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“Summer in Door County.” Hearing those words immediately floods my mind with so many memories. I have spent roughly thirty plus seasons here and have countless visual snapshots that span back to early childhood when I spent every summer at my parents cabin on the bay in the southern part of the county. Long, sun drenched days were filled with endless hours of childhood frolic; swimming, fishing, boating, biking, campfires and amazing sunsets on the beach. My bathing suit was often my second skin as I wore if from sunup to sundown. The Door County landscape was my "laboratory" for exploring life. I learned to catch crayfish, bait a hook with a worm, feel the wind to sail a small boat and get up on a set of rickety old wooden skis, among other things. These experiences are dear to me and definitely have had a hand in forming who I am today. Little did I know these early days would also become the foundation for my photography passion that would develop later in life.
"Walking to the Sun" a tribute to my childhood summers in Door County
When I ask myself why I never seem to tire of it here, it is quite simple. It comes down to the fact that after all these years, the county continues to offer the ultimate outdoor experience. Amazingly, the rugged beauty of Door County remains pretty much preserved. The lighthouses, parks and other iconic landmarks of my childhood for the most part remain untouched by the passage of time. Of course there have been changes, new homes or condos here and there and businesses that have changed hands. Yet, you can still be surrounded by thousands of people at a summer festival or parade, and then find yourself alone in a location of peace and quietness within a few minutes drive. Activity or solitude are always available to me on any given day here and I am grateful for that choice.
"Little Golden Barn" representing the solitude
"Last Wave" representing the activity
Upon first glance, the playground of Door County may seem small but the lake and bay that surround it extends it dramatically. This coupled with the influx of visitors and diverse selection of festivals and activities available on any given day of the week results in the creation of numerous subject matter for the photo enthusiast to choose from. Personally, my passion lies in capturing landscape and water scenes. There have been many instances when I happen to show up at a location to photograph something specific but am pleasantly surprised when a person, boat, bird or other unexpected subject enters into the scene and makes the image complete. These are the captures I cherish most sometimes because it involves just letting go and letting the scene unfold on its own accord.
"Come Sail Away" an unexpected sailboat that appeared during a sunset shoot
Of course, this summer blog would not be complete without mention of cherry season! This is time honored tradition that many visitors and locals alike look forwards to. Wandering the orchards with bucket in hand while picking and tasting the luscious ripe crop is such a pleasant and cherished experience that many families repeat year after year. Snapshots of these kind are truly representative of the spirit of Door County during the warm weather months and a sign that summer has hit it's peak.
"Ready to Be Picked" annual tradition of cherry picking
As I continue to get older, it sometimes feels like the season of summer here goes by in the blink of an eye. With that being said, what may be looked at as lacking in "quantity" certainly is made up for in "quality". For a shutterbug like myself, Door County summers always deliver in terms of visual beauty and a variety of photography genre. Re-creating those childhood "snapshots" I keep close to my heart is extremely rewarding for me and the reason I enjoy this fulfilling hobby. I invite you to do the same. Leave your cares behind, pack your camera and keep an open mind. Your "playcation" awaits!
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