Are You a Camera Nut?

Miners Falls and Hemlock Tree, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Power & Hemlock, Miners Falls

One of my favorite places to photograph is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s an easy hike from parking to the observation platform for Miners Falls, where many people come down, snap a pic or two to show they were there, and move on quickly to see something else. I’m patient and let these other visitors have their turns, while I wrap myself in the sound of the water pounding the rocks below while deciding how I’ll shoot the falls that day.

Now and then, someone will bring a tripod, maybe even a 4×5 view camera (with actual film), and stay longer to make a more serious image. On this particular day, after several tourists briefly stopped for their photo op, an older couple arrived, each with a couple of cameras around their necks. The gentleman snapped a couple of pics with both neck-slung cameras, then grabbed another  from his bag and shot some more. He introduced himself to me, enthusiastically saying he was “a camera nut!”. He and his wife thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures with their various gear, new and old. We talked about their travels plans, and what places they would photograph next.

After they moved off, I had the platform to myself. I started with a wide — make that tall! — shot of the full falls. I zoomed in to let the hemlock frame the falls, then tighter on the relentless pounding of the water against the rocks below. Finally, I scrambled down the hillside to get the view from below (see all these in my Water gallery). Yes, my portraiture friends, I was flow-posing a waterfall.

As I climbed back up to the platform and ascended the stairs back to the trail, I thought about the self-professed camera nuts I met earlier. Their joy was in owning a variety of cameras, and using them everywhere. Sure, I’ve had gear lust – what landscape-shooting Nikonian wouldn’t want a 17-35mm f/2.8? – but those feelings don’t last long.

What endures are the joys of being out in nature and finding its beauty of form and design, and bringing that back to share with others. The gear I have or borrow is just a tool to do that. I have to say that what I am is a photography nut.

What about you?