Petoskey Sunset 6-4-18

What a beautiful evening we had last night in Petoskey. The clouds set the stage for the sun and the lighthouse to shine in golden light.

Petoskey Sunset 6-4-18

For more photographs of beautiful Petoskey please visit the gallery section of our site.

Roadside Wildlife (Sandhill Cranes)


I have taken flight from the Gallery to spend some time in my old photographic stomping grounds within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Taking time like this to immerse myself into the environment which has provided me with so much inspiration is an essential part of producing my work, and is essential since our relocation of the Gallery has distracted me from photographing. Preferring to exist in my environment away from the hubbub of tourists and their culture, I have taken up residence at The Leelanau School for the duration of my visit. This wonderful facility is a college preparatory boarding school where “Learning can happen anywhere – especially outside of the classroom.” If you have a student who’s outside-the-box thinking puts them at odds within a traditional learning environment, contact The Leelanau School at today for more information on their program.

Roadside Wildlife

One of the things I love about spending time in Sleeping Bear Dunes is the amount of wildlife which is simply living their day-to-day lives throughout the park. This morning while filling a water can to carry back to base camp I had an encounter with a chipmunk who was rather interested in stalking by boot lace. I noticed a small amount of movement near my left foot and the little guy was flat to the ground concealing himself rather well in the short ground cover. He was inching closer and close to my foot when I asked him what he was doing. Looking up at me I could see that he knew the game was over, and he snuck off into the ferns. This has not been my first encounter with wildlife on the campus of The Leelanau School, nor in Sleeping Bear Dunes. When I was a student here foxes, otters, and eagles were common to see along the Crystal River, or the Lake Michigan shoreline. 

While exploring old farmland now a part of Sleeping Bear, off of Point Oneida road up against the Kelderhouse Swamp. I was returning from one of the many beach access points along the roadway when I noticed that there were two Sandhill Cranes alongside the road in the brush apparently foraging. I have never been much of a bird photographer, but I found it hard to pass up this easy opportunity. I noticed that they were not too concerned with vehicles so I turned around twice more to get a good shot from the other side of the road out of my driver’s window. Accessing my gear area before my approach, I grabbed the 70-200 f./2.8 and the 80-400 f./4-5.6 lenses, both with IS. The plan was to see how sharp of an image I could get free handing out my window. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

I watched them for a short amount of time in an attempt to notice if my presence was bothering them, and aside from a slight initial pause in their foraging activity there were no signs of such. I was just another rolling box on the roadway to them. But then I noticed something else, movement in the grass low to the ground. There was a slight brownish color to the movement. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

See it? I will zoom in a bit. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

Just look at that little ball of fuzz. You can see it better in the next shot. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

These creatures really are amazing, and this is truly a special place where one can get to know the world around them. Just before I left, one of the cranes approached the roadway and I was able to get a pretty clear shot of it. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes Sand Hill Crane Photography Joe Clark Glass Lakes Photography

– Joe Clark

These photos are available for purchase from our Gallery in Petoskey, or on this website. 


Winter Newsletter

We would like to invite you all to take a read through our Winter Newsletter from Glass Lakes Photography. For your convince we have copied it into this page. All copies of our newsletters can be found on this site under the New Stuff menu option, or at this link.



“Capturing your familiar world in a new way.”

310 Howard St. Petoskey, Mi 49770


In this issue:

– Studio 2, Downtown Petoskey’s new photo art studio.
– The return of the ornaments.
– Some winter tips from Joe.

New! Instant photo prints.
– Some new and cool shots, from winter, in a storm.
– Let’s talk about some canvas.
– Winter hours.


Winter Swell, a storm photo.

Joe captured the fury of the winter storm which blew through Petoskey two weeks ago. This photo which was shot from a lower angle captures the fury in the waves as the westerly wind wound them up for their powerful impact into the Petoskey breakwall. This photo and its compliment “Duck Storm” are available in the gallery on paper prints and gallery wrapped canvas.


Studio 2!

Join us in celebrating the opening of Studio 2, a new portrait location. Studio 2 is located directly across the street from The Gallery, upstairs of the Park Side Deli. This location will offer better accommodations for in studio portrait and classroom opportunities. We still offer our wonderful on location portrait services. Come in out of the cold for one of our wonderful Mini Portrait sessions in this new space!



10am – 6pm

We will close at 4pm on December 31st. We will be closed New Year’s day. Starting the second week of January, we will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Appointments will still be available on these days.


Bringing back a favorite.

Your love of this ornament has sparked its return this winter season. Last year we could not keep enough of our Downtown Petoskey Snowflake ornaments in the gallery. In addition for this year we are adding many more local ornaments to the inventory.


Joe’s Corner

Tips and tricks

“Winter photography does not need to be a chilling experience. When the temperature drops and the snow flies there are ways to protect yourself and your equipment. Remember that condensation will happen to cold items which are brought into a warmer and moister environment, such as your camera and lenses when you take them inside after a few hours in the cold. This condensation can damage your gear, therefore it is best to allow it to warm up in the safety of its camera bag. Also be sure to keep yourself from harm, I find that glove inserts permit the operation of the cameras function while also preventing exposure to the cold and wind. Frostbite and associated cold injuries can occur quickly when the wind blows, so be sure to keep covered. When things are icy, employ the use of traction assistance products such as yak tracks. And above all else, remember to be safe when working around or on top of water, wear a life jacket.”

For more tips and tricks, visit our site.


Canvas is in.

Over the past few months we have been developing a process to print and gallery wrap canvases. We now have this process ready for the public. Our canvases are 100% a Petoskey made product!



Duck Storm, now available in the Gallery.

NEW! Introducing Instant Prints.

We will soon be adding a kiosk feature to our printing studio. In the interests of providing fast service to our  clients looking for small prints quick. This machine will be capable of immediately printing wallets, 4×6’s, 5×7’s, 8×10’s, 8×12’s, and other sized photos in matte or glossy finishes in seconds. The kiosk will accept common camera cards, USB drives, and smartphones for immediate printing. We will also offer this printing service to our event clients for on site photo printing for their guests to take home. We currently are offering 5×7 and 8×10 sized prints, and will have the full functionality of the kiosk after the new year. You are welcome to bring your photos in on a card or email them to us at, please remember to ask for Instant Prints and to specify the size and finish for your photos.



Printing Studio Discounts

We are offering student discounts, for students currently enrolled in courses in the arts which require printing. Both the collegiate and high school levels are welcome. Bring in your valid student ID, and current course schedule to receive 20% off Printing Studio services.

! For participants in shows at local art centers we are offering the same 20% discount for show entry prints.


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Who says that work cannot be fun?

We, the entire staff of Glass Lakes Photography recently returned from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We took three days off, closed the store, and left. Now aside from the general escape of the day to day routine we wanted to go capture some of the grand colors of Autumn. Our destination was the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Sound familiar?, it should as I was visiting the area a few weeks ago for some shooting and scouting.  We do not partake in these ventures for commercial gain, but as a continuing investment into ourselves and our employees, not all of whom are photographers. This allows some experience into the inner workings of the creation of the art, as well as the time invested. Curating a culture of enthusiasm which can be translated into The Gallery for the benefits of our clients. This is part of what I call my duty to responsible business operation.

Over the next week, we will share stories from this trip, photos as well. Some photos you will see hanging up in the gallery, others will be online. When we arrived in the north we meet up at the Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Shipwreck museum, and Migratory Bird Observatory. There is a lot to do in that little point.

Whitefish Point Lighthouse photography scenery Joe Clark

We spent the afternoon wandering around the point area, eating lunch, and then migrating to the campground and setting up for the night. It was an early morning the next day, one must be beat the sunlight if they wish to capture water in motion without the assistance of lens filters. It was a cold night, and the water was significantly warmer, so there was a lot of fog forming in the river basin. The haze made for some interesting shots of the lower falls. Tahquamanon Falls River photogrpahy Joe ClarkBoth Alyson and Dale were working their cameras on the southern portion of the lower falls. They spent their time working away with the haze, water motion, and contrast that morning had to offer. I shot the two of them working side by side on the observation platform over the falls.

Dale and Alyson at Tahquamanon fallsWe spent our remaining time in the area exploring the wooded areas for fungi, colors, and other subjects of interest. even squeezed in some time for exploring the informative placards through out the park. These various signs tell of information about the water flow per second, why it is rust colored, and the history of the river and past proposed developments. glp_20161010-09114-by-joe-clark-glasslakesphotography-com

The second day we went to the upper falls for some shots, there was a wonderful morning red sky, of which we caught the latter portions of lingering over the falls. The light was quicker then we were that morning, by the time I was in position for the shot I wanted the color has subsided. Next year we will just have to be quicker. Morning light upper tehquamanon falls We squeezed this trip in right on time with the peak coloration of the area, and the best weather as well. After Dale and Alyson returned to Petoskey, Kayla and I were welcomed to a day of freezing temperatures and rain. Bear was starting to get a case of cabin fever the day we left the area, here he is taking a break outside before the rain moved in for the day. Bear enjoying a break in the rain. Now that we all have returned from the north, it is time to start exploring our area as the fall colors start to fill in. Are you out there exploring with your camera? Keep in mind that we offer the region’s best printing facility right in the heart of downtown Petoskey. Stop on in to see how we can help take your vision to hard copy. Soon we will have our new season of photographs in, from the summer and fall, you are welcome to peruse the new works.

Lower Tahquamanon Falls Joe Clark

Our Gallery will be closed, for a learning opportunity…

We will be closing up shop for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (October 9th – 11th). As our employees will be participating in our first annual Upper Peninsula Fall Colors Photography Workshop. This is a program we will be offering to the public as a means to enhance their understanding and capabilities with photography, which translates into better service for our customers. We will be open on Wednesday October 12th for normal business hours of 10am to 6pm.

Learning oppertunites.

All services are effected, Gallery, Printing Studio, Image Services, etc.

The Senior Portrait


Photography is more than just pulling out your camera and shooting; it is engaging with your subject and learning their personality, their flare if you will, in a short matter of time. Each photograph you make should portray the subject’s unique personality. This is through facial expressions, clothing styles, locations, and any accessories that may be important to you. Rather than shooting static photographs, I like to see activity happening, whether that’s interacting with the companion you’ve brought along or kayaking along the river. If these things are not present, I will still work closely with the individual to bring out what makes them, well, them!

The image above is a girl and her rescue dog. They have a close connection, and you can see from the look on her face that she adores this animal. I had a few different shots for this session, one where the dog was looking back at her as well, which could have worked given the expressions, but it was not as strong as this image. It was the emotion in her face that made the photograph. I spoke with her through the session and asked her to think about how and why this dog makes her happy, and it resulted in this image. Choosing unique photographs after the shoot is important as well. I do not give my subjects every single photograph that I take. I choose the ones that stand out.

Locations are everything! I, personally, love shooting in the studio, however it is much more fun to go out into the environment and shoot. I like to find an environment that suits my subject; the decision of place is typically up to you (we can help you decide, don’t worry). What places do you love and visit often? Is it your favorite nature preserve, the lake, or even your own home? At Glass Lakes Photography, we typically do two hour sessions. This allows us to move around and utilize the environment to the fullest. We can even do multiple locations!

The next image is an alleyway of a coffee shop downstate in Detroit. I choose this setting because of the urban look. In this case, my subject did not know much about the area, so I picked for her. It resulted in a photo series inside and out of the coffee shop. My subject brought several changes of clothes, but this jacket suited her spunky attitude. I scouted the location and noticed this vibrant red chair, and her and I decided it was a perfect spot. The pose is dynamic, but natural and relaxed.










Below we get into movement! This image was done on a balcony in the Fall. (I’ll tell you a little secret: the background was removed and replaced with a much more interesting Fall image). Here we have a dancer. Instead of dressing up in fancy clothes and doing the typically lean against a wall photo, we wanted to show what her passion is. She did her own thing, while I directed her if I needed her to move positions or tweak a pose.










Important things to remember: Personality, emotion, location, and dynamics!











Family Portraits

Here we go, my first post!

These are some portraits I took of this beautiful family about a month ago in summer! We had such a great time; everyone was lively and happy. I had an assistant with me on this day whose job was to shake a rattle behind the camera (he also helped with lighting). This is a great tip for other photographers! If you’re photographing kids and babies, always have a toy or something of their interest, as it will earn you more laughs and smiles. As a photographer it’s always exciting to create something special for our clients. I was more than happy to deliver these images to this lovely family.

palmerfamily-13-of-23                 palmerfamily-12-of-23                  palmerfamily-19-of-23

We are moving into Autumn now, and I can’t wait to meet new happy families for Fall portraits. The colors will be beautiful!

-Alyson Williams

Stairs at Waterfall Park

I was out shooting last night after the sun had set in the waterfront area of Petoskey. There are a number of small parks in the area, of which one is the Waterfall park. The namesake is a small waterfall which comes down from under US-31 and streams down somewhere into the park area. There is also a large staircase to access the Sunset Park which is directly above. As I was shooting, two people walked down the stairs with their flashlights, as they came down I exposed twice to capture their full movement from the top to the bottom.

Waterfall Park Staircase Petoskey waterfront Nikon D810 with Sigma 17-35mm f/2.8 lens @ 17mm f/4.0 for 30 seconds, tripod mounted, no flash.

This photograph is available for order at The Gallery today.

– Joe Clark

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