I went back home for the weekend and decided to see the fall colors of Northern Michigan. To plan my trip, I visited the Michigan web site to discover the best spots near Detroit. I looked for a location that provided beautiful overlooks without hiking. I wanted to get out the car, capture the images, and keep it rolling. I discovered the River Road National Scenic Byway, a 22-mile drive, containing multiple overlooks. There was one problem. The destination is nearly a four-hour drive from Detroit, in addition to the eight hours required of me to get into the city.
I didn’t want to travel solo this time and my Mom discovered her inner-explorer every since she visited me in Europe. Now my roadside companion, she said she would ride with me to Oscoda where the road begins–or ends depending on your direction. We traveled during the afternoon and spent the night at a nearby hotel. We began shortly after sunrise, the next morning, to begin our journey.
Photographer’s Note: The long shadows and the reddish tint on our faces was caused by the sun’s low placement along the horizon. This time is often called “The Golden Hour“.
Early in our trip we stopped at the Foote Dam Fishing Access and encounter several fly fishermen. The sun was relatively low in the horizon. Therefore, some trees were in the shade and others were frontally lit. We traveled to several overlooks and parking areas to view the colors (Foote Pond, Lumberman’s Monument Visitor’s Center, and some additional sites as well).
As we headed to another overlook, the dense forest provided another photo opportunity. I wanted to capture the light filtering through the trees. I stopped down the aperture to achieve the sunburst effect.
The overlooks were truly impressive. The sweeping vistas made composing the shots easy. I used my circular polarizer (CP) and it helps filter reflections. This provides richer colors in the trees and deeper blues from the water. Some post-processing from Lightroom 3 didn’t hurt either.
We stopped at a parking lot to view the scenery. That’s when I saw this fiery red tree bursting with color beckoning me to take its picture. It appears as if the tree moved in front of the larger green pine just for this photo op.
I did not take any solitary or macro photos of leaves. I did capture the leaves of one tree that had beautiful dark colors. With the rich blue sky serving as a background, I captured this tree and the polarizer again provided a color boost.
As the sun approached the summit, the cloudless day provided amazingly and unusual warm weather for this time of year. Also, the sun began to wash out the colors. Therefore, we headed home after spending over three hours on that route.
I’ve visited quite a few states. However, I have not seen many places in Michigan. I was glad we seized the opportunity to enjoy one of the many traits that makes autumn in my state special and forever my home.