TRAVERSE CITY — Move over, “Tuesdays with Morrie.” “Tuesdays with Todd and Brad Reed” may just take over Michigan book sales.
The father-and-son photographers spent 52 Tuesdays in 2012 criss-crossing the state to make images for their Michigan tribute. The result: an 8-pound book with 400 pages and 1,000 images, about 200 of them shot in northern lower Michigan, from Benzie County to the Mackinac Bridge.
The Reeds are owners of Todd and Brad Reed Photography in Ludington, where they sell their landscape images. Many are seen in publications like Michigan Blue and Traverse Magazine and on Pure Michigan billboards.
But between running the gallery, photography workshops and their respective households, the pair found they had little time to actually shoot. So they set aside Tuesdays, their least busy day — and a slow tourism day, making for fewer crowds and less traffic — just to create new images.
“It got to the point where we had to start shooting more to be full-time landscape photographers,” said Brad Reed, 35. “Tuesday was an entire day, from sunrise to sunset, to travel and shoot photos."
During the year of Tuesdays, which started Jan. 3 and ended Dec. 25, 2012, the pair racked up 35,000 miles between them. Along the way, they encountered spectacular scenery, uncovered hidden spots and happened on a few once-in-a-lifetime shots, like rare blue ice on the Straits of Mackinac.
"We came up on that and it was like winning the jackpot," Reed said. "We'd never seen that except on TV, up in the Arctic."
He said another project highlight came while shooting at Pierce Stocking Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Arriving at an overlook on a midday in May, they were surprised to find they were above the clouds, making for remarkable shots. Then they watched, photographed and videotaped as a severe thunderstorm rolled to shore.
“People were screaming and crying and clapping,” said Reed, who, with his father, posted some of the best photos and videos on their blog, website and Facebook page each week. “The photos we got of that storm are very beautiful and unique.”
But the biggest surprise was the generosity of the people the men met along their journeys, he said.
“What was incredible was that in the whole year we never had one person tell us no about being in the book,” Reed said. “Almost every Tuesday we stopped in a restaurant or a convenience store and asked, ‘If you were doing a book on this area, what places would you want to see included, where are the hidden places?’ We had people say, ‘Follow me,’ and they’d take us to their hunting hole.
“It says a lot about Michigan people and how proud they are of having a book that celebrates the beauty of their state.”
“Tuesdays with Todd and Brad Reed” is the follow-up to the pair’s four previous books. They include "365 - A Year in the Photographic Lives of Todd and Brad Reed," for which they shot daily on their “home turf” between the Big and Little Sable Point Lights.
Reed said "Tuesdays" was created partly as a response to a call for more Michigan images to use in the statewide “Pure Michigan” promotion campaign.
One of the book's strongest points is its captions, which more often read as prose, a nod to Todd Reed's one-time dream of becoming a novelist. It also benefits from the photographers' vastly different perspectives.
“From the time Brad got a professional-grade camera, we both would have a completely different approach and vision about what we were going to do,” said Todd Reed, 64, a long-time photojournalist for the Ludington Daily Herald. “I would offer advice if he asked, but I would never tell him, ‘That’s the picture.’ I would say, ‘Get out of the car, explore and use your own eyes. Your vision is your vision.'”
Despite their stunning imagery, the men said they didn't use polarizers or filters.
"Our mission is to show it the way we saw it and as God created it," Brad Reed said. "This project was like a little mini-vacation. Even though the work was hard, at the same time our souls were rejuvenated."
The self-published and -distributed book and DVD set sells locally for $95 at the Michigan Artists Gallery in Suttons Bay, Cottage Books in Glen Arbor, Leelanau Books in Leland and Horizon Books in Traverse City.