About this project
Fifty Lakes One Island is an exploration--through photography and words--of the inland lakes on Isle Royale, a wilderness island in the northwest waters of Lake Superior. Fifty Lakes One Island differs from the predictable flora and fauna nature documentary in its attempt to discover the power of time alone in the wild. Blending words with images, the film brings the viewer on a transcendental journey through the woods and waters of Isle Royale.
Kessler Crane has generously agreed to match each donation, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000, to ensure that Fifty Lakes One Island is successfully produced. For more information, please see Sponsors at bottom of page.
Kessler Crane (http://www.kesslercrane.com/) makes some of the most cutting-edge equipment I have had the pleasure of using in recent years, and they have revolutionized the way I am able to capture the essence of Isle Royale. Their passion for innovation and commitment to environmental exploration are a perfect match for Fifty Lakes One Island, which is why they have generously agreed to match each donation, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000. Their investment in this project ensures that it will be completed, with your help.
Isle Royale offers a rare wilderness experience for the lower forty-eight states. Isolated in the northwest waters of Lake Superior, the island is home to wolves, moose, red fox, beaver, and snowshoe hare. The rugged, fifty mile long landscape is made up of countless ridges. Among the swamps, hardwoods, rivers, and streams, the terrain is sprinkled with forty-two named lakes along with countless unnamed bodies of water. Most of the inland lakes are off-trail, making access difficult, but leaving the scenery spectacular and untamed. Fifty lakes on one island; it is an environment like no other.
I have paddled around the island three times, self-supported, each time in October. I think paddling and hiking the island is the best way to absorb its energy and find an appreciation for its size, power, and majesty. In the spring of 2011, I tested the waters to see if the Fifty Lakes One Island project was possible with a one-person crew. Traveling by foot and kayak, I canvassed sixteen of the fifty lakes, living on beef jerky, Clif bars, and pasta. I was hungry and cold most of the time, but the lack of comfort only heightened my senses and gratitude for the home of my soul.
I also discovered that a bigger boat would be necessary to haul enough camera gear and food for a fifty day expedition. I plan to purchase a simple, used, 16' aluminum boat with a 30 horse power, 4-stroke outboard. I am using my dad's dry boxes, which he purchased in 1974, for camera gear, along with my younger sister's tent, circa 1994--the trusty Tadpole. I navigated the first ten lakes using only a map and compass; a GPS unit will be necessary to complete the project. When hauling expensive camera gear through uneven, wet terrain, every step counts.
The traditional nature documentary focuses on the scientific relationships among species. I want to make a unique, personal film that presents the intimate, complex relationship between man and nature. Isle Royale's wildness calms the mind and soul, welcoming thoughts of life and death, choices and consequences, plans and possibilities. A day in the woods is an experience surpassing any chemical intoxicant. There is a need for this film and I want to be the person who makes it. Fifty Lakes One Island is a meditation on the power of immersing yourself in a wild and isolated place.
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