North Shore

I’ve been waiting all summer for a chance to go up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. It’s an area I love for its forests, shoreline, and the lake itself – which always brings me a peculiar sense of my own existence, perhaps best described as experiencing ‘heaven on earth.’

The other week I finally made it there, ostensibly to scout trails in preparation for a Nordic Walking Weekend Getaway I’m hosting in October. Not much time to take photographs, but I’d brought my camera anyway, thinking I’d continue taking various shots of the wide expanse of water, picking up where I left off last year. At the same time I was also wondering how, despite the glory of the lake, I might keep my images and experience fresh.

Fortunately, the lake was in an entirely different mood that weekend. Ensconced in fog, all I was able to see of her for three days was just a trace of waves next to the shore. It was as if she were lifting her dress to show just a little of her petticoat, creating intimacy and just a suggestion of the body I already knew underneath. All of the negative space created by the water disappearing into fog produced an understated, ambiguous effect – similar to that found in Japanese art, I later realized. It also served to draw one’s focus acutely to the shoreline.

In my last post I talked about recently feeling emotionally unable to meet scenes of overt beauty and grandeur with my camera. This foggy weekend in its comforting quiet and soft light was what actually helped bring back my sense of joy and excitement. How interesting, and significant, it was for me that this should happen on the North Shore, where my spirit as a photographer has always been most nurtured.


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