Todd and Brad Reed '01Arthur DeKruyter ’47Dorina Lazo Gilmore '99

Ludington State Park: Queen of the North
by Todd and Brad Reed ’01
Ludington, Mich.: Todd & Brad Reed Photography, LLC, 2008, 200 pp., $35, DVD $20

Most of the time a great image exists for just a fleeting second, and then it’s gone. “Almost great can be awful—it’s not like horseshoes. If you don’t get the feeling, it’s not good. It’s all about the feeling,” said Todd Reed.

What photographers Brad Reed ’01 and his father, Todd, have teamed up to do in Ludington State Park: Queen of the North is provide readers with a feeling. “We want you to look at an image and be there,” Todd said.

The 170 stunning images in the book cover many of the 5,300 acres of Ludington State Park, as traversed for 18 months by the Reeds. The photos illustrate the park’s diverse wildlife, including the bald eagle, porcupine, piping plover, great blue heron, grey squirrel, otter, mink and fox, as well as the natural beauty of all four seasons in the Lake Michigan shore park.

A cougar, bear and coyote were among the shots the pair wanted for the book but couldn’t capture. “I desperately wanted a coyote,” Brad said. “We got the fox and the porcupine, though. Those were pretty tough ones.

“You have to have goals to get you out the door,” he continued. “Sometimes you get lucky and get the picture, and sometimes you find pictures along the way that are way better than what you were expecting to get in the first place.”

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One of the definitive goals of the book was to photograph eagles. “We were spending days looking for eagles and when we would see them, they would say, ‘Oh, there’s the Reed boys,’ and fly away.”

“We hiked hundreds of miles, and in six months with an eagle as our number-one mission we didn’t get a good eagle shot,” added Todd.

After talking with a man who frequents the park almost daily, the Reeds were told that to get to the eagles, you have to go by boat. “We learned a lot about the eagles’ patterns, how close we could get, how slowly to approach them and even which direction to approach them from,” said Brad.

The result was some magnificent images of eagles, including Todd’s favorite photo in the book: a pair of eagles perched in a white pine tree. “What I like about it is it’s the perfect backdrop for the birds, and they’re perfectly placed in it. They made the decision to be there at that moment, and it created a great image.”

Brad’s favorite is one of his Northern Lights photos. “It was one of the most magnificent things I’ll ever witness in my life,” he said. “It’s one of the most emotional and spiritual events I’ve ever photographed.”

The book is a collection of the best images that represent the majesty and wonder of the park. The images were selected from nearly 10,000 images of unique subject matter. “What we’re trying to do in this book is show people who know and love Ludington State Park what they know and love and maybe show them a few things that we’ve discovered that perhaps they haven’t,” said Brad.

Calvin English professor William Vande Kopple ’72 is one of those persons. He grew up frequenting the park every summer and has returned every year for more than half a century. In the book’s foreword he writes, “As I savor the photographs in this book, I relish memories formed across decades, and I learn to see again as I did as a kid. In the Reeds’ book, nearly all of the places in the park that I have come to love have a striking representation.”

For a complete multisensory experience, the images are also available on DVD arranged to music composed and performed by pianist Gregg DeMey ’95. “He’s at once so powerful and so sensitive,” said Todd. “You can feel nature in his music.”

The Reeds hope the images will serve as a magnet to draw people to Michigan and specifically Ludington State Park. “People will be blown away by its natural beauty,” said Brad. And their advice: Bring a camera. “Being here without your camera,” Brad said, “it’s like torture.”

For more, visit their website.


The Suburban Church: Practical Advice for Authentic Ministry by Arthur DeKruyter ’47 with Quentin Schultze, Calvin communication arts and sciences professor
Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008, 168 pp., $18.95.

More than half of all North Americans live in the suburbs. In The Suburban Church, Arthur DeKruyter encourages Christians to go where the people congregate and illustrates how to plant, grow and renew suburban congregations. Throughout this book, DeKruyter relies on 45-plus years of pastoral ministry experience. He demonstrates how to minister successfully, dispels myths about suburbia, and explains how to recruit and support volunteers and how to connect international missions to local church growth.


A Stone in the Soup: A Hmong Girl’s Journey to the United States by Dorina Lazo Gilmore ’99
Fresno, Calif.: Poppy Lane Publishing, 2006, 39 pp., $15.

A Stone in the Soup is a story that combines the adventures of a young Hmong girl with the Stone Soup fable. It captures the wonder and awe of a young girl as she makes friends in her new home, the United States. The love and connection she feels for her grandmother is something to which everyone can relate as she tries to bridge her two worlds.           

Read more about Dorina Lazo Gilmore and see her biography as a Festival of Faith and Writing speaker.