I had hoped that a vacation—six days at a beach house on Lake Michigan—might rekindle my interest in photography. Away from home and my deeply ingrained habits, and in a place with abundant natural beauty if you’re willing to look for it, I should be able to relearn the joy of capturing interesting scenery with my camera. I had even planned to spend a morning hiking in Indiana Dunes State Park, a few miles down the road, figuring there would be plenty of photo opportunities there.
Unfortunately, however, about 95 percent of the time we’ve been here—today was our last full day—the sky has been mostly or completely overcast. Several of the days have brought rain, and several others brought persistent fog: low, muting clouds that sucked the color and contrast from anything you could see.
Let’s just say the camera stayed in its bag most of the time I’ve been here.
But I decided that this morning, clouds or not, I would get up early—sunrise is the best time for pictures around here (anywhere, really)—and go to the beach for some photos. Once again, however, the pickings were slim. We’ve been coming to this beach house for two decades now, so it feels like I’ve shot just about everything there is to shoot around here. I was hoping, actually, to catch some deer in the overgrown scrub in the dunes between the road and the beach, but no luck. I was able to focus on some dune grass with the beach in the background, as you can see above, which, I guess, is better than nothing.
While at the beach, though, I did indulge in another tradition I used to follow, but had neglected the last couple of years—a sunrise swim. (OK, with the cloud cover, I have no idea when the sun actually rose. We didn’t even see it until 4 in the afternoon.) The air temperature was somewhere around 60 degrees … but it turned out the water was about the same; it wasn’t uncomfortable at all to get in. (Even though, when I dipped my toes into the same water 10 hours later in the relative warmth of the afternoon, the water felt frigid.) Of course, I had the beach to myself at that hour. The clouds may have owned the sun, but I owned the beach.
I may not have produced much in the way of interesting photography this morning or this week, but I did get a few moments of communion with Lake Michigan, so that’s something. Next time, we’ll order up some blue sky.