By Ray Anthony
"Camp Freedom" is a mystery-spot of a sort, created by me and my family a long time ago when we were beset with a rough-patch of financial woe.
The only entertainment that was afforded to us at the time; was the great outdoors and nature. We built cairns, and forts constructed of driftwood for our two children.
Each Spring-thaw revealed what the November gale churned-up from Lake Superiors icy depths, and what the Winters ice-heave then shoved out of the sea and there onto the shore.
It presented us with new stones to examine, driftwood to create from and found nautical objects; lost overboard, possibly from a Summers-past boater. We were even fortuitous to have discovered huge beams of wood. A few of these beams of wood were as long as fifty-feet and 2 X 2 in width.
After the discovery of the wood beams were made; an idea was spurred and Camp Freedom was born. If we couldn't travel very far -or better yet- couldn't afford lake shore property; we were about to afford ourselves some now!
Not only was I beset with financial woe, I was also struggling with the film-to-digital age. Scanning slides and sending them off, via snail mail, was leaving me in the dust; commercial stock photography speaking. I took a "gamble," threw caution to the wind and purchased my first professional digital camera. It was sad laying my Nikon F5 to rest.
I start utilizing Camp Freedom as my outdoor studio. The great outdoors afforded me soft-box like skies at times and unbelievable sunsets. Needless to say; many fond memories of working and playing with the family, all at the same time. The utilization of the great outdoors studio, culminated with the new digital camera, opened many new doors in the field of commercial stock photography and re-opened some old ones that also had to roll with the punches; even if it did mean leaving some photogs like me, in the digital dust.
This photo is presently licensed under a Barcelona based commercial stock photography offering agency, that represents my work. It has now afforded me "riches" of more financial freedom and "Camp Freedom" still affords my family and friends the luxury of having a secret little mystery spot along what some call "Lake Gitche Gumee."
Camp Freedom isn't exactly a secret. It's actually right underneath many locals and tourist alike, noses. It's near where Marquette 'Welcomes' many tourists, while they're traversing North on Hwy 41. We've noticed over the years that others have discovered the spot and have added on-to, or rearranged the long wooden beam benches that the ice-heave shoves around each Winter. Some have tossed another rock or two onto the ever growing bonfire pit.
Me and my family have enjoyed seeing Camp Freedom grow at the hands of total strangers that have happened upon the spot and put their positive vibes into the site. Should you ever have the notion of exploring, try discovering Camp Freedom. Build a cairn, look for agates, take a break from 'Jogging' and rest on one of the benches and catch some rays. You're sitting on nautical history, should you decide to stop. Or, as I do from time to time; have a glass of vino with a loved one and sit fire-side and look at the sun setting upon the horizon of Lake Superior.