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.