We were in Traverse City, Michigan, during last year’s Fourth of July celebrations. Fireworks over the Grand Traverse Bay have some added drama, but the area is so far north (and west in its time zone) that the sky still hadn’t fully darkened.
After the main show has finished, private citizens produce their own displays up and down the beach.
Bombay Beach is awash in two things: (1) crystallized runoff from the Salton Sea and (2) surreal sculptural juxtapositions. Both the rusty pyramid and the sand rail are metal framework structures, but in radically different applications and states of repair.
At one level, this is a calming, nostalgic image: two people fishing from a causeway over Lake Cahuilla reservoir in Coachella Valley.
The layers of reflections and horizontal lines, however, give it a very surreal, Dali-esque topology: reality doesn’t quite seem to be shaped correctly here. Space is folded in on itself.
Apparently the original Lake Cahuilla was a prehistoric lake in the Coachella Valley; its modern recreation is a reservoir in the hills outside town. The relationship between humans and nature in the region is well-encapsulated by that point of comparison.
The sight of a boat house on a remote body of water gets my eyeballs ready for an explosive speedboat entrance from a secret agent. I guess an Adirondack sunset is an acceptable runner-up prize.
A likely astonishing number of my childhood’s imaginary forts and escapes were on islands. Though I have no idea why, the present-day result is that my head snaps to the side with every Adirondack island I pass. What adventure could be happening there?
As we pass the shortest day of the year, I looked back to one of the longest: an endless evening, stretching out over Long Lake in the Adirondacks.
Is there a more bucolic vision than central Oregon at midsummer?
Trees frame the sunset at Long Lake.
Good landscape photography is all about finding the perfect vantage point and being patient. Sometimes, however, real life demands a bit more serendipity. While there are incredible views to be had in the Adirondacks, there are also long sections locked between walls of forest. When there’s a once-in-a-summer sky overhead, patience gives way to reaching a lake before the moment disappears.
After the big Traverse City fireworks show over Lake Michigan, Americans on the shores continue to set off their own fireworks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is pretty much the equivalent of kids in the movie theater parking lot hitting each other with plastic lightsabers after a Star Wars movie lets out.
Reflections from the surface of Lake Michigan place fireworks on the same scale with the 80-year-old tug boat William C. Selvick. I particularly like the way the small buoy/float in the foreground is placed within the fireworks’ reflection.
Part of me wants to imagine that watching fireworks from the stern of a WWII-era tug would be a perfect summer experience… But another part wonders about the chipping paint and rust, hard corners and suspects that there might be some subtleties to perfecting the viewing location.
More than any of the other Traverse City fireworks shots I’ve presented so far, I think this one captures the essence of summer: little Lake Michigan waves lapping at the shore, soft beaches, boats moored to piers, and the pair of people relaxing on the rocks in the foreground. They’re the most intriguing part of the image, to me: when everyone else is looking to the sky, what is interesting them more than the fireworks?
While a telephoto view of fireworks and people can place the pair on even scale, the opposite—a wide-angle view that places the aforementioned pair in context—makes apparent just how small they are on the scale of the Earth.