wind and waves. The days are long and lazy but the week always seems to end too soon.
Just a couple of quick shots from Father’s Day in Chicago. The city is a treat even in small bites but it always makes me wish for more time to spend there wandering and watching.
October was a blur of many photo shoots. Car shoots, Costume shoots, Baby shoots, Fall Foliage shoots, Vacation shoots and chilly outdoor location shoots. Then Super Storm Sandy hit the East Coast and made everything else trivial. Big storms always make me think back to my own disaster days and all the places I have traveled to in the aftermath of earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. Television coverage is a pale representation of the actual event and nothing can prepare you for the emotion of seeing large scale destruction first hand. There is nothing you can say to people in the first hours or days following such complete loss. I’m fortunate because along with all that I have also witnessed the resolve and determination that follows. People are simply amazing when faced with adversity. A lot of things will be rebuilt and reinvented in the months to follow. In many ways I wish I could be there to see it and to participate in the experience somehow.
October is over now, it’s time to begin new things and to give thanks for everything and everyone we love.
A big thanks to my boys and to Bob Honz at Gateway BMW Motorcycles for a fun weekend with perfect weather, good company and a chance to recall everything I don’t know about riding motorcycles off road or the more politically correct “off highway.” There is nothing like being around a bunch of really skilled and talented people to make you feel like a hopeless idiot. Once I got past my white knuckle fear of death and dismemberment I had some fun in small doses. The heart was happy but the head kept saying, “Don’t do it you old fool.” Luckily my main goal was to take a few photos while standing safely on the ground.
This morning I woke up and got a cramp in my leg right away. Then I noticed that my left ankle was still slightly sprained. Not from riding motorcycles but from tripping over something in the dark I think. Next I spotted the new Patagonia Catalog in a stack of mail on the table. The pages were filled with people hanging off the side of mountains or skiing down impossible cliffs… Yeah, that helped my low self-esteem. It seems like everywhere I turn there are things to remind me of adventures missed or out of reach.
Icarus said, “All limitations are self imposed.” Can this possibly be true and how old was he when he said that? I’m willing to concede that there is a lot of truth in that statement but people also do a lot of foolish things when they ignore their limits or have none. Sometimes you can fly too high or too fast. Sometimes you have to ignore all your instincts and put your weight on the outside peg.
“What are you going to do in Michigan?”
Going to Michigan has no agenda, no schedules and no purpose. We know we will go to the beach, stare at the sky and make lazy excursions in search of art and antiques. There will be frequent stops to find the best pastry, pie, fruit and berries… but there is no pre-imposed order to things. One hour naps will stretch to… many hours.
The midday sun is hot but not nearly as brutal as it is at home. We seek the shade and when there is none we retreat to the car or the cottage to read books or work on photos and drawings. It’s the lack of interruption that pleases me the most. Being able to follow a single thought from beginning to end is grand.
Inspiration and ideas are everywhere, the trick is being able to see and appreciate them. Sometimes a change of venue is needed, something like a reset switch to get everything back in working order again.
Long languid conversations with strangers about local gossip, tragedies and shared connections make the days fly past while adding to the fabric of our idealized version of this place.
Each day I stay later and later at the beach until it is deserted. I sit and watch the sky slide into darkness and then turn to climb the wooden steps that lead over the dune to our quiet little cottage.
Last week Debbie and I flew to New York and rented an electric car to drive to the end of Long Island. We stopped at the Montauk Yacht Club and got a ship shape room with a view of the water. We didn’t go fishing but I did take a snapshot of this photo hanging on the wall.
These are iPhone photos of ship models at the Yacht Club Inn. The iPhone is great for capturing little details along the way.
Fish for dinner at the mostly empty Yacht Club restaurant. Not much is open this week in Montauk but we don’t care because the weather is perfect and it is quiet except for the sound of wind and waves. After dinner the Chef provides marshmallows and wooden skewers for the fire blazing outside on the patio. We providee shortbread cookies dipped in dark chocolate that we brought with us from home but never had time to eat until now.
This one is from the big camera. If you look closely you can see the big black dog on the right. We arrived too late to take a tour of the light house but I was happy just taking photos as the sun set.
This is a good example of what the weather was like all week. Cool nights, sunny days.
They say that Montauk is a drinking village with a fishing problem. This guy seems to have an opinion on the subject and he doesn’t mind sharing it.
A mess of nets and rope… Tools of the fishing trade.
“The Villas” nestled in between the Coast Guard Station and the Yacht Club. I love the shadow of myself in the corner showing my inner tourist. It’s a salute to the snapshot, often under-rated but so clever and precise at showing us the world as it is and making us hungry for all those details that we once thought of as distractions.