Ransom Lake Natural Area


This visit to Ransom Lake was planned on the drive home from the visit the week prior (being October 1st). As of the 1st of October, the leaves on the deciduous trees had just begun to reveal their fall splendor. Peeks of reds, oranges and golds adorned the landscape. This is why I decided to return the following weekend: I hoped that I would catch peak color (or at least close to it). Much like the weather in Northern Michigan, there exists a certain pleasure in unpredictability…arriving at a picturesque vista when color is at its peak is often a guessing game. Especially given the link between unpredictable weather and its impacts on leaves’ color changes. One just never knows.

One Step Closer

Recalling my previous post ( A Lofty Goal ), Ransom Lake Natural Area (RLNA) is one of the approximately 60 properties under the care of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC)–and one of the preserves on my list to photograph. Ransom Lake is located in Lake Ann, hidden from development among old growth forest. Two trail heads exist, one featuring a universal access outhouse and trail to the lake. At the lake, a viewing platform over the water affords breathtaking views of the lake and its many charms. It was here that I setup my camera for some long exposures utilizing my HOYA ND-8 filter (Neutral Density). The filter allowed for the water traversing the woody debris to appear ‘blurred’ or ‘smooth’.

Despite initial appearances, the stack of twigs and sticks in the right portion of the frame is not a beaver dam. Instead, the structure being a result of human intervention. (Kodak P-880, HOYA ND-8 filter, 4 seconds @ f8) (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)

As all the photography on this blog is presented in a sepia tone, I was not quite certain if the colors of the trees would be properly represented, as they would be in a full color photograph. But, despite initial reservations, I am quite pleased with the results. Had the sun been out, the colors would have perhaps been better represented. Despite this, I love the ‘feel’ of the images. The overcast skies worked in my favor. It just goes to show, photography is an art that can never be perfected. One can spend a lifetime in the pursuit of the ‘ideal’ image. I could visit this location frequently, and never obtain what I see possible in my mind.

The Experience

The path itself is quite beautiful. Upon entering the woods, one is greeted with the tell-tale sound of a quiet stream meandering through towering trees. This path leads to the aforementioned viewing platform. Here, the path forks, allowing for the visitor to head left or right. Ultimately, the path circles the lake, so either way, one ends up back at the fork. The path turns into a sort of ‘single-track’, lined with ferns and myriad other species. As I found out during my hike, it is important to keep a keen eye to the forest floor, as numerous areas were home to exposed root systems. Needless to say, I nearly tripped a dozen times.

While walking the path, the visitor is treated to breaks in the trees, allowing for great views of the lake. I spent much time with my camera attempting to capture the majesty of the moment where the trees reflected their Autumn regalia into the still waters. Though I have not been here during other seasons, I have a gut feeling that Autumn is the most beautiful time to visit Ransom Lake Natural Area. The colors are just gorgeous: yellows, reds, oranges, greens and golds dot the landscape.

The path clears to frame the rugged beauty of the lake. (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)
Another beautiful view from a clearing along the path. Notice the abundance of aquatic vegetation along the shoreline: a sure sign of a robust ecosystem. (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)
The sun almost revealed itself off in the distance, but it was never to be. (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2018)

Final Thoughts

After visiting this preserve a second time, I am hooked. The scenery alone is worth the trip. But in addition, this is the type of place that allows for quiet contemplation. Relaxation. Rest. Rejuvenation. I will, without a doubt, be returning in the spring, after the hunting season has wrapped up. Until next time, get outside, and breathe.

-Adam K.

*Interested in learning more about the GTRLC and Ransom Lake? Visit the link provided below:





2 thoughts on “Ransom Lake Natural Area

Add yours

  1. Adam, these photos turned out absolutely beautiful. You really captured the mood of the day brilliantly. Nice job! 💛


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