I always say, “the harder the shoot is, the better it turns out.” That applies to weather, terrain, and in this case – park rangers. I met this lovely couple at the largely closed, and completely frozen Porcupine Mountains State Park. Halfway from their vacation cabin in Wisconsin, and halfway from our studio in the Keweenaw, the location was perfect. I brought a set of Iverson snowshoes for props and they were totally game to endure the 10 degree weather. We hiked out about a quarter to half mile in the woods, shooting on bridges and between towering white pines. As we turned to head back to the lakeshore, we were surprised to meet face to face with a SP Ranger. He asked to see my photo and site use permit. Full disclosure – I had indeed reviewed the rules beforehand and decided I did not meet the lofty aspirations of “commercial use” of the park. I explained this to the ranger who promptly escorted me back to the HQ where I was asked to complete a 4-page use permit – complete with “fire contingency plans,” and my plans for food concessions. The office was completely confused on how to not only file the form but how to process my Visa for the $50 commercial fee – leading me to believe this was all an exercise in self-entertainment – and at the eventual expense of the $50 cash I was saving to buy beer at the Konteka on my way home. But don’t get me wrong – I’d would have been happy to make a donation to a Michigan park for use of the scenery. Because I mean… look at it! Kudos to our clients who not only put up with the weather, but a photographer who not only makes them pose in it without appropriate clothing, but who also has to get bailed out of State Park Jail. Ranger Seamus, you owe me a 6-pack.
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