Esch Road Beach

“Morning is when I’m awake, and there is dawn in me.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I spent the last two Saturday mornings on a Lake Michigan beach at the end of Esch Road in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Why go back twice in such a short period of time? As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, ““No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” The same is true for visiting Lake Michigan.

The morning of my first visit was moody and gray. A strong wind maintained a steady barrage of waves, which created the abstracts of sand that I posted last week.

The lake is at its highest point in at least 35 years. Strong winds and high waves have eroded the dunes causing many trees (and some homes) to lose their footing, falling into the lake.

Just south of the end of Esch Road, Otter Creek enters the big lake.

Returning to the beach a week later, I found a more uplifting sky. As the sun approached the horizon, it ignited the passing clouds.

A week of strong winds and waves had moved this tree, which only a week before commanded the view at the mouth of Otter Creek, and begun to bury it in sand.

Unlike a week before when a view of the mouth of Otter Creek only hinted at the warmth of the rising sun, the rising sun lit up the passing clouds.

When photographing the morning light, it pays to turn around. Watching the sky light up over Otter Creek was wonderful, but if I hadn’t turned around I would have missed a most amazing light show in the sky over Platte Bay to the southwest, complete with the base of a rainbow in the distance.

Abstracts of Sand

If you walk Lake Michigan’s beaches, you may come across black sand that has a hint of red it in.  Oil spill? No. The black sand is actually a mineral called magnetite. Another mineral, hematite, gives the sand its red color.  Magnetite and hematite are naturally occurring.  They were ground into sand by the receding glaciers and occasionally find their way ashore, delivered by waves and wind. Yesterday, I shot these photographs of abstracts of sand. (Click on an image to see them larger.)

 

As luck would have it

I went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park yesterday and was shooting photos of a group of sculptures on loan from the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.  Those photos did not turn out well, but as I was leaving the rooftop garden where they are on display, I saw this flowering plant by the exit.  I really like how the image came out.

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Views of the Leelanau

After months of working at home, we spent a week physical distancing in Leelanau County.  I rose early each morning to shoot as the sun rose.

Sunrise in Glen Haven

One of my goals for the week was to practice panoramic photographs.  It involves taking several overlapping photographs and stitching them together using Photoshop.  I had some pretty dramatic sunrises looking across Sleeping Bear Bay toward Pyramid Point.

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Glen Haven was once a bustling port.  One of the remaining buildings in the village the Glen Haven Canning Company, owned by D.H. Day.

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Dew on the beach grass creates specular highlights in this photo.

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Even without dramatic clouds, the sunrise on Sleeping Bear Bay is breathtaking.

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Finding My Roots

Lately, I have been intrigued by the roots of trees. So another goal for our trip was to try to take some interesting photos of them.  I visited Bass Lake, where the shore is lined by cedar trees.

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I also visited the Teichner Preserve on Lime Lake where cedars again line the shore.

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These cedar roots are the last thing keeping these three trees from falling into the lake.

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I took this shot along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail in Glen Arbor.

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Port Oneida Rural Historic District

I return frequently to the Port Oneida Rural Historic District, where the farms were established in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  For a time, the National Park Service was letting the farms decay, with the intention of turning Sleeping Bear Dunes into a wilderness area.  That plan has changed, and with the help of Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, a not-for-profit, the farms buildings are being restored and preserved.

This is a panoramic photo of the outbuildings of the Thoreson Farm.  The red building is the granary.

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I have taken so many photos of this granary, one of the few remaining buildings on the Peter and Jenny Burfiend Farm.

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Omena, Michigan

Omena, Michigan, is a tiny town on the Leelanau Peninsula, between Sutton’s Bay and Northport.  It has a few charming buildings, including the local post office . . .

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and the Omena Bay Country Store, which has unfortunately closed.

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The Omena Presbyterian Church was dedicated in 1858.  It holds services only in the summer, with visiting ministers.

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But, services were suspended this year because of the Covid-19 virus.

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Photographing the church, I noticed the cemetery behind it.  The cemetery was unlike any I have visited before.  Most of the graves were marked by blank, roughcut  headstones.

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A marker explained.

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Sunset over Lake Michigan and South Manitou Island

One of our traditions when vacationing in Glen Arbor is watching the sun set each evening.  The show was dramatic on our second evening,  as the sun set amidst a clearing storm._MG_5837-Edit-5 Noise reduction

Each subsequent evening offered a different show.

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The Message

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, peaceful protesters met in Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids and marched in silence to protest the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.  Their message of outrage was clear.  As night fell, a different crowd took to the streets and the evening turned violent as rioters smashed the windows of downtown businesses, burned police cars and caused other mayhem.

The following morning, volunteers from the community came downtown and cleaned up the mess leaving, behind boarded up businesses. Most of the business remain covered in plywood.  But, the plywood has become a canvas for artists to send a message to the community about racism, redemption, and Black Lives Matter.

Someday soon, the plywood will come down, replaced by glass. The artwork will be auctioned off.  While it is wonderful that the artwork will be preserved, it may lose some of its impact when it no longer appears together.  So today I walked around downtown today to capture these photos.  (Click on an image to see it larger.)

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More shots from Seidman Park

I figure I spent close to two hours this weekend (2 separate visits) standing in the middle of a stream that feeds into Honey Creek. What a great way to start the day, listening to the burbling of the stream as it passes over the rocks on its way to the larger creek. On this morning’s visit I was rewarded with mayapple flowers, which are hidden beneath a canopy of leaves.  Mayapples grow in colonies from a single root system.  Their leaves obscure the beautiful flower that blossoms in late April or May.

“Our Magnificent Planet”

I submitted three photographs to Lenswork Magazine today for possible inclusion in a book they will publish this fall titled, “Our Magnificent Planet.” They will select 300 photographs from those submitted. Fingers crossed, they will select one of these. (Click on images to see them full size.)