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stephrhoades

Nuke Nation: Pointe Mouillee

By Chasing the Sun, Photography

Nuke Nation

Near the Ohio border, on the shores of Lake Eerie, is a state game park by the name of Pointe Mouillee. Named by French fur traders in the 17th century, it lives up to its name as a beautiful wetland.

Feeling the need to get out of the city, away from the usual haunts, I made my way to this southern edge of Michigan to photograph the sunset from this quiet spot. It is fascinating, being among nature, surrounded by beauty, animals, and birds, to then look out to the water and see two giant nuclear cooling towers. But still, the marshes and the endless “ocean” that is one of the Great Lakes, makes the view a favorite.

So I sat and watched as the sky made itself into a beautiful watercolor, listened as distant owls hooted, and swans swam before me, while bitter November wind lashed at my cheeks and hands.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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Indian Summers

By Chasing the Sun, Exploring, Photography

Indian Summers

In·di·an sum·mer
noun

  1. a period of unusually dry, warm weather occurring in late autumn.

Detroit has been experiencing an amazing Indian Summer once again this year. Warm temperatures, late fall colors, and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets to make every day even more spectacular. Last year we saw temperatures in the 70s and 80s in late November. Although we aren’t as warm as last year, it is still enough for this Michigander to still rock flip flops and a tee.

It is hard to refrain from wanting to lay out and soak up these last bits of sunlight every chance I can get. So this weekend, I spent the entirety outside, shooting with friends, driving all over (making a few U-turns), and realizing that sometimes you just have to let all of your worries go. From Belle Isle, to Eastern Market, to Irish Hills and Saline, it was spent drenched in the golden glow of the sun and fall leaves.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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Into the Foggy Night

By Photography

Into the Foggy Night

There are times when photographing the sunrise or sunset just aren’t going to happen. The clouds take over, rain is pouring down, or any number of circumstances are working against me. This night, my mood matched the weather: grey, foggy, and rainy. But I just got a new lens, and wanted to try it out immediately. I called up my long time friend and mentor, Bruce Giffin, to see if he was up for a night of photo shenanigans.

We headed out into the night, with two former stray dogs Bruce had found years ago on the streets (though we all know they actually found him). Off to the island we went, looking out over the city as we crossed over MacArthur Bridge, trying to spot the iconic GM Renaissance Center behind the thick fog. Besides a few other cars, and a couple of bicyclists, we were the only ones on the island.

We listened as a distant freighter sounded his horn, probably unable to see the way along the river. We could just barely make it out as it passed by us, the horn echoing down the river, and the sound of the calm water being disturbed as it floated by. It was like a ghost ship.

We then headed into the city, our heads on swivels. We would see something, loop back around to shoot it, and then see something else. By the end of the night, we were soaking wet, almost hit by lightning and cars, and starving. We ended the night the only way possible: heading to Southwest Detroit and eating at Duly’s.

To say the night was a success, and a mood booster is an understatement.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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A Day of Sand and Waves

By Chasing the Sun

A Day of Sand and Waves

There is something that changes me when I see and hear the waves and beach. I instantly become a small child again, and can’t contain my excitement. I’m ready to run into the water no matter how cold it is, to take my shoes off and walk along the shore, leaving footprints in the sand only to be washed away almost instantly.

I spent the day traveling the coast of the “thumb” in Michigan. My “up north”, though most people will say that that term is reserved for places like Traverse City, or the Upper Peninsula. Port Austin and Caseville have always been my treasured up north places though since I was a kid.

The colors of fall were in full swing, with vibrant reds and beautiful golds amongst the trees. The waves coming off of Lake Huron were crashing into the shore, big and angry from a cold wind that threatens an impending winter. The sky was a perfect blue with big puffy white clouds though, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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Chasing the Sun: Detroit Sunset

By Chasing the Sun, Photography

Detroit Sunset

There is something magical about a Detroit sunset. It’s calming to watch as the day ends and let your worries fall away beyond the horizon. Belle Isle is always a great spot to watch, as the sun tucks itself behind the skyline. I am always drawn to the water, and love plunging into the river to get shots that most people take from the shore.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

By Exploring, Photography

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

Fall in Michigan has always been my favorite season. The temperature becomes bearable, sweaters and boots can be dragged out of storage, the leaves change to a vibrant red, and the smell of autumn lingers in the air. I recently had the opportunity to walk around the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and gardens to experience the beauty of the grounds.

What started off as a promise of a gorgeous sunset, quickly was overtaken by autumn rain clouds, but the grounds still did not disappoint. The rose garden, designed by Jens Jensen for Eleanor Ford, was still in bloom with beautiful pastel roses. Bird Island’s paths were covered in beautiful red and orange leaves from the almost century old trees.

It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to return in the winter to see the changes to the grounds under a blanket of snow.

Don’t forget, you can purchase prints in the Print Shop from this shoot!

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Rusty and Amy

By Photography, Weddings

Rusty & Amy

There really are no words to describe this pair, but they are two of the most amazing people I have ever met. Their wedding was nothing short of a good time and left everyone limping away from exhaustion and laughter.

This Detroit wedding took place at the one and only Cliff Bell’s, a restored art deco jazz bar. The night was filled with 80’s music, calls for shots, great friends, and dancing until we were all ready to pass out. To say it was a hit is an understatement.

Congratulations to the bride and groom. Here’s to many more years of wedding bliss.

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One Year Gone

By Personal

“Have you heard from Stace?”

“She’s probably just having a Stacy moment. Going underground. You know how she is…”

I go every day, even if it is for the tiniest of moments, wondering “what if…”, “if only I went over to her place the night before…”, “why didn’t I have a gut feeling that time?…” I know it would have only been a temporary save, that she would have found another way to end her pain, to end the demons that screamed in her head. I’ve been there. Those demons are always right there, waiting for the slightest trip to bring you all the way down.

It has been one year since I lost a woman who I considered a sister. We spent so many nights curled up on her couch like high schoolers, gossiping, talking about boys, laughing, crying, discussing the bigger things in life, and photography. We made plans. We would start a non-profit, maybe two non-profits. We wanted to empower people. We wanted to feed and spend time with homeless and those less fortunate than us. We wanted to do good in the world because the world just needed more good in it.

One year since I got texts from a man that loved her saying he thought something was wrong, and I brushed it off as Stacy being Stacy (we all know how she would just disappear from time to time). One year since her mom texted me asking if I had heard from her and my stomach lurching. I knew before I really knew. I knew as I drove to her apartment, reassuring her mom that everything would be fine, even though I knew it wouldn’t. I hoped to find her on the couch watching tv, maybe curled up with a book.

But I didn’t.

I didn’t find her full of life. I didn’t find her smiling at me and laughing at my mama bear antics, always worrying, always with my gut feeling. Instead I found her sleeping. I touched her shoulder to wake her, but there was no waking her up. I found her and collapsed onto the floor. I crawled from her room. I screamed and cried. Then I pulled myself together, and started making phone calls. 911. Her mom. Her friends. Then I waited.

I waited for what seemed like hours in that apartment alone with her. I sat on the floor next to her bed and talked to her. I paced. I answered texts and phone calls. It all felt wrong. I sat alone and wondered “Is this how I’m supposed to deal with this? Should I leave? Should I close the bedroom door? No. Don’t touch anything. Oh look, she left a note. Of course she did, its Stacy…”. I watched the sun set from her apartment as I waited.

Most of that night is a blur. I remember going in and out to answer phone calls. I remember the officers looking at my beat up face and arms and asking if I needed medical attention (I had taken a pretty nasty fall off of my bike just days earlier). I remember looking at her shelf of whiskey and wanting so badly to drown the night in it. I was in that apartment for eight hours until she was finally brought down. I stayed with her for as long as I was allowed. I would not let her be alone anymore. I rode the elevator down with her, standing protective over her body.

It has been one year since that night. One year of me carrying her funeral card and eulogy in my wallet. A year learning secrets she had kept, and understanding the depth of her demons. A year of questioning my choice of not going to her the night before and being able to save her, if just for one more day.

I tend to think of her in the strangest of scenarios. When I’m cooking chicken, when I’m taking a selfie in the mirror (how did she hold her phone in her hand the way she did??), when I hear someone say “Alrighty, bye bye”. Little moments that usually make me smile and laugh.

Dear Stacy, you have left a hole that will never be filled in so many people. I wish you peace. Tonight I’ll be meeting with the SFC, and maybe I’ll watch the sun burn the sky down on the island that we called our refuge.

If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, please don’t wait to find help.

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Senior Photos: Lauren

By Photography, Portraits

Lauren

It never ceases to amaze me when I have family come to me and say “your little cousin is graduating, can you take photos?” It always knocks me on my butt, and makes me think back to when they were born, how old I was, all of the accomplishments I’ve watched them achieve throughout their life, and who they have grown to become.

My “little” cousin Lauren, who actually towers over me, was a big shock for senior photos. I remember holding her as a baby, when I wasn’t much more than one myself. I’ve watched her become an amazing young woman, athlete, and human.

From volleyball champ, to bleeding heart, she has always been kind and humble. I was so happy to get the chance to take her senior photos, and will be doing a second round of photos soon!

CONTACT ME FOR BOOKING

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Exploring: Downtown Detroit

By Exploring, Photography

Detroit

One of my favorite things to do is to get lost in the city. Park my car and just wander aimlessly. I usually end up finding the best material that way, and meet some interesting characters as well.

It truly is a blessing to have a city that is so vibrant, full of hope, art, music, culture, and people. Detroit is unique and amazing.

Through my wandering, I have met some amazing people and started to see the city in a way I have never seen it before. Last night I met a man who called himself King David, who was just trying to get his band to China. It sounded absurd to me, but he was determined to get there and was going to be performing near the Music Hall all weekend. I had to smile and and ask for his photo after hearing the story, and he thanked me for listening as he rolled tobacco into a cigarette papers.

I continued through the night, armed with camera and tripod, and a good friend, watching clouds roll by in the night sky, and listening to the people coming out of the bars that had surely come down for one of the events happening in Detroit this weekend. It made me stop and realize how much the city has grown, and it always makes me fall in love with the city just a little bit more.

FINE ART PRINTS AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN THE SHOP

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