Photo #10: Au Sable Institute

Spent the weekend at the snow-ridden Au Sable Institute, which is near Mancelona, Michigan, but not near Au Sable, Michigan… in case you were wondering. I went up there with a dozen or two young adults from my church. It was a great weekend full of conversation, games, food, and firsts in snow shoeing and broom ball for me.

Not much went on photography-wise until my snow shoe adventure Sunday morning. The Lord dumped a couple inches of fresh power on the land over night and broke the clouds up enough to give me some good picture opportunities.

20 minutes in, I almost turned around and headed back to warm my frigid hands before taking any decent pictures. I was tiring of taking my gloves off to manipulate camera controls and swap lenses. But, I decided to push on and kept a bit more active to keep the blood flowing. When I passed through the wooded area onto the frozen lake, I actually got quite warm. The sun’s rays were bouncing all over because of the reflective white blanket of snow and absent shade.

So, this is my favorite of the bunch. It was one I had to wait a cold-while to get. When the wind would gust, it would knock snow from the branches and fill the air with a brilliant dusty glow–the sun’s back-lighting making it all possible. Back-lighting always makes for interesting exposure situations, as does a high-contrast frame.

This one also marks the importance of not just looking forward and sideways, but also backward, when hiking around for pictures. Turning around in snow shoes isn’t the easiest thing to do, requiring high, wide, awkward, precarious steps. But I had to utilize several 180s and some slowly-but-surely backward-stepping to line myself up for the proper frame.

See a few others in my Flickr gallery of the Au Sable trip.

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.

7 Comments

Krista

about 11 years ago

Very beautiful. I love that place in the winter when there is lots of snow. Sometimes you don't want to walk around because it might mess up the untouched snow. I miss going there for retreats. You know that Au Sable is one of the places that helped me change my major from Science to Business. All because I didn't want to spend an extra semester in Michigan. Then God lead me to Michigan to live for 5 years. It is a funny story, and then when I worked at SAU, we went there for our retreats...it was just ironic to me. But I did love walking around the grounds there...so beautiful!

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Emily

about 11 years ago

Amazing! Makes me want to go snowshoeing and be in the woods! I was struck by your comment, "The Lord dumped a couple inches of fresh power on the land over night and broke the clouds up enough to give me some good picture opportunities." It just got me to thinking about the good gifts God gives us. The thought that what if God dumped the snow and broke up the clouds just for you to see and capture on "film". And, thinking of the "wow" moments when I've loved the scene in front of me and wondered if anyone else noticed it or if God painted it just for me, just because of His unending, unfathomable, incomprehinsible love for His children. I've heard several sermons where preachers declare, "if you were the only one in need of salvation, Jesus still would have gone to the cross." I believe it; its a great assurance and testament of His love, but I love the "little" moments and scenes where He declares His love to us as well.

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Crystal

about 11 years ago

Seriously Joel! I had to watch the slideshow twice because those pictures are so awesome. It only reinforces the decision that someday when I have my own house I will be covering multiple walls with your photography. I don't just like your pictures. They actually bring a unique form of restoration to my soul when I look at them. Keep'm comin!

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Joel

about 11 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, peeps. It's encouraging. Krista... seriously. "Life unpredictable" is so perfect. You have the most random stuff going on. Always love your stories. Emily: I like that thought. I'll take it :) Interesting wording, Crystal, with "unique form of restoration." The Lord named me a Restorer at the Wild at Heart Boot Camp and, in my mind, I had never rolled my photography into that calling... But I guess it makes sense that there would be a sort of restorative anointing that flows when I'm operating in a gift.

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Shelby

about 11 years ago

Wish you and your camera had been with me Wednesday evening between Bainbridge and Cairo, Georgia, (bet you never been there) where I witnessed a beautiful rainbow from left to right as I was driving eastward, as if I was driving right under it, and could see the sun setting in my rearview mirror!!! I have never seen such a site and all I could do was call Bob on my cell phone and try to describe it to him. I know it was a gift from God as He had answered soooooo many prayers that day while I had my Mama at the hospital and at the doctors office, trying to find the source of a problem she has had for almost ayear. The Lord answered all of our prayers by providing a diagnosis which will be taken care of with some routine surgery. PRAISE THE LORD! I am so thankful that He sends us visible reminders of His love on a daily basis.

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Jessica

about 11 years ago

Joel, your pictures are beautiful. I love Michigan and your pictures remind me why I love the winter too. A fresh blanket of glittering snow always reminds me that Christ can make anything in or around me fresh and new overnight. I think we all need that at times. I went camping in the woods near Caseville on January 1st about ten years ago. I'll never forget the overwhelming deep sense of adoration I felt for the beauty of winter when I crawled out of my tent to find a fresh blanket of snow still falling from the heavens. I wish I had a camera that day.

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