See Ann Arbor through a different lens with Dee Dorsey

From Barton Dam to Gallup Park, see more natural side of Ann Arbor

By Sarah M. Parlette - Associated Producer

Photo | Dee Dorsey

ANN ARBOR, Mich - With summer weather finally in Ann Arbor, photographers are out and about, snapping shots of Ann Arbor's fun architecture, downtown businesses, and the blooming beauty of Tree Town’s many forms of foliage.

For inspiration and to jump-start your creativity, look no further than Dee Dorsey’s Instagram account, which showcases the natural beauty of Ann Arbor in photos seemingly straight out of a travel magazine.

An east coast native, Dorsey has spent over 30 years calling Ann Arbor home. Tired of politics taking over social media, Dorsey turned to Instagram to focus on happier subjects.

We emailed with Dorsey about her Instagram account, her favorite places to photograph and how she picks quotes to accompany her photos.

A4: Your account really showcases the natural beauty of Ann Arbor as well as other spectacular places, do you have any favorite places to photograph?

Dorsey: "My two favorite areas to shoot are Ann Arbor and Downeast Maine.  Ann Arbor - because that's where I live, and Maine, since I've spent time there every summer for as long as I can remember.  My Maine vacation usually takes over my account for a few weeks in July or August."

A4: Many of your photos are of various landscapes. Do you go looking for specific shots or subjects to photograph?

Dorsey: "I find myself particularly drawn to any subject involving water, which means any place along the Huron River in the Ann Arbor area. Gallup Park and Barton Dam are favorites to photograph in all seasons. I generally have my dog Lola with me, and these are both favorites of hers as well - [there’s] lots of bird activity for her to enjoy over there right now with the geese and swans of course.

"Gallup is a wonderful spot when conditions are right to photograph reflections of clouds and trees in the river. I've gotten some really spectacular shots of fall foliage there at sunset. Lots of great vantage points there, with all of the bridges. And, speaking of sunsets, there's nothing like photographing a beautiful sunset from the one lane bridge at Gallup. If you're lucky, you might find a kayak or two in your photo as well. Gallup is also a fairly magical spot in the winter (as long as I remember to bring my hand warmers.) The light at dusk can be really interesting when it reflects off of the ice.

"Barton Dam is a fun place to photograph right now with all the rain we've had - lots of water flowing through the dam and the river is running at warp speed. There's a totally different vibe there in the winter- straight out of 'Tales from the Polar Vortex,' with the mist from the dam that ends up frozen on the tree branches. There's a great nature trail that runs between the dam and the footbridge off of Huron River drive with lots of great photo ops of wetlands and open fields (and wildlife) along the way."

  Like what you're reading? Sign up for our email newsletter here!

A4: Which one of your posts has been your favorite? Has there been one that has received a lot of attention that surprised you?

Dorsey: "As far as my favorite posts - I've had a couple that were picked up by the Pure Michigan Instagram account; one of Barton Dam in the deep freeze and the other of the 'Canoe Fan' public art sculpture by Victoria Fuller at Gallup Park. Both of which were enthusiastically received. One of my goals, when I started my Instagram account, was to showcase the natural beauty of the Ann Arbor area, which I think is underrepresented in the statewide tourist Instagram accounts.  We have a really impressive number of nature areas and trails right here on our own backyard that more people should know about.

"I believe my 'most liked' post was a right place/right time photo from last August of an epic cloud with crepuscular rays (a fancy word for sunbeams) at sunset over at Barton Dam which went fairly viral."

A4: You also add quotes to your photos. How do you choose which quotes to use? Do you have a specific process when thinking of a combination of photo and quote?

Dorsey: "Regarding quotes - I believe that finding the right quote for an image can sometimes be half the fun of posting. There are some amazing quotes to be found out there just by surfing the net, you just have to know what you're looking for i.e. quotes about spring (I've used a lot of those lately) or nature, water, trees, etc.  There are some well-known quotes out there of course, from naturalists like John Muir and Henry Thoreau, but I think one my favorite quotes was from Bob Ross: 'There's nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.'"

When not taking photos around Ann Arbor, Dorsey can be found at the Michigan Opera Theater and Detroit Opera House, creating opera super-titles as well as staying busy with other backstage work.

All About Ann Arbor is powered by ClickOnDetroit/WDIV