Oakland County Fall Color in Michigan

Oakland County Fall Color Michigan

Fall reflections at an inland lake in Highland Recreation Area, Oakland County, Michigan

As I mentioned in my last post, instead of traveling far from home for fall colors this year, I wanted to concentrate more on places that I haven’t been to in awhile, or a spot completely new.   When you speak to a lot of people in Michigan about “going fall color” watching, a majority of them probably go “up north” or to the Upper Peninsula.   Of course, colors up there are spectacular, but we often overlook some very nice spots close to home, even for the highly populated, sprawling suburbia of Southeastern Michigan.

This spot is part of a 5900 acre area called Highland Recreation Area in Oakland County that is about an hour drive from me.   I haven’t put much time into exploring here, except for one time that I learned a bog here had a lot of Pitcher Plants.   When I looked back at my records on the photos of the Pitcher Plants, it seems I was last here in the year 2000.  I never realized how vast it was until I started driving around it last week.   Given the fun I had exploring it, it certainly won’t be another 13 years before I return to it either!

I was in this area before sunrise, which turned out to be a total bust.  Completely greyed over.   Then while walking around another lake, which had a very boggy shoreline, I nearly became stuck like a dinosaur in a tar pit.   Wet feet and near freezing weather isn’t so nice, although I am sure I would have made for an interesting archeological find.

So this lake in the post ended up helping me salvage the morning.   I was really just in scouting mode seeing what there was to see at the end of each little dirt road I encountered, hoping my socks would dry out with my car heat on full blast.   But as I reached the end of this road, and the sky was opening up, I could see this still lake held some promise.   The mirror like reflection and clarity of the water, both pluses, and when I put my polarizer on my 14-24 lens – it was one of those Emeril moments – BAM!

I know polarizers help in most fall color situations, but in this case with the lake reflection and the view being at nearly a perfect 90 degrees to the morning sun, it really had its maximum effect – dramatically altering the scene right in the viewfinder.   So I quickly forgot about my cold feet as I worked this area, and became energized for my next visit back.    It became a perfect reminder that there are so many more places close to home to discover.


  1. I’m right there with you on shooting close to home, Mark. About the only traveling I do for photography is Acadia N.P. Aside from that it’s all within 50 miles of home. This image is a fine example of what we can find locally with a discerning eye.
    Steve Gingold recently posted..10.31.2013 It’s the Fungus ApocalypseMy Profile

  2. Awesome!
    Monte Stevens recently posted..The Three VariablesMy Profile

  3. Mark,

    I used to think I had to travel to places like Yellowstone to find great subjects to film.

    A few years ago, I took a nature hike with a naturalist at my local nature center. I was amazed at the diversity they showed me that I had been overlooking all these years.

    Since then I’ve spent the last fee years filming the tallgrass prairie and the Iowa woodlands just a few miles from my home. It seems the more I film there, the more I realize I’ll never be able to document it all.
    Kevin J Railsback recently posted..Discovering Your Creativity for Nature and Wildlife FilmmakingMy Profile

    • Good example Kevin. Yeah, I get a little jolt of creative energy when finding some new local place. And you are right, I will probably never fully explore just my little neck of the woods in my lifetime. But sometimes a more dramatic change of scenery helps now and then.

      • Mark,

        I think we all need a change of scenery every now and then too. While I’ll never be able to tell the entire story of one little tall grass prairie in my home town, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a trip to Alaska or some other great place to recharge your batteries.

        It’s just nice to know that with the cost of travel being so high, I have an endless supply of subjects and situations right here at home.
        Kevin J Railsback recently posted..Discovering Your Creativity for Nature and Wildlife FilmmakingMy Profile

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

Previous post: • Next post: 164 views