This summer I upped my swimming from twice to three times a week, in preparation for the surfing safari I’m currently on. As I believe I’ve mentioned at some tiresome length, this summer I’m swimming at a different pool — the one at the Grosse Pointe Shores city park. They have a program for early-morning lap swimming, open to non-residents.
All five of the GPs have a pool, of course, and each has its stellar feature. The Woods, where I live, has the largest and nicest of the five, with a great double water slide, but it doesn’t have Tim, who coaches us gratis all summer. The Shores pool is shallow in its lap lanes, but it’s the best-situated of the five, in that it overlooks Lake St. Clair, which lies to our east.
Which started me on my summer-long campaign to capture how beautiful the sky was, almost every morning.
Your basic establishing shot: The pool, the people, the lake behind. The sun already above the horizon just after 6 a.m. A perfect Pure Michigan day ahead. It’s already too late for a good sunrise shot; once the orb clears the horizon it bleaches out every attempt to capture it, at least with an iPhone.
A couple weeks later. You can’t go all the way down to the lakeshore, not without climbing a fence or going through some locked gates. So for a while I shot through the kiddie splash pad, seen here with no water running, because the kiddies are all still in bed. Almost exactly the same time, but the sun’s lower in the sky.
At some point it occurred to me that the sunrise picture is the biggest cliché in photography, and I started trying to make them more like abstract art. I was also cropping out a feature I came to call That Bush.
It was a dry season, so clear skies almost every morning. The pictures got prettier as the sunrise came later. This is the look of a day when the humidity will try to kill you, but still — very pretty. There’s That Bush.
Sometimes I’d try to capture something other than the cliché sunrise, so here’s the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, next door. That tower is always described in historical and tourism materials as stately and Moorish. But even that day I realized…
…the sunrise is still prettier. I think it rained a little overnight; those are the clouds heading off to the east.
Brutal, brutal heat and humidity that day. Tim altered the workout for it, because it was difficult to breathe, even in the early morning. That Bush is seen with its twin, That Other Bush. (Yes, I know they’re really pampas grass.)
The rain was starting to come back by now, and this pink-and-purple morning color theme emerged for a few days. I stopped worrying about clichés.
Totally bananas pinkness this day.
I told myself, “No more stupid sunrise pictures,” but then I spotted those geese.
And now we’re in the final week. Let us pause for a word from E.B. White:
The crickets sang in the grasses. They sang the song of summer’s ending, a sad monotonous song. “Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying.” A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety.
Last day for me. Oh, so sad! It’s dark!
School started this week, and the outdoor pools closed. When I get back, I’ll be swimming inside for the long, long school year. Soon enough, there’ll be no sun in the sky when I arrive, and little enough when I leave. But lord willing, Tim will be there, and we’ll keep turning lap after lap and waiting for next year.