There are grand views aplenty when you’re working with adventure filmmaker Greg MacGillivray—his name is practically synonymous with epic nature IMAX films shot in coral reefs or the top of Everest. The director naturally chose the most iconic vistas in America as subjects of his latest film, National Parks Adventure. Photographer Max Lowe starred in the IMAX tribute alongside his father, climber Conrad Anker, and friend, artist Rachel Pohl, traveling to famed spots like Yosemite and Arches National Park. The park he remembers most vividly, though, is less of a household name. Shooting at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan was a highlight of the project, Lowe says, because he had no idea anything like it existed in the national parks system. “It was right out of science fiction,” he says. “It seemed like you could walk forever and never see a thing but flat white nothing, and massive, buckled ice seams jutting skyward.”
The team flew in a blizzard to the shores of Lake Superior this February to capture the icy landscape, explore its caves, and climb its massive ice pillars. Lowe’s shots give a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden midwestern gem of a park.
Photo: Conrad Anker climbs an ice pillar in the fading evening, lit by flood lights, while the production crew stands below. The crew of more than 20 people took snowmobiles over 12 inches of ice to reach some locations. Lowe remembers hearing the lake groaning beneath the surface.