Whether he’s fishing, boating, hunting or skiing, Gary Osterbeck is at home in the woods with his camera.
Now, Osterbeck has embarked on an ambitious project to photograph the Boyne River, and bring its beauty to all.
“I started off by Thumb Lake and met a woman whose grandparents started 88 acres out there,” said Osterbeck. “It was cool, rainy and we walked out through the field, and she pointed this water boiling out of the ground.”
He added, “I want to capture the beauty of up north and take it to people who cannot otherwise see it.”
According to The Friends of The Boyne River, the Boyne River’s main stream is 5.6 river miles long—from its mouth at Lake Charlevoix to the junction of the north branch and the South Branch just north of Boyne Falls.
The river’s north branch is 5.9 river miles long from the junction of the north branch and the south branch north of Boyne Falls to its source west of Thumb Lake.
And, the river’s south branch is 10.5 river miles long from the junction of the north branch and the south branch north of Boyne Falls to its source south of Elmira.
So far, Osterbeck’s project has encompassed photographing the South branch of the Boyne River, which he has finished.
Now he is working on the north branch of the river.
“This project has been a vertical learning curve for me,” Osterbeck said. “I don’t know too much about putting the pictures together but my daughters have helped me—they sat here and we put together the south branch.”
He added, “With any kind of luck I should be able to finish it this summer. The north branch is not as complicated. It’s fairly easy to do the Boyne River once those two are joined.”
Originally from Detroit, Osterbeck grew up in a town called Walnut Lake, a rural area six miles west of Birmingham in southeastern Michigan.
“I went to a two-room school with four grades in each room with about four kids per grade,” said Osterbeck. “I have been coming to Boyne since 1953 with Al Liztenburger when we were all going to MSU—we all worked on the Boyne Mountain ski patrol.”
Osterbeck bought a condo on the Landings in the 1970s before building two homes on Lake Charlevoix, and he became a permanent resident here in 1989.
“I worked for Kelsey Hayes for over 30 years and retired early and worked for Boyne USA Resorts as director of sales. I left there after eight great years and became VP of New Business Development for FMB,” said Osterbeck “We were having a great time until Huntington bought us out and we all lost our jobs, so I thought that I would go back to taking photos.”
Osterbeck has been an avid photographer since his 20s, having experience with all types of media.
“I was very proficient and at one time had a complete darkroom and did all of my own black and white processing,” said Osterbeck. “The Little Traverse Bay Land Conservancy asked me to do a web site for them so I started taking pictures—the photographs are available for viewing at landtrust.org.”
To see many of Osterbeck’s photos so far, go to http://tinyurl.com/l3u5vcs.