We had been trying unsuccessfully all morning to make strong still and video imagery of an eagle while shooting in 2007 for an upcoming book, Ludington State Park: Queen of the North. Some days are a bust; this started out being one of those. The eagles were not cooperating, and we had gotten wet and cold bouncing around choppy Hamlin Lake. In the Coast Guard, I learned that if Plan A does not work, always have a Plan B already in mind. So, despite being disappointed, cold and hungry, we turned our attention to photographing salmon making their annual return to the Sable River from Lake Michigan. It was the last week of October, and the fall color reflecting off the wind-rippled surface of the water made this salmon appear to be under stained glass. It was not the image I had set out to make, but it turned out to be one of my favorite images from a year of intensely photographing Ludington State Park. In years past I had made lesser photographs of salmon in the same spot, just under water on a spawning bed with fall color reflected on the surface. But on this day, Mother Nature blessed me with an extraordinary added ingredient. A brisk west wind made all the difference, agitating the surface of the water just enough to create a shower glass effect on the river. This faceted surface reflected various colors in various directions, turning my photograph into abstract art. I don’t like setting up an image. I love “found” pictures that are real-time moments in the Michigan outdoors. I am especially proud of this image because, while many people surmise it is not “real” and is somehow an electronic after-the-fact manipulation, it is as real, as purely Michigan at its genuine best as I have ever made. I love a lot of abstract art, but I don’t find myself drawn to setting out to make a lot of abstract images. But I do know a good abstract photo moment when I see one.

Gold Fish - Panoramic

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