View Full Version : Photo opportunities near Ann Arbor Michigan?

Leonard Evens
22-Jun-2005, 16:10
I will be accompanying my wife on a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Can anyone recommend anything of interest to phtograph within an hour or two drive? I am interested in landscape photography and architecture.

Robert A. Zeichner
22-Jun-2005, 16:46
Leonard, there are areas along the Huron river that have resulted in some interesting images although I have not personally investigated this. Greenfield Village in Dearborn is a favorite place for doing some architectural work of historical buildings. I've even done some work inside Henry Ford museum of which Greenfield Village is a part. Downtown Detroit certainly offers some architectural opportunities like the Ren Cen, Guardian building and many others. There's a Calder sculpture in front of the SBC Ameritech building. I've had some interesting results on Belle Isle as well. All within two hours of Ann Arbor. When are you planning to be here?

22-Jun-2005, 17:45
Gallup park is a GREAT place to make images. There is a very nice nature trail there.

Belle Isle Park is another...located in Detroit between USA and Canada, about 45 min. drive from Ann Arbor.

Detroit has some of the most interesting architecture anywhere.

Essex county along Lake Eerie is nice...it is in Canada, about 30 min. from downtown Detroit.

Another great place for landscapes is Lower Huron Metro Park. It is located in Belleville, MI at Haggerty Rd. about a mile south of I-94. $4 entry fee. About 20 min. drive from Ann Arbor.

22-Jun-2005, 17:48
Oh...how could I forget...the Fisher Building in the New Center area in Detroit: an absolutely MARVELOUS structure, inside and out. Had a showing there recently. People are really nice there, just ask, they are very artist friendly.

Mike Lopez
22-Jun-2005, 18:02
There is also a lot of nice architecture on the UM campus right in Ann Arbor. Hardly a drive at all.

Dan Ingram
22-Jun-2005, 22:08
Mike is right, but as a loyal Spartan, I have to recommend the Michigan State campus as well -- beautifully landscaped, and only an hour's drive from AA in East Lansing. If you go there, the Grand Ledges along the Grand River about 10 minutes west of Lansing are very pretty as well. Also -- the Irish Hills, about 20 minutes SW of Ann Arbor are green and rolling this time of year -- if you can find the right vantage, the views are very nice. Enjoy your stay in Michigan!

22-Jun-2005, 22:48
I live in Ann Arbor, and here are some ideas.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks offer some of the best landscape materials although there is nothing spectacular. Among them, Kensington Park near Brighton (about 20 miles north of Ann Arbor) is my favorite as it has very spacious views with the lake. It may be a bit crowded with families and boats on weekends. Indian Springs Park further north (and east) would be another good one.



Gallup Park is a decent in-town location although the opportunity for “landscape” shots without artificial structures would be limited. Nice sunset, though.

Although I haven’t much explored there, the rolling Irish Hills looks nice while driving through. Quite like those hills in England. Finding a right vantage point (without trespassing) may be an issue as Dan suggests.

For architecture, the University of Michigan (the main campus in downtown, along State Street) has nice materials with brick/stone and ivy elements as suggested. If you are into the “urban decay” theme, downtown Detroit offers very unique subjects. Some of the ruins have been torn down, and the clean up continues particularly because of the All Star game this summer and the Superbowl next year. Possibilities can be seen at:




I hope you enjoy the stay. If you found something very interesting, please share it with us. Let me know if I may be able to answer any questions.

N Dhananjay
22-Jun-2005, 22:58
In Ann Arbor, the Arb (arboretum) is a pretty nice place, as is Gallup. Architetcture - I enjoy the Law Quad. There are other interesting buildings as well, churches, a Greek church, the Kelsey museum. Short drives away, you will find Dexter, Kent State Park, Irish Hills. Incidentally, the University museum is well worth a stop - they often have interesting shows and good works. AA boats good restaurants to boot. Have fun. Cheers, DJ

Donald Brewster
23-Jun-2005, 08:31
Cranbrook School of Art in Bloomfield Hills (about an hour away and just north of Detroit) with nice grounds and the famous Eliel Saarinen architecture. Lots in Ann Arbor itself of course as others have noted.

Joseph O'Neil
23-Jun-2005, 11:41
Take a drive down tothe St. Clair river if time permits. It runs from the tip of lake Huron to lake St. Clair. starting at Port Huron /Sarnia, you have the BlueWater bridges.

Going south along the river, either the USA or Canada side, is one of very best places in all the Great Lakes region to photograph the large lake freighters (ships) up close and personal, as they travel up and down the river. If you never seenteh lake frieghters up close, it's actually quite neat.

Also, there are power plants along the river, both sides of the boarder, ad Sarnia, Ontario is the chemical valley of Canada. So if you are into industrial architure, photogrpahing a lake frieghter with a big pwoer plan or chemical plant in the background makes for an impressive shot.


michael Allen
23-Jun-2005, 18:05
I'll second the http://detroityes.com/toc.htm site for urban decay its my fav. I'm in chicago and have relitives in the Grosspoint area (no urban decay there thats for sure) I often visit these desolate areas but be carefull, alot of Detroit is like the West side of chicago VERY VERY dangerous. It's a far cry from the Ann Arbor Art Faire, I'm just guessing that is the purpose of you visit. Good luck and good light.

25-Jun-2005, 03:31
I must take exception to michael's exaggerated admonition. Don't believe the hype. Parts of Detroit are dangerous, yes, but no more so than any other major industrial American city. If you visit Detroit, don't be stupid, keep your wits about you, just as if you were visiting Chicago, New York, Atlanta, etc.

And by the way, there is decay, but much more than that to photograph in Detroit.