On the way home from my photography workshop in Northern Michigan, my eyes were drawn to all kinds of vivid colors as I drove through the village of Elmira. I made a mental note to stop and take pictures the next time I was up that way. (If you have been in one of my recent workshops – I was going to put a reminder in “Field Notes” the next time I stopped for a break.)
I was tired and eager to get home with a long drive ahead of me and I didn’t want to take the time to stop. I drove right on through town. As I thought about the kind of images I might create the next time I was in Elmira, a photographer’s mantra began playing in my head: “Take the picture now! You may not get another chance.”
The questions started popping up. When would I be in Elmira again? In a year for my next workshop up north? What if the light isn’t right” What if the sun is in the wrong place? What if the sky is gray? What if it is raining? What if all the brightly colored stuff isn’t out on the sidewalk? What if I choose another route next year and don’t even drive through Elmira? And then I thought about other photos I have missed because I would do them “next time” and next time never came. “Take the picture now.” So a mile or two east of Elmira I turned around and went back. I am glad I did.
I parked across the street, rolled down the window and took a picture of String of Pearls (which is a gift shop, furniture store, and florist). “Got it” I said to myself. But I wasn’t buying that line. Another voice said “You haven’t even started.” There were just too many photo subjects to pass up. So I got out of the car and went to work. All kinds of shots and angles. I met Chris, one of the owners, chatted, and created some images of him at work creating one of his farm tables. He was working hard to catch up on back orders for the much sought after tables (you can see a finished table at the String of Pearls link below). Chris pointed out the deserted bank building across the street. Some locals say this bank was robbed by the infamous couple Bonnie and Clyde. I took a photo of the nondescript building.
Then I found myself laying down on the ground and shooting up. Those are some of my favorite images with all of the outrageous colors against the sky.
For the rooster, peacock, and chicken photos I needed enough depth of field (apparent near to far sharpness) so the animals, building, and sky would all look sharp. I used an aperture of f/16 for all three photos. It also helps to use a hyperfocal distance chart so you know for a given focal length what aperture you will need to use and what distance to focus at to have an adequate amount of depth of field.
22 minutes and 30 photos later I was back in my car and headed for home.
If you are driving through Elmira (west of Gaylord on MI-32), stop at the String of Pearls gift shop. You can’t miss it (unless you are totally color blind). Tell Chris and Jeanne I sent you.
And wherever you are, if something catches your eye, “Take the picture now.”
Rooster Photo Data: Canon 5D Mark III. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L USM lens at 32mm. 1/100, f/16, ISO 100.
String of Pearls – Gift Shop Facebook page.
MyNorth – Northern Michigan Attractions from Traverse City to the Mackinac Bridge.
UP Travel – The best places to go in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Pure Michigan – The best places to go in Michigan.
If you love photography and live in or travel to Michigan, check out my next photography workshop in Northern Michigan.
Depth of field articles with hyperfocal distance charts for full frame and cropped sensor digital cameras, plus 35mm film cameras.
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