Shoot at Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort and The Wilderness at Fortune Bay

Northern Minnesota has always been a place I love to visit.  When I do get there, I always asked myself, “Why don’t I visit more often?”.  An escape from the city heat is to head up to the North Shore of Lake Superior, photographing the same scenes as I did the year before and enjoying the cool lake breeze. The days are fabulous as well as the nights.  I have not seen so many stars since I was a young kid back in the jungles of  Malaysia Borneo.

After a couple of days on the shores of Lake Superior, I head inland on MN Hwy 1 from Illgen City towards Ely, going by Tower and then to Biwabik where Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort is situated.  The two golf courses at the resort, the Legend and the Quarry are rated highly by all the golf magazines. Besides the high ratings, it is just great to be there.  There are no traffic and airplane noise.  The only sounds you hear are your golf balls hitting trees or splashing into the lakes and ponds, and an occasional #@!? utterance from a golfer a few holes away.

I was commissioned by the resort to photograph the courses.  I had shot both of them eight to nine years ago and they decided to have new images.  I was also commissioned by The Wilderness at Fortune Bay near Tower, MN to photograph their course too.  I made arrangements with Danae from Giants Ridge and Leah from The Wilderness to shoot the courses on this same trip.  The Wilderness was also designed by the same course architect as the Legend and Quarry, Jeff  Brauer.

My plan was to be there for four days, two at the Giants Ridge and two at The Wilderness.  Mother Nature was not on my side this trip.  I believe that this is the first time in MN that the weather did not cooperate when I wanted it to.  It was heavy clouds during the first 2 days at Giants Ridge, so to pass the time, I played golf at the Quarry.  On the third morning, I was hoping that the sun would appear.  It did, but a layer of thick fog prevented the sun rays from shining on the course.  I decided to drive the 30 miles to the Wilderness.  As far as I was concern the fog was only over Giants Ridge, because a few miles away from the resort, the sky was clear and the sun was brilliant.

I shot for a couple of hours at the Wilderness.  Even though the sun was higher than I like it, I shot some angles of certain holes.  These captures serve as a reminder of the spots I need to be when I return later in the evening or the next day to capture it again with the correct lighting.  I had a chance to play a round of golf during midday, then went back out with my cameras for the late afternoon light.  I thank the golf and photography gods that I captured all the shots I had wanted on this beautiful evening that lasted till almost 8:30 pm.  Fourth day, 5:30 am, I looked out my hotel window, sheets of rain going sideways.  Looks like the day is done.

Making sure on my laptop that I had all the shots I needed at the Wilderness, I turned my attention to the “grab” shots I had of the Quarry, making sure that the sun will light the hole the way I had imagined it.  The maps and compass and my flashlight (sun) were out on the hotel bed.  I charted out the spots where I needed to be at sunrise through 8:30 am.

Fifth day, 5 am, it is going to be a good day for photography, not a cloud in the sky!   I drove hastily to the Quarry in plenty of time.  It was a chilly morning, the sun slowly climbed over the tree line.  I captured eight holes with the morning light, thanks to the preparation and knowing the short cuts used by the maintenance crew to get to all the greens and fairways.

The day promised to be sunny with puffy clouds all day, the weatherman was correct for a change.  I went to the Legend course and scouted the positions of how I will photograph these specific holes later in the afternoon and evening.  At 5 pm, I went back out on the course and captured nine holes with the low warm light.  Finally my assignments are done, at least the shooting part.  The post production comes later, back in my office, in the big city.

To view all the images of The Legend, Quarry and The Wilderness please visit my website:



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