Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Peter Forton

You have paying the bills, and then there are passions.

For a lucky few, they are one in the same.

But others find their solace and serenity in something other than what they do every day.

In today’s Sightseeing, Corey Adkins reintroduces you to what may be a familiar face, he used to work here at 9&10, and for many a familiar voice who has a special talent he loves to share.

This is how most people know Peter Forton.

The deep voice behind the microphone delivering news for WTCM every day.

"On the a.m. side, it’s at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are my newscasts. In between, we do traffic reports, road conditions, weather, headlines, things like that. It’s a pretty busy day," says Peter.

But Peter still finds time nearly every day to do this…

"They will probably bury me with a camera in my hand," he says.

His passion is photography, and he started with 8 millimeter movies as a boy.

"I got into the service and that’s when I really started to get serious. That’s when I had my very first still photo printed in a newspaper at an Air Force base in Maine. Then, I was hooked," explains Peter.

From Maine, to Europe, to Northern Michigan and beyond.

His career may be all about listeners, but here it’s the eyes that have it.

"We see things differently than the average person. They see this big wide sky, we see this little viewfinder version of a snapshot," says Peter.

"I shoot everything. I’ve done portraits, landscapes. I love wildlife, but I’m not a wildlife photographer that sits in a blind with an 800 mm lens that waits for animals to come by, I call it ambush photography," he tells us.

That means being fast, and sometimes patient, like one of his most memorable shots from a car on a back road in Kansas.

"I rolled up on a jackrabbit. I turned the engine off, focused on him about 20 feet away and sat there and waited. Finally curiosity got him and he stood up and his ears came up, and they were just high enough that the sun backlit them and you could see the veins and everything. Took a couple of quick shots, as soon as he heard the shutter, bam, he was gone," says Peter.

But he got the shot. Now it’s among tens of thousands stored on his computers. Peter says he knows the story behind almost all of them.

"I went to Washington, D.C. last year. We went with the WWII veterans, and we were at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. It’s just the guard at the tomb, but the sky, the clouds, we had a rainstorm come in, just the sky, it’s very dramatic. It really tells the story about the loneliness of the job," explains Peter.

And some may say this is lonely too. But for someone who deals with people, news and what can be a stressful job, this is Peter’s perfect way of winding down.

"I love it. It’s just my life and it’s a way of decompressing from work, anything stressing you out, because when I’ve got this and my eyes and my camera I’m not thinking of anything else, and when you get a great shot it just feels that much better,” says Peter. 

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus