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.

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.Fall Colors 5 Mile Road-6232Fall Colors 5 Mile Road-6233Fall Colors 5 Mile Road-6240Fall Colors 5 Mile Road-6246

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.

A Morning on Good Harbor Bay

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.

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Driftwood on the beach at Good Harbor Bay

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This driftwood sits in Shalda Creek as it approaches Good Harbor Bay in the background.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hiking the Wild Basin Trail to the Calypso Cascades

I hiked the Wild Basin Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park on Friday. I hiked to the Calypso Cascades, a round trip hike of 3.6 miles with a 700 foot elevation gain.

Just three tenths of a mile from the trailhead, a hiker is rewarded with views of lower and upper Copeland Falls.

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Hiking along North Saint Vrain Creek, the sound of rushing water accompanied me most of the way.

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Another mile up the trail from the Copeland Falls, the Wild Basin Trail Crosses North Saint Vrain Creek.

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The Calypso Cascades are another three tents of a mile up the mountain. The flow was down this time of year, but the falls are still a spectacular view.

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Ouzel Falls are another nine tenths of a mile up the trail with additional gain of 250 feet. I had originally hoped to get to Ouzel, but daylight and my water supply were getting low.  Perhaps another day.

 

The Blood Moon Gives Way to a Foggy Morning

Friday’s lunar eclipse, the longest of the year, occurred before the moon rose in North America, but its effects could still be seen as the Blood Moon rose above Reeds Lake.  By Saturday morning, the moon was washed of its blood-red coloring and brought a glow to the pre-dawn fog. (Click on an image to see it full-size.)

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The morning sky was a beautiful pastel as it illuminated the foggy landscape.

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