Photography Tips Paired With 3 Michigan Getaways From Mackinac Bridge to Sleeping Bear

Make a spring weekend of shooting Northern Michigan photos from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to the Old Mission Peninsula and the Mackinac Bridge. We asked three Northern Michigan photographers to share their favorite spots for capturing the spring's arrival and to kick in a photo tip or two to help. Make a weekend of shooting your own photographic memoir of this land of visual plenty.

Mackinac Bridge

Carrie Novak (CARRIENOVAKPHOTOGRAPHY.COM) likes the majesty of the Mackinac Bridge. “When photographing the Mackinac Bridge, having a person in the photo is a great way to show how large the bridge actually is,” Carrie says.

Her composition tip: Position the bridge in the frame so it runs diagonally across your viewfinder. Next, place your person so they take up about a third of the frame along the right or left sides. To take a photo at dusk or night when the lights of the bridge are twinkling, turn off your flash and put the camera on your tripod or a picnic table. Set your shutter speed for a three-or five-second exposure. Very gently press the shutter button. Use your fl ash with the long exposure if people are in the shot—but tell them to stand very still.

Let the elegance of the bridge linger by lodging at the Brigadoon Bed & Breakfast of Mackinaw City (231-436-8882, MACKINAWBRIGADOON.COM). Book a Friday or Saturday night combination and get the adjoining Thursday or Sunday free (from $95). Enjoy springtime wine specials when you sup at locals’ favorite for casual fine dining, Audie’s Chippewa Room (AUDIES.COM).

Old Mission Peninsula

Don Desautels (NORTHERNMICHIGANIMAGES.COM) loves to capture the bursts on the wine grape vines on Old Mission Peninsula. He suggests setting your white balance on “cloudy” or “shade” to produce more vibrant color. “The default white balance setting is fine for most snapshots, but tends to be a bit on the ‘cool’ side outdoors, unless very sunny,” he says. “Adjusting to ‘cloudy’ is like putting a mild warming filter on your camera. It increases the reds and yellows, resulting in richer, warmer pictures.” Don offers three photography workshops annually at Treetops Resort in Gaylord.

While you’re on the 45th parallel, book a room at Chateau Grand Traverse (231-223-7355, CGTWINES.COM, $175/NIGHT), where you’ll receive a complimentary bottle of wine each evening. Find inspiration at the Old Mission Tavern (OLDMISSIONTAVERN.COM), an art gallery and restaurant offering a visual and culinary feast.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Ron Strong (RONSTRONGPHOTO.COM) spends this time of year working the coastlines in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He prefers shooting early morning or late afternoon into darkness, and calls this time of day “sweet light.” “Mornings are on the cooler side, more bluish. Late afternoon to sunset the color of light is warmer, with yellow and red tones,” he says. “When I shoot water, I work with long exposures to create a mystical feeling with the movement of the water.” Ron uses a Phase One Digital Back, allowing him to shoot for very long times without any noise or color shifts in his captures. “When shooting moonlight landscapes my exposures can be as long as an hour,” he says.

Extend that sweet feeling at the Thyme Inn in Glen Arbor, a B&B offering afternoon tea, evening wine tastings and antique- filled rooms (231-334-6920, THYMEINN.COM, FROM $80), and dine on the cool side at sophisticated Blu (231-334-2530, GLENARBORBLU.COM).

Lisa Doublestein writes from Petoskey. [email protected]

Get inspired with one of our videos of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and check out the other Travel and Outdoor videos.

Bring the beauty of Northern Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to life with the Beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes Book and DVD Package, produced by MyNorth Media. Click here to order yours today!