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Photographing Michigan's "Upper Peninsula": A Guide to Great Photo Locations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Photographing Michigan's "Upper Peninsula": A Guide to Great Photo Locations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

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Photographing Michigan's "Upper Peninsula": A Guide to Great Photo Locations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

242 pages
2 hours
Nov 1, 2015


Photographing Michigan's Upper Peninsula is an illustrated guide to the spectacular photgraphic imagery available in the Upper Peninsula. The guide contains specific directions to the sites, including mileage and GPS coordinates. This is a book aimed at photographers, but it would be an invaluable guide to anyone interested in sight seeing in the Upper Peninsula.
Nov 1, 2015

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Photographing Michigan's "Upper Peninsula" - Andy Richards




The photographs in this document are a courtesy to illustrate the scenes being discussed. They are all copyrighted and may not be downloaded, copied, reprinted or otherwise used for any purpose (yes, including wallpaper for your computer screen) without the express, written permission of the artist. After all, this is a book about telling you where to find your own photographs.

Andy and Kerry agree that the text in this book is a "joint work," and subject to copyright as that term is defined and understood under the U.S. Copyright Act, of 1976, Section 101, and that they have made equal contribution to the writing and text of this book. The illustrative photographs will remain the property of, and subject to copyright owned by the individual photographer (i.e., Kerry’s photographs remain subject to his copyright and Andy’s to his). The authors have made every effort to identify the copyright and authorship of the illustrative photographs in this book, but inadvertent failure to do so will not negate the copyright owned by each individual photographer.

If you are interested in purchasing or using any of the photographs in the book (or any other photographs of the UP, or around the United States) you can contact us by email (Andy and Kerry), or visit us at our respective websites: Andy’s LightCentric Photography website, and Kerry’s Lightscapes Nature Photography or our blogs: Andy’s LightCentric Photography Blog and Kerry’s Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog. It is also worth noting that both Andy and Kerry have more UP images and perspectives on their respective websites for most of the locations in this book.

Reference Guide Only

This book is a reference work for a subject that is ever changing. We would like to periodically update it with new additions, as we learn of new places, or changes to the old ones, time permitting. Like any reference book, it is far from complete, both in terms of locations and finding tools.

This is not a how to book. There are enough of them out there already. This is strictly a book on where to find photographic shooting locations, with narrative about our experiences, and relevant information about the locations and amenities where we think it is useful. There are no tips or instructions on how to expose, what lenses, filters and apertures to use, and what techniques work best. We will leave that to the many professional writers who do that much better than we can.

Mapping and GPS Coordinates

When writing his first eBook, "Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage, Where to find the Iconic Shots," Andy discovered that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find mapping software that will license use for illustrations in an ebook. Maybe that is a good thing. As you take your eReader in the car with you, it might be easier to have a separate map as a reference. In any event, we haven’t found a good software mapping reference that can be integrated into our eBooks—yet.

We highly recommend that you obtain one or more maps and consult them carefully. We personally carry an assortment of paper and digital mapping materials, including: DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer book for the State of Michigan, as well as National Forest Maps, and GPS units. We also consult a regular road map from time to time. Andy uses DeLorme Street Atlas USA© digital software for his personal research (he likes this software because it is scalable, searchable, the user can add customized tags and labels, and route data can be uploaded to a GPS unit, if you wish. It also gives GPS coordinates for the areas selected on the on-screen map). Kerry uses Precision Mapping Software (Under Tow Software). Needless to say, there is great utility in using available software for photographic research. We also both use TPE (the Photographer’s Ephemeris), which is a pretty incredible, free (a small charge for mobile devices) little piece of software giving sunrise and moonrise times and angle overlays on a Google Earth type map!

While we give GPS coordinates for many locations, they are approximate. They are usually to the parking lot or road intersection, rather than to the actual tripod holes. Unless there is some unusual information, or shooting point, we leave it to you to find your own photographic perspectives. In some cases, the locations are so obvious or so general (i.e., a town) that we do not supply them at all.

Mighty Mac The Mackinac Bridge

Copyright 2013 Andy Richards


Another World

This is a book for photographers. However, it could as easily serve as a guidebook for those simply seeking directions and access to these natural wonders. The book is designed to give photographers directions to, and information about areas and sites which the authors feel are worthy of a trip to photograph. There is a commentary by both authors, in each section and in our notes sections. For those who want to get straight to the dance, however, there are directions and GPS coordinates given for each site, and they can be accessed without reading all the extras. For those interested in some insight about the areas, we hope the commentary is both interesting and informative.

Michigan’s geography is unique. It is the only state which is formed by two separate peninsulas surrounded by three of The Great Lakes. The Lower Peninsula, whose southern border touches Indiana and Ohio, stretches northward to the Straits of Mackinaw, a narrow body of water connecting Lake Michigan (which flanks the western border of the Lower Peninsula) and Lake Huron (which flanks the eastern border of the Lower Peninsula).

The Upper Peninsula, stretching eastward from Wisconsin’s northeastern border, is bounded to the south for more than 1/2 its length by Lake Michigan, west of the straits. To the east of the straits, a shorter portion is bounded to the south by Lake Huron. The northern border is bounded, for most of its length, by Lake Superior. To the north and to the east, across those Great Lakes, is Canada, which makes both Michigan Peninsulas international borders.

The Mackinac Bridge (The Big Mac), once the world’s longest suspension bridge, spans the approximately five miles across the Straits of Mackinac, and is the gateway connecting the Lower and Upper Peninsulas. Andy grew up in, and has lived in different parts of Northern Lower Michigan for most of his life. Yet every time he crosses the straits and enters the Upper Peninsula, he marvels at what a magical place it is. It is truly a different world.

Known by Michiganians (our one-time nickname "Michigander is apparently no longer politically correct) simply as the UP (pronounced you-pee," with the emphasis on the second syllable), it is as geographically diverse a place as anywhere in the country. From here on, we will use the Michigan convention, the UP. We will also refer (again, as is convention in Michigan) to the Mackinac Bridge from here on as simply the bridge.

Sparsely populated, the UP’s largest city is Marquette at slightly more than 21,000 residents. The other major cities are Sault St. Marie at about 16,000 and Escanaba, at just over 13,000. From east to west the UP stretches roughly 300 miles. Most of it is only about 50 miles from north to south. By comparison, the entire State of Vermont (see Andy’s eBook, "Photographing Vermont’s Fall Foliage) only stretches about 160 miles from north to south and about 50 miles east to west. UP roads are for the most part in good condition and well maintained, including the so-called unimproved" roads and the National Forest roads. There is much to photograph, from the delicate eastern wetlands ecosystem of the Les Cheneaux Islands, to the mountainous terrain to the far west known as Porcupine Mountains State Park. Much of the coastal lands to both the north and the south consist of beautiful, but delicate sandstone bluffs. Nearly one-third of the coast along the southern shore of Lake Superior has been dedicated under the U.S. Department of Interior’s National Lakeshore system, as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A series of rivers flowing into Lake Superior break the sandstone ridge lines of the lakeshore in picturesque and often powerful, waterfalls, the largest of which is the mighty Upper Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest volume waterfalls in the U.S. Numerous lighthouses mark shoals, and harbors of refuge along all three of the Great Lakes bounding the UP. To the west, the Porcupine Mountains State Park houses the closest thing to mountains in Michigan. South of the park is another series of rivers terminating in a number of dramatic waterfalls as they rush westward and northward toward Lake Superior.

The Keewenaw Peninsula (Copper Country) juts far up into Lake Superior. At the northern terminus of the peninsula is the town of Copper Harbor. At the southern end are the twin towns of Houghton and Hancock, named after famous metallurgical engineers. Michigan Technological University in Houghton is one of the world’s premier engineering schools--particularly noted for its prowess in metallurgical engineering education.

In the early days of settlement of this country, and well into the 20th century, the UP was a significant source of natural resources consumed in the United States. Known first for its abundant fur population, it later became world-renowned for its mineral deposits of iron and copper ore. At one time during Michigan’s early history, no doubt fueled by the great wealth accumulated by some inhabitants through the development of these natural resources, the UP town of Calumet in the Keewenaw housed one of the only opera houses in the U.S. outside of the major population centers. It featured the same Opera Companies that played in New York City. The UP was historically a significant source of lumber for construction and for the paper industry.

The UP is now well-populated with wildlife, including moose, bear, deer, the occasional wolf, and numerous avian species. In the middle of the UP, the Seney National Wildlife Refuge (once cleared for private agricultural purposes, later abandoned, and eventually purchased by the federal government) houses many species of wildlife—especially birds. Further west, Van Riper State Park is a spot for the frequent sighting of moose.

The UP was actually settled before the Lower Peninsula, as explorers and fur traders came from the east through the St. Lawrence Seaway, through Lakes Ontario and Erie up the Detroit River, to Lake Huron and from the northern part of Lake Huron up the St. Mary’s River to Lake Superior. Sault St. Marie lies along the rapids of the St. Mary’s River, and is now the site of the famous Soo Locks which allow the huge freighters which travel the Great Lakes to change sea level between Lake Superior, which lies many feet above the level of Lakes Huron and Michigan.

The northernmost 50 miles of U.S. Interstate 75 (which runs from Sault St. Marie, Michigan to Naples, Florida) stretches between the Mackinac Bridge and Sault St. Marie. It is the only stretch

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