For me, February is a slow month for photography in Michigan. The snow is waning but wildflowers, insects, and other subjects have yet to emerge. The landscape is bleak and barren – dried grass, fading snow, leafless trees.
I suppose I should do something productive with my time, but earlier this week the urge to get outdoors took hold and I found myself driving on muddy dirt roads, seeking some of my favorite places in the Allegan Forest. If there is beauty in barrenness, then the pine barrens in February is the place to behold it.
Much of the snow has melted. What hasn’t melted has thawed and re-frozen, so it is hard and you can walk on it without sinking in. I visited several places, but spent the most time in a field off 48th street. The snow was peppered with deer, coyote, and snowmobile tracks.
I lugged the Pentax 6x7 outfit down to the seasonal marsh, where in the summer dragonflies abound. The water level was astonishingly high – the thawing ice covering the marsh was at least 20 feet further in than where it was last fall, and then it was several feet further in than prior years. Maybe the seasonal marsh is heading to be permanent – the smooth ice surface, with no reeds or cattails breaking throughlooked more like a pond than a marsh.
Well, it was a good way to spend the day. I tested out the new 45mm lens I bought for the Pentax 6x7, and loved the wide angle perspective. I also shot out some film stock, using my last 120 format rolls of Efke R100 and Ilford fp4. Soon I’ll be tapping into the large stock of Agfa film I laid in before they went out of business – and who knows what will be available to shoot after that.
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