A day at the beach. . . in February

These photos were taken on the beach at Muskegon State Park looking out over the frozen shore of Lake Michigan.  I arrived just as the sun was rising above the horizon.  The sun caught illuminated the clouds to the west and the tops of the mounds of ice that have formed on the lake.

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The sun catches the second ridge , leaving the first in shadow.
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A patch of blue sky opens up for a brief moment.
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Looking north and the moonscape created by the ice.
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Looking to the south, the Muskegon lighthouse is visible on the horizon.

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Shooting at 20 below zero (windchill)

On the 26th and 27th of January, I set out to shoot photos on what was the start of a polar vortex.  The temperature was 20 below zero Fahrenheit (actual temperature) when I stopped for gas in Cadillac, Michigan, at 5:30 a.m.  When I finally made it to Point Betsie, north of Frankfort, the temperature had risen to 4 above, but with a steady wind at 20 mph gusting into the high 30s, the windchill was well below zero.

The Point Betsie lighthouse is a favorite of photographers in the winter because the area around it becomes covered in ice creating a magical scene.  I shot there last January for the first time and found it stunning.  Click here to see those photos.  I wanted to give it another go this year.

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Looking south from the lighthouse.

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The waters along the coast at Point Betsie always are stunningly vibrant. Here, the waves crash against a breakwater._mg_7107-2_mg_7134-3_mg_7122_mg_7127

I would return to Point Betsie early on Sunday morning, but on Saturday, I made my way up the Leelanau Peninsula to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, starting at the beach at the end of Esch Road.  The shore ice building up on the beach made a great contrast with the dark clouds and light snow over Empire Bluff in the distance._mg_7048-3

Otter Creek enters Lake Michigan at the Esch Road beach.  Here the creek fights its way through the shore ice._mg_7057

The fading paint on this old shed on Norconk Road caught my eye.  _mg_7068-2

This tree along the Platte River also caught my eye as a study in tones of gray and white.

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Even in winter, the world is not black and white.  I made this shot along the Platte, thinking it was not going to amount to much.  But when I opened it on the computer, I quite liked the orange and yellow colors with the hint of blue sky peeking through the clouds.

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This time of year, the Crystal River is just a sliver of water.

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I returned to Point Betsie on Sunday morning.  The wind and cold were intolerable.  I lost the feeling in my fingers within two minutes.  I wanted to catch the waves crashing against the breakwater. With so little light, I pushed the ISO to 400 and shot with a wide open aperture in order to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the wave action.  I didn’t expect much success but was surprised how well this came out.  The red sky to the north was an added bonus.

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A final shot at Point Betsie.

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Up North on the First Full Day of Winter

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.

Point Betsie

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.

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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.

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The reflection of the dunes in the slow moving river caught my eye.

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The Platte River as it approaches Lake Michigan. A brief bit of sun is hitting Sleeping Bear Dune in the distance, while Empire Bluff remains in the shadows.

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.

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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.

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Finding fall colors on a gloomy day

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.

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The Dunes at Silver Lake State Park

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.

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The ghost forest of stumps was intriguing.

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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.

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Fall Colors at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Traveled to Sleeping Bear Dunes early Saturday morning for a day of photography. It was cloudier than I anticipated but when the sun was out, the colors popped.

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Waiting for sunrise on a cloudy Sleeping Bear Bay.
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South Manitou Island in the distance.
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A pool of water captured on the beach on Sleeping Bear Bay.
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Wave action on Sleeping Bear Bay.
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The colors burst at Point Oneida.
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The Dechow Farm in Point Oneida.
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The barn on the Charles and Hattie Olsen Farm, home to the Port Oneida Farms Heritage Center, a very nice little museum.

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More colors at Point Oneida.

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Milkweed.
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Fall colors on Good Harbor Bay, as seen from atop a dune at Pyramid Point. That is Hidden Lake in the foreground.
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Fall Colors on Good Harbor Bay.
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The Lane Road beach at Point Oneida.
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The Lane Road beach at Point Oneida.

September visit to Sleeping Bear Dunes

A few photos from a weekend trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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A stormy evening on Sleeping Bear Bay
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A dramatic sunrise over Shalda Creek where it crosses Bohemian Road.
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Shalda Creek
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Barn on the Lawr Farm.
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Barn door on the Lawr Farm
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The stone barn at the Thoreson Farm
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The granary on the Thoreson Farm.
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Entrance to the granary on the Thoreson Farm.