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Winter on the Pier

Text and Photography Copyright Toni Lankerd
All rights reserved.

Camera:    Pentax ME Super
Lens:        Sigma 80-200
Flash:       None used
Support:    Hand held
Film:         Kodak Gold 200
Exposure:  Unrecorded
Filter(s):     None used

When I first took this photograph of the Grand Haven Pier and Lighthouse I was pleased with the results, but it was not until a few years later that I realized what a phenomenon I had captured. It was the winter of 1996 and we had suffered through several weeks of bitter cold, wind and snow with barely a reprieve. Finally, with temperatures hovering around 20F and a wind chill of well below zero, the late afternoon sun was trying hard to break through the clouds and I felt compelled to go out and photograph the heavy build-up of snow and ice around the pier. My Pentax ME Super held up well despite the weather, but within a half hour my fingers became numb and I was ready to call it quits. As I was anxious to get my film developed I stayed just long enough to snap off the last few frames.

A few years later, I showed this image to a friend and she immediately wanted to buy a print. I looked at the images again and recalled the weather I endured to make those images. We have not had a winter as bitter since then, and this was indeed a wonderful, yet rare, image of the pier.

Since then I have made many trips to the beach in every season and all kinds of weather to photograph the changing scenery of the pier. It is one of my favorite shooting spots and I am fortunate that it only takes five minutes to get there from my home. I have taken to just walking around the beach looking for new angles to shoot from. I have discovered that there are more ways to shoot a familiar scene than one could ever imagine.

If you have a favorite spot close to home where you like to shoot, I urge you to keep going back in all seasons and different times of the day. Always look for a new perspective from which to photograph and you may just be surprised at what you see and what you come away with in your camera!


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