In a self portrait, photographer Bryan Mitchell gazes out at the northern lights along the shore of Lake Superior in 2016.
By Kevin Brown
Chasing Down Aurora Borealis Local photojournalist focuses on landscapes of northern Michigan
stormy red sunset lights a The only sound is the waves,” forest landscape. Tangled he says. branches rest on shoreline His description is nice but sands. Waves crash against the photos tell the real story. sandstone cliffs. Framed by the shoreline, heavens glow green with pulsing light of the Aurora Borealis. Some stories are told in Grand Portal Point at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in words. For the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Mitchell calls it one of the Northville’s best hiking destinations in Michigan. Bryan Mitchell, they are told in pictures. They are the focus of Mitchell’s The long-time most recent project, a printed photojournalist has been reborn Northern Lights Michigan 2020 as a landscape photographer, calendar. and he has been focusing on The images are rich northern Michigan, particularly with color, without digital the Upper Peninsula. manipulation. That’s because Mitchell’s landscapes include the camera lens reveals color vistas, sunsets and grand the human eye misses at night, displays of the Northern Lights. he explains. “It’s just mesmerizing to sit A range of landscape images on the Lake Superior shore and are presented on Mitchell’s watch at 1 or 2 in the morning. Facebook page and website. I call it magical ribbons of light. Many were taken in 2016, when
18 The ‘Ville
he was the Pictured Rocks but called his photos well National Lakeshore Artist in composed, refreshingly honest Residence. and not over edited. “It was an amazing “I feel I’m there to document opportunity and helped me what I see,” Mitchell says. “I’m set a path for my landscape not a technical photographer. photography,” Mitchell says. It’s more about conveying a The job included living 17 feeling or emotion.” days in a cabin. It served as a Then again, Mitchell’s not home base for exploring the U.P. exactly old school. When park near Munising. A favorite shooting sunsets, he’s careful shot shows a wave crashing to determine when the sun against a sandstone cliff at will set and the weather Mosquito Beach on Lake Superior. Water sprays high, showing the power of the lake. “Lake Superior is very beautiful, of course. The sun sets over Lake Superior and through the arch of a But it’s also wave-sculpted cave along the shore in August of 2016 near dangerous,” he Munising, Michigan. This is one of Mitchell’s favorite photos. says. At Reddit, the social news forecast. He plans northern website where Mitchell has lights shoots with guidance posted photos, one observer from the National Oceanic and said they don’t normally Atmospheric Administration’s like landscape photography, website, for Auroral Activity