The first two weeks of October are a glorious time of year along the Lake Michigan shoreline. For several decades, I have told my photography students more often than they want to hear, “Clouds are your friends.” Early October is a great time to experience sunshine, fresh breeze and crisp, clear air painted with billowy clouds. When these conditions exist, the dune grasses and beaches appear most alive, and so do I! I visualized this image months before making it about 2001 when we lived near Lake Michigan at Crosswinds south of Ludington. My beloved Labrador retriever Beamer and I passed this spot during our daily hikes through the dunes to and from the beach. For several months, this particular stand of dune grass stood out to me from hundreds of others. I wouldn’t let Beamer go near it because I knew it had the makings of a great image; I imagined what the scene would look like in the sharp “magic light” of October. One early October morning, as Beamer and I were passing by this special spot, there it was! Mother Nature had brought all the ingredients together. All I had to do was turn around and take Beamer back home, grab my Nikon F100 and tripod and finish making the photograph. Since I had the image designed in my mind for months, all that was left to do now was fine-tune it artistically and nail it technically. That meant applying years of experience to make certain I made a perfect exposure on the Fuji Velvia transparency film I was using at the time. Almost two decades later, this image remains one of my favorite lakeshore images because it is so experiential for me and others. Brad and I say good photography is all about feeling. I can touch, taste and smell this image. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. The image puts me there; it puts others there.


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