Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Favorite Places: From Readers & Pros
For real estate and nature photography, there’s nothing as important as location. Check out this selection of diverse places around the country so you can be in the right place to get your shots.
Armando Mendoza, Wind Point, Wisconsin
The shore of Lake Michigan is an amazing place to shoot during winter nights, even with the subzero temperatures. It exudes an irresistible pull because of its beautiful scenery, making me want to come back again and again. Looking over Lake Michigan gives you an endless expanse of water stretching out past the horizon, almost seeming as big as an ocean. The feeling of calmness makes it perfect to meditate and enjoy the winter scenery, making patterns and textures along the frozen shoreline a joy to photograph during the winter months. Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm ƒ/3.5-5.6
Saylorville Lake is my favorite spot because it’s magical and close to home. When most people are still sleeping, I sneak out here well before the sun rises, set up my gear and wait. The calm waters in this backwater area allow you to bring color into the foreground of your image, which adds to the overall impact. When the moment is right, the skies seem aflame for a few minutes, or just seconds. In the golden hours of the day, this place feels like the heavens opened up to give you a special glimpse inside. Nikon D70, Nikkor 70-300mm ƒ/4.5-5.6
Although Juniper Island is privately owned, there are several islands in Frazer Bay within the Superior National Forest. Juniper Island has been in my wife’s family for 35 years. Not only is this a place for summer relaxation and family get-togethers, but it’s also where my wife and I were married and where my passion for photographing landscapes began. I’ve been capturing images here for 10-plus years—everything from colorful water and skies to plants, textures and wildlife. Nikon N80, Tamron 24-135mm ƒ/3.5-5.6
My favorite place is Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands. These archipelagos have 22 islands, 21 of which are part of the National Park Service, and can be accessed primarily by boat. Anytime you photograph around Lake Superior, the lake changes personality almost daily. Storms roll in, and you get fog or calm waters that offer a wide variety of visual moments to capture. Images of sailboats, kayaks, rock formations and pristine, sandy beaches push one toward the shore in the mornings and evenings. Striking rock formations are prevalent everywhere, and the color of Lake Superior changes as one moves about the islands. It’s a crystal-clear body of water that commands the respect of visitors. Wildlife often can be seen near the shoreline in the early-morning hours, and early-morning dew always gives the photographer numerous options. The beaches are sandy, the nights black, and Superior offers as many personalities as the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.
Essential Gear: First and foremost, bring a tripod. You’ll find lots of use for it in the gorgeous low light in the Apostles. Because I’m around water, I pack all my lenses and cameras inside dry bags when paddling. I use the Lowepro Nature Trekker AW II photo backpack because it holds lots of gear. It’s waterproof and wears comfortably, but don’t forget to bring some dry bags for packing gear when you’re on the water.
Getting There: A good way to travel is to ferry your kayak and gear on one of the shuttles based in Bayfield and get dropped off, and Stockton Island is the perfect spot. My usual form of travel here is by sea kayak. If you choose not to kayak, the shuttle service also can take you and the camping gear to Stockton Island and pick you up, too.
Note: * denotes pro photographer
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