Friday, August 07, 2009

Porcupine Mountains Trip 2009

Overlooked falls
Overlooked Falls, Finepix S2

I have lived in Michigan for a few months more than 28 years. I have made numerous lengthy trips to the Upper Peninsula, and have been all over it -- except for one area, the Porcupine Mountains. Finally, this past week I made a brief visit to the Porkies with my wife Adrienne, my daughter Marjorie, and her GF, Stephanie. We stayed at the Superior Shores Resort, in a nice cottage right on the shoreline of Lake Superior. It was a nice base to have, to able to make our meals there, have the waves crashing not 70 feet from our bedroom window, and be just a short drive from the Porcupine Mountains State Park. It was nice having Steph and Jorie prepare the meals, too.

Two peas
Jorie and Stephanie, shot on Ektar 100.

We went on several forays to view various waterfalls, hike some trails, and enjoy nature. The weather was excellent, never really hot, and although we didn't hit every spot, I think we came away wanting to see more next time, which is a good thing. Photographically, I kept my equipment fairly simple for this trip -- a recently acquired Fuji Finepix S2 Pro (which I found on ebay for $220), 18-50mm, 50mm 1.8, 70-200 Nikkor, lensbaby, and various ND and polarizing filters; Nikon F3HP, 50mm 1.4, 24mm 2.8, 90mm Tamron macro, and 80-200 f4. Also brought my "new" Great Wall medium format SLR that I bought on ebay from a seller in China. Oh, and a Bogen tripod w/ball head -- it is my lighter of two Bogen/Manfrotto tripods, and in retrospect, wish that I had brought the heavier one.

I really enjoyed shooting with the Fuji Finepix S2 -- ergonomically better than my D70, with sensible controls and the ability to also shoot b&w. I still need to do more work on some dirt removal from the sensor. Makes me think that my next "new" DSLR might be a FinePix if they come out with a full-frame version. However, that's a way down the road.

I shot three rolls of Kodachrome 64 -- the last of it that I will ever shoot, so doing it on a vacation is a very fitting end of such a unique film. I'll send those off to Dwayne's photo for processing next week. Look for images sometime in September.

The waterfalls are varied, ranging from small intimate falls on Union Creek and the Carp River that are very photogenic, to quite large falls on the Presque Isle River. Outside the park, we found Bonanza falls on the Big Iron River, which were a favorite. Farther west, we briefly visited Conglomerate and Potawatomi falls on the Black River. However, you can't really get close to those falls, as the viewing platforms are high above the river. Probably a good thing at high water. So, our favorites were smaller waterfalls that we could explore from every angle.
Bonanza Falls 2
one aspect of Bonanza Falls

If you want to capture the water over a long exposure, use at least one ND4 filter and your lowest ISO setting. I suggest using a polarizer and an ND4 filter for best results unless you are shooting very late in the day.

Greenstone Falls
Greenstone Falls

Overall, it was an excellent, if short trip. I think if I lived in the UP, I would be out shooting almost every day.

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