Where Are the Fall Colors?

Yesterday, I left Grand Rapids at 4:20 a.m. to get to Bass Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore an hour before sunrise.  I had shot some photos at Bass Lake and the adjacent Otter Lake back in July. Back then I thought what a great place to visit in the fall, when the trees had some color.  Driving north yesterday in the dark, I was filled with anticipation. But, when the sun came up, the trees gave only a hint of fall.  That was true throughout the park – it is all still really green.

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Still, the scene was beautiful and worth the drive.

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As I waited for the sun to rise, I watched the setting moon reflected among the reeds in the water.

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After breakfast, I headed over to Point Oneida, an area the always intrigues me.  Driving along Baker Road, a two track road that bisects the point, I spied this view of the Carsten Burfield farm, with Lake Michigan in the background.

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Turning the camera just a bit gave me this view of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

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The farm buildings on Point Oneida are striking in their simplicity.

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While there was little color at Sleeping Bear, I witnessed some beautiful color on the drive home.  I stopped by the High Rollaway Overlook near Buckley, which I visited in September. Though not at peak, the colors were still breathtaking.

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Imagine what it will look like next week.

A September Day Shooting Photos at Sleeping Bear

I headed north early yesterday morning to the Sleeping Bear Dunes trail in Glen Haven, Michigan. It was a beautiful morning. I had climbed to the top of a dune an hour before sunrise and got to enjoy the stars as I planned my first shots of the day. As always, the stars were beautiful, with Orion and his belt showing off in the southern sky. (Click on a photo to see a larger view.)

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Sleeping Bear Bay from atop the dune on the Sleeping Bear Dune Trail.

After shooting across Sleeping Bear Bay, I headed further along the the Sleeping Bear Dune Trail to the Ghost Forest, which is always fun to shoot in the morning light. To me, photos of these trees that were once buried in sand and have now risen from the dead look best in black and white.

There were few signs of color up north, but I founds some hints of fall at Tucker Lake in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Near Tucker Lake are the headwaters of the Crystal River, a 6.3 mile shallow stream that winds through the forest from Fisher Lake to Lake Michigan.  Here is a photograph taken from the bridge where the river first crosses Crystal View Road (County Road 675).

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Before leaving Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to return home, I stopped at Lane Road Beach on Sleeping Bear Bay in the Point Oneida Rural Historic District.

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The dappled light brought out the colors of the stones in the water.

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On my day trips up north, I shoot early in the morning, setting up before dawn (yesterday at 6:15 a.m.), until that special morning light is gone. After about three hours it is off to breakfast and then some additional shooting and scouting. On my way back from the Leelanau Peninsula, I stopped at the High Rollaway Overlook near Buckley. It offers an incredible view of the valley. I wanted to see it for the first time and take a test shot in the hopes that I can return during peak color this fall. The rollaway was used by logging companies in the 18th century. They rolled their logs down the steep embankment to the Manistee River. From there, the logs were floated down river to a sawmill.

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Sunsets from Sleeping Bear Point

I was able to spend a couple of nights on the Leelanau Peninsula this weekend to continue my efforts to capture this beautiful area in photos that do it justice.  Since I stayed on the Peninsula rather than taking a day trip, I was able to try my hand at capturing the sunsets.

Each night, I climbed the dune at Sleeping Bear Point, near Glen Haven, to get 360 degree view.  To the west was Lake Michigan, the Manitou Passage and South Manitou Island.

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To the east was the town of Glen Arbor on Sleeping Bear Bay, pictured in the lingering glow after the sun had set.

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Neither of the sunsets I witnessed were anywhere near as stunning as some of the spectacular sunsets my family and I have witnessed sitting on the beach, but even a so-so sunset on the Peninsula is pretty awe inspiring.

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Another trip to Sleeping Bear

Once again, I headed up to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore very early yesterday morning, this time to catch the sunrise on Otter and Bass Lakes. The two lakes are a stone’s throw from each other south of Empire. After breakfast, I took a short walk up to Lookout Point on the Bay View Trail and then a longer hike on the trail at the old Treat Farm. That trail climbs up a dune the top of which offers a dramatic 360 degree view. After lunch, I came home along M22, through Frankfort, Arcadia, Portage Lake and Manistee, stopping to climb the Arcadia Bluff lookout. A spectacular day up north.

Otter Lake

Bass Lake

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The view from Lookout Point on the Bay View Trail 

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The Treat Farm Trail

The path to the Treat Farm begins at the Tweedle Farm on Norconk Road. The Tweedle family settled in the area around 1840 and established their farm at this location around 1895.

(The following photos have captions. To read them, scroll over the photo.)

The Arcadia Bluff Overlook

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A Quick Trip “Up North”

Out the door at Saturday morning at 3:15 a.m. for the three hour drive to the Leelanau Peninsula to catch the sunrise. I arrived just in time to see the sun rising over Narada Lake near Point Oneida in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

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Shortly thereafter a layer of clouds blanketed the sky, giving me an excuse to go to breakfast. After breakfast I found a Sandhill Crane who was more than willing to pose for me.

I also drove up to the tip of the Peninsula to see the Grand Traverse lighthouse.

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