Workshops & Tours

Ultimate Autumn Forests, Wild Rivers and Waterfalls

This tour is currently full. Please contact us if you are interested in being put on a waiting list. There is no cost or commitment to do so.

Ultimate Autumn Forests, Wild Rivers and Waterfalls - Advanced Tour

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and Environs
September 30 - October 6, 2018 (7 Days) - Full!
Smaller Group Size - Limited to Ten

View our photographs from this location

Download Brochure: Word Doc

Tour Location Description

Autumn is a special time in northern Michigan. Cooling temperatures and decreasing daylight bring forth the spectacular annual transformation of the area's lush deciduous forests. The cool greens of summer quickly give way to a rainbow of warm colors: fluorescent orange, neon yellow and vibrant crimson.

This special autumn tour is based out of the town of Silver City. This strategic location in Michigan's northwest Upper Peninsula puts us within easy reach of thousands of acres of state and federal public land. The colorful beech/maple forests of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ottawa National Forest, and the wilderness rivers and waterfalls will be a major focus of the tour.

At 60,000 acres, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers and streams make a visit to the Porcupine Mountains a photographer's dream. The Overlook at the Lake of the Clouds is one of the most popular spots in the Porcupine Mountains State Park. Easily accessible, the overlook offers expansive views of the Lake of the Clouds and the forest below.

In addition to deciduous forests, we'll explore other exciting habitats - northern coniferous forests where mature stands of white and red pine tower over a colorful understory of young maples. This mingling of bright fall foliage with the deep dark greens provides a patchwork of color from which to seek out great compositions. In addition, we'll seek out small, hidden streams that harbor many photographic opportunities, including an abundance of colorful fallen leaves.

Several spectacular waterfalls are located within easy walking distance of trailheads. Within the National Black River Scenic Byway lie the Great Conglomerate Falls, Potawatomi, Gorge, Sandstone, and Rainbow Falls. At the Presque Isle Park you will find Manido, Nawadaha and Manabezho Falls. Bond Falls, another beautiful waterfall is located on the middle branch of the Ontonagon River. We'll attempt to visit several of these falls during the tour. There is so much to photograph in this area that we can only offer a small sample in this tour description.

Autumn weather in northern Michigan varies considerably. We could encounter balmy, summer-like days with cool, frosty nights, or it could be sweater or jacket weather most of the time. We could also have rain, or even an early snowfall.

Participants must be advanced photographers who should arrive with a clear understanding of photographic fundamentals and a thorough knowledge of their camera system as it relates to their photographic goals. The emphasis will be on enhancing your creativity and photographic vision through extensive fieldwork. Since this is a tour we will try to spend most of our time together in the field. However, you can expect downtime which will afford you the opportunity to download and edit images.

This unique tour format begins with a brief introduction/orientation meeting at 6:30PM Sunday September 30 and ends after an afternoon / evening field trip on Saturday, October 6th.

If you're not sure if this advanced tour is right for you, please contact us. We continue to have many requests for this type of offering for advanced photographers, so we recommend registering soon!

Seasonal Variations

The timing of fall color is unpredictable. The tour dates were chosen to coincide with the typical beginning of the peak fall color period. This is based on years of photographing and conducting workshops in northern Michigan. However, since the timing of fall color is unpredictable, we can extend no guarantee regarding foliage conditions.

Health Considerations

This tour requires the capability of walking uphill for a few miles on trails - all while carrying camera equipment. All hikes are within the capabilities of an average person in good health. If you have health concerns contact our office so we can discuss the compatibility of the tour with your level of fitness.


High clearance four-wheel drive vehicles are a must to reach some of our backcountry destinations. If you are willing to use your vehicle during the tour, please let us know. If we do not have enough participants bringing their own four-wheel drive vehicles, some participants will be required to subsidize the rental of additional four-wheel drive vehicles in addition to splitting the cost of fuel for the tour. (Costs have ranged from $65 to $125 p/p in the past.)

Group Lodging Rates and Accommodations

The tour will be based out of the AmericInn in Silver City, Michigan. The room rate for 2 queen beds and free Wi-Fi is $143.90 plus tax.

You can also choose from 2 cabins (Deer or Ski) located offsite (2 blocks away) at the Lake of the Clouds Resort. The cost for each cabin is $99 per night plus tax (seventh night free.) All Participants are responsible for making their own Hotel or cabin reservations. We will provide more information in a detailed confirmation letter after you sign up.

Tour Cost / Registration

$1295 per person (includes: park permits, entrance fees, in-the-field instruction, and instructional e-books (CD). To reserve a space, please send a deposit of $250. The balance of $1045 is due 90 days before the tour begins. If you cancel with less than 90 days notice, we will issue a refund only if we are able to fill your space. All tour cancellations incur a $50 processing fee.


Early reservations are recommended. By phone: Call (906) 293-3339. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. We accept credit cards (for deposits only) or we'll hold your space for 7 days while awaiting your check.

You can also register online using Paypal by clicking the "Add to Cart" button below. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card.

You can also register by downloading and completing a registration form (Word Doc) and mailing with payment to:

Rod Planck Photography
PO Box 100
McMillan, MI 49853

"I just wanted to thank you again for another photo tour that met and exceeded all expectations. As always, you have been vigilant in providing only the best experiences for all the participants and working very hard to ensure that everyone is not only satisfied, but also is excited about the possibilities that are presented in the area." - Brady Hancock

2018 Workshops & Tours

2019 Workshops & Tours