I wandered north on Saturday, December 22, to do some photography on the first full day of winter. Unlike my usual trips that begin long before dawn, this trip started at 10 a.m. I was at Point Betsie by 1:00 p.m. On such a gloomy day, it didn’t matter that I was shooting at mid day. There is still so much beauty on a cloudy day. And I found lots of it on the Platte River as it prepares to flow into Lake Michigan. But, my intention in starting out late was to shoot at dusk and after sunset to capture a photo of Art’s Tavern, festively lit for the holidays, and Fishtown in Leland, which is also sporting festive, though less garish, lights.
You may remember from my photos of the Point Betsie lighthouse last year how it gets consumed by ice. Well, winter is being very slow in coming and there is just a little bit of ice beginning to form. You have to start somewhere.
The Platte River
The Platte River flows into Lake Michigan at the south end of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. As it approaches the lake, it passes some low sand dunes. The ice forming on the grasses on the river’s edge intrigued me — like diamonds forming on the shore.
The reflection of the dunes in the slow moving river caught my eye.
Art’s Tavern, Glen Arbor, Michigan
It’s always worth the drive to Art’s Tavern. But Art’s gets bonus points this time of year for its festive decorations.
Fishtown, Leland, Michigan
In the latter part of the 1800s, Leland became a fishing town for white settlers on the Leelanau Peninsula. They joined native people who had fished Lake Michigan for hundreds of years. The shanties in Fishtown began to be constructed at the turn of the 20th century. The Janice Sue and the Joy are two fishing tugs that still conduct commercial fishing operations out of the Leland harbor.
A gloomy Saturday morning with periods of light rain. But I ventured out to see what I could do. We are on the receding side of the fall color show. So I tried something a little different. I used camera movement to create a softer, abstract view of fall. With a little post-processing magic, I think the resulting images are interesting.
Each of these images was shot with a slow shutter speed, hand held. As the shutter clicked, I moved the camera from bottom to top.
I visited Silver Lake State Park today. The park, which is located between Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, near Mears, Michigan, has over 2,000 acres of sand dunes.
The ghost forest of stumps was intriguing.
Also at the park is the Little Sable Point Light. The light was constructed in 1874. The lamp was electrified in 1954, ending the need for a keeper. The keeper’s house and other buildings were razed following that.
I left home at about 2:45 a.m. yesterday to get to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore at least an hour before dawn. I wanted a little extra time, since I hadn’t planned where I was going to set up. The weather forecast called for partially cloudy skies. When I arrived at Glen Haven, the morning sky was a dark as could be. It became clear that there would be no colorful sunrise. The only question was whether the clouds would be at all interesting. I decided to set up on Good Harbor Bay. If the sky was dull, I could always go in close at Shalda Creek or try for a woodlands shot along the Good Harbor Bay Trail.
To my great pleasure, when the sun came up (behind the clouds), the clouds revealed a moody structure and the driftwood on the beach made for foreground interest.
This driftwood sits in Shalda Creek as it approaches Good Harbor Bay in the background.
After grabbing breakfast at Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor, I returned to Good Harbor Bay to hike the Good Harbor Bay Trail. The trail is an easy 2.8 miles, with no elevation gain. The trail is interesting as the varieties of trees keeps changing along the way. I was looking for a good woodlands shot, but finding order in the chaos of a forest isn’t as easy as you might think. I finally decided to take a few shots of the trail itself.
Before leaving Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, I stopped by the Point Oneida farm district. I like this stand of birches that have been drowned by the expanding wetlands the beavers have created in the area. I thought I would try shooting it in black-and-white.
Driving home on the Benzonia Trail (Benzie County Road 677), I was this scene just north of Fowler Road. I did a quick u-turn to catch these shots. Can’t decide whether I like the photo better in landscape or portrait mode.