A changing harbor and new goals.

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A south view of the parking lot of the Menominee Michigan Marina, January 10, 2016.

In the winter, an empty marina harbor of water freezes, breaks up, flows, crashes, engulfs, and mirrors the sky.

I moved back to my hometown in Menominee, Michigan from New Mexico in November and looked forward to photographing new roads. I set up two goals for photographing, capture the snow on the roads as if they were reflecting the sky and second, to capture the reflection of water on the roads showing partial landscape of the area. 

The Menominee Marina parking lot became my favorite spot to photograph.  The snow patterns from the wind marks the road in abstract formations.  I became alert to the snow plows late at night organizing the snow in long rows and huge piles. I watched the melting snow shrink and change shapes. 

As I waited for snow to fall in the beginning of the winter, I began to notice the water changing in the harbor. It seemed natural to photograph the ice like the way I shoot roads, from the view point of looking down.  I’d walk up and down the piers photographing the abstract formations that changed with the weather.  It became a mission to check the harbor daily while still keeping my eyes on the changing road.

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Inside the Menominee Michigan Marina, January 11, 2016.

Long ago we used to be able to drive out on the long break wall of the marina and at the end there was a wooden turn around that we would park on and then get out of the car and we’d push it around so we could drive back to land. My father and grandfather used to dock their boats along the break wall in the summer.  Eventually our community worked hard to get more finger piers in the marina to attract more sailors and boaters.  Once the finger piers were built we were no longer allowed to drive out onto the outer break wall.

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A view from the break wall at the Menominee Michigan Marina, January 26, 2016.

Lots of memories I have from my youth at the Marina. I ran up and down the finger piers growing up, jumped in the water off them, was pushed and pushed others off them, and saw people accidentally fall off. I caught lines from boats arriving and threw lines off to aide boats leaving the piers. I saw old sailors and non-sailors patiently waiting hours and hours on the break wall for a sight of the racers coming in. I saw masts snap and tragedy fall among crews in freak storms. I saw people shimmy up the masts at super heights, sailors sleeping in sails, and swinging off halyards like Tarzan into the water.  I saw people dancing on the dock and falling in love. I saw stern faces after a loss of a race and celebrating sailors spraying alcohol on one other.  I saw my grandfather who had a wooden leg, turn it around under his long pants and walk up the dock while kids looked on with amazement that a man was walking with a backwards shoe.  I rushed with my mother and sisters up the dock with food while my father sat impatiently waiting on the boat and my brothers on deck ready to release the lines so we could take off.

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A view of the Menominee Michigan Marina from a finger pier, March 11, 2016.

Life speeds by, and now seeing the empty harbor and the freezing water changing through out the winter reminds me of life being so unpredictable.  Everyday dressing in long underwear, hat, face mask, and sometimes two jackets on, it was difficult to imagine that winter’s cold would ever end.  Just when the ice finally breaks up and the water seems to swallow the ice, the temperatures drop again and the ice starts to form again, so my new goal certainly kept me on my toes. Up here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Yooperland) no one dares bet on the last freeze.

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A view from a finger pier of the Menominee Michigan Marina, March 14, 2016.