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Just the two of us, and Michigan…

When our friends Sarah and James announced that they were getting married this summer in Michigan, I immediately said we’d be there.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan was a very important part of Arann’s (pre-Paige) life and yet in the eight years we have been together I still had never been there… so we decided to make a trip out of it. We decided to actually take a vacation.

That statement is misleading because we do take lots of wonderful vacations, but usually the trips we take are with my family because I live thousands of miles away from them, so we happily spend our free time with them. But every once and awhile it is nice to get away alone, just the two of us, so we decided July 2011 it was Michigan or bust.

The plan for our 10 days in Michigan… was not to plan. Or so I thought.

As far as I knew, the only thing on our schedule was that we had to be in Cross Village by Thursday for pre-wedding prep. Other than that we had no reservations, no route marked on a map, and no prearranged accommodations… except for two nights with friends of friends in Detroit… because I definitely wanted to go to Detroit.

From all of the media hype over the last few years, it sounded to me like Detroit was becoming the renewed frontier. It is the place to be for artists and farmers because old industry is gone and land is once again cheap, so if you can make your own job and grow your own food then you can have a pretty good life in Detroit.

Unfortunately we weren’t there long enough to say if all that is really true, but in the 48 hours we were there we did see lots of big beautiful houses for sale and lots of wide open vacant lots, we met lots of very friendly people and we went to the largest and most crowded farmers’ market that I have ever been to.

So I can say that Detroit made a good first impression on me and I would love to go back and spend more time getting to know the communities and the people who are making it work in this new version of an old city.

After Detroit, we headed north-east along Lake Huron, at what I thought was going to be a leisurely pace… but this is when Arann started to get antsy. I soon discovered that while I was thinking we had all the time in the world to wander and explore this big beautiful state… the only thing Arann could think about was getting to The UP.

So we hurriedly passed through several very random small American towns…

Stopping only to succumb to basic needs, but happy to discover that the Cheese Capitol of Michigan was one of those stops…

…and we had a cheese picnic, of course.

When we finally made it to The (one-and-only) UP, Arann immediately ate his first pasty and slowly started to breathe normally again.

And when we arrived in Marquette, I finally understood the reason for Arann’s anxious behavior. It turns out that Arann knows a wonderful community of people from when he lived there 10 years ago. Word spread quickly that “Arann Harris was back in town,” so we spent the next 24 hours reminiscing with his long-lost friends.

On our memory lane tour, I finally saw the log cabin that Arann “helped” build.

We met Russel, the crow.

We reunited with more friends, and their children who really loved Russel…


…although I can’t say that Russel really loved meeting them.

And then finally… we made it to the place of many legends, The Huron Mountain Club…

aka: the place where Arann Harris found his calling in life…

Arann likes to tell people that he is a professional camp counselor, and now I can happily say that I got to see The Bridge where it all began so many years ago… and now the new generation of campers can say that the original Pizza Man really does exist.

We were only there for 48 hours but we managed to do a little bit of everything… including donate a significant amount of blood to the local mosquito population.


And after serious exploring and serious relaxing, we were on the move again…

This time we headed south-west to meet our California friends who had descended upon Cross Village, on Lake Michigan, my third Great Lake of the trip, where we…

Skipped rocks.

Tasted the local cuisine.

Helped our dear friends get married and celebrated by playing a whole lot of very cut-throat lawn games.


It was the perfect ending to a well-balanced and carefully planned trip.

And just the kind of recharging we needed before we start our next big adventure…

…as just the three of us.



You tell me… (contest below)

I often get asked, “What is the difference between film and digital.”

So I have a series of descriptive words that I use to try and convey why I love film so much.

But it is hard… so I need help.

I’d love for you tell me what you think the difference is.

So… this is film.

And… this (click here) is digital.

Now you tell me what you think, by Friday the 18th, and I will pick one person to win a surprise film print.

If life gives you snow…

And you really want to go sledding…

but there are no hills…

And pushing just won’t work…

But you do happen to have two huge dogs…

Sit on the sled and just say, “Mush!”

When that doesn’t work, have someone the dogs love run really fast in front of them…

And hold on tight.

But just know, there is a high probability at some point you will land on your face…

So make sure your car keys areĀ  in a safe place.

Or at least make sure you have a good search party…

…and always offer a good reward.

Happy Snow Days.

This is film (and my summer)…

I love film and I love summer.

And I couldn’t live without either one.

Well, maybe I could.

But life would be a lot less interesting and a lot less fun.

The only problem is that they are both so very time-consuming.

This summer was so busy that it seemed not to exist at all.

But I know it did because I have the film to prove it.

Even with the endlessly long summer days,

It seemed there still was never enough time…

To stop.

Or even pause and devote the time that film selfishly demanded.

So it sat neglected.

Piling up on my desk.

Waiting in the sidelines, as digital got all the glory.

Waiting for the grand finale.

And finally, here, the first day of October, it is.

A few of the summer film highlights, all at once.

Like cliffs notes.

Or the final minutes of a firework show.

But I still have high hopes of devoting a full post to each of these amazing occasions, faces, relationships.

I have even started the spinning the narratives in my head.

But time is running out.

As it is known to do.

And so this will have to do for now.

This showcase of why I love film and why I hope you will too.

Besides the obvious yet unpredictable beauty of film,

I also love its more discreet yet unfaltering faithfulness.

I feel comforted knowing that if disaster struck, and all my hard drives suddenly crashed tomorrow,

My film would still be there, sitting in a pile on my desk.

Waiting patiently in line to be filed away.

And talking excitedly about the summer that really did exist.

Artists & Farmers… October 3rd… Come!

When you visit a new town, what is the best way to get to know that new town and community? We think the best way to get to know a community is through the food and the art.

So we want to celebrate the Artists and Farmers who make our community unique by sharing their faces and stories. I am working on this project with a very talented team of people, including Beau Bouverat who made this film:

ARTISTS & FARMERS: *the SHEPHERD & the DOLLMAKER…,

We are just now getting started with the documentation of Sonoma County, and we still have a long way to go to tell the story of this one county. But we want to share what we have so far with other people who are interested in celebrating community through our Artists and Farmers.

So we are throwing a free Artists & Farmers event at Cornerstone Gardens on October 3rd from 11-4 pm. There will be:

Live music by Arann Harris and the Farm Band, The Easy Leaves and David Luning.

Food to taste and buy from some of our local farmers.

Art demonstrations, as well as finished art pieces to admire, made by some of our local artists.

A photo booth for you to take your own artist and farmer portraits.

And some of the portraits that we have taken so far will be on display.

So if you like food and art. Or if you grow food or make art… then please come and celebrate with us on October 3rd.

If you are an artist or farmer in Sonoma County and you would like to be a part of this project then please leave a comment or send me an email.

Sometimes you have to look back…

…to see how far you’ve come….

…and to see just where you need to go.

All of these photos were taken at least five years ago… if not more. I am sharing them now because the other day I had to dig through an old hard drive for something, and because I dig through old hard drives the same way I dig through my closet, I got lost looking in each folder. Before I knew it, several hours had gone by and I was still pulling out photo after photo and trying each one on again for size.

Luckily I was able to write-off my nostalgic meandering down memory lane because of my Photo of the Day album on my facebook page. Because I decided to try and post a photo every day, I thought it would be fun to share some of my old favorites that helped lead me to where I am, as a photographer, today.

Sometimes on the roller-coaster of photography, I get lost and insecure about the path I am on, especially as we transition from the blur that was summer, in to the shortening days of fall, and eventually in to the quiet days of winter. The transitions make me wonder how much longer I can endure the uncertainty of photography, with all its highs and lows of emotions and money.

And then, these old photos stand up like long lost friends and remind me that I really have come a long, long way… and if I am lucky then I still have a long way yet to go. They also tell me that if I am smart then I will start using 35mm black and white film again, because there really is nothing like it.

To see more Photos of the Day click this public link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=186972&l=719aab5a14&id=43263909756

Come Get Your Dance On and Win Big…

The Green String Farm Band is going all out, in their very best Christmas sweaters, at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Sonoma, tonight, December 20th, at 6 pm.

It promises to be a really good time and very family friendly. Raffle prizes will be given away all night… which means you will have a chance to win your very own bottle of Arann’s homemade, super hot, Strong Sauce, Green String Farm Band t-shirts and CD’s… all of which make great stocking stuffers.

Hope to see you there.

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