The “Big Lake” has been angry the past few days, with red flags warning swimmers not to go into the water. The lake has, sadly, claimed 19 people so far this year. These photos taken yesterday at the Point Betsie lighthouse show the power and the beauty of the lake.
I recently got a new mid-range zoom lens for my camera. My old lens was frustrating me because it was hit or miss whether a photo would be tack sharp. So now that I have a better lens, what do I start shooting? ICM, which stands for “intentional camera movement.”
This past weekend I saw the photos of a British photographer Andy Gray (www.AndrewSGray.photography). Andy uses ICM to create some remarkable abstract landscape photos. I had taken some ICM shots last fall, and seeing Andy’s work, I thought I would give it a go once again. Here are some ICM photos I took last evening in a swamp a few blocks from our house.
According to the historic marker at Trestle Park, on Summit Avenue, in Algoma Township, north of Rockford, Michigan, the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad hired a local farmer to build a stone culvert under a railroad trestle that crossed what was then known as Wicked Creek (now called Stegman Creek). Completed in 1885, the culvert is an amazing feat of construction. It seems incredible that a local farmer would have the engineering skills and tools necessary to build such a structure. The railroad and trestle are long gone, but the White Pine Trail now passes over the culvert on its 92-mile journey from Grand Rapids to Cadillac, Michigan.
The National Park Service conducted the first ever controlled burn in the park in May. The Service burned about 917 acres west of M-22 between Trail’s End Road on the north and Peterson Road on the South. I visited the area on Saturday.
The morning started at Bass Lake at the end of Trail’s End Road. The sky was covered with clouds, but a hint of reflected sunlight peaked through the clouds about twenty minutes before sunrise.
The shore of Bass Lake is lined with cedar trees. The roots of this upturned cedar are a work of nature’s art.
As I hiked the trail from Bass Lake to the burn area, I at first did not recognize it. I had imagined that the large trees would be burned more than they were. The leaves covering the ground had not burned. And ferns had spouted.
The area south of Deer Lake was in the burn area, but this small area was spared the flames.
After exploring the burn area and grabbing breakfast in Glen Arbor, I went to the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Drive, hoping to get photos of a storm coming. The storm, however, passed far to the south.
The roots of these trees at the dune overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive have a precarious hold on the shifting sand.
The struggle of plants to stabilize the dunes is ongoing.
These trees give a large hint to the direction of the prevailing winds at the top of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
I traveled north and spent the weekend camped at the D.H. Day Campground at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This gave me an opportunity to both in the early morning and around sunset. I started my day on the Grasshopper Loop of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area trail south of Traverse City. I spent some time waiting in a meadow for the sun to rise to get this shot. As I anticipated, the rising set this amazing larch tree on fire!
From the meadow I walked along the board walk.
I seem to be intrigued by roots these days. This next set of roots appears to be reaching out to me.
Dutchman’s breeches along the Kettles trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The U.S. Forest Service site reports that the flower has many different common names around the country. One is ” Little Blue Staggers,” so called because the plant is known to induce a drunken stagger when cattle graze on it because of narcotic and toxic substances in the poppy-related genus.
Cedars along the shore of Tucker Lake.
A view of Glen Lake from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Some shots atop Sleeping Bear Dune at sunset.
The weekend was the weekend of the new moon. The sky was perfectly clear, offering the perfect opportunity for my first attempt at astrophotography, a photo of the Milky Way.
I visited Saugatuck Dunes State Park yesterday morning. Here are some photos.
I arrived early, an hour before sunrise, to take advantage of the light during the “blue hour.” The water in this vernal pond reflects the brightening sky.
This tree, with its exposed roots, captured by attention and held it for some time.
I experimented with a technique called “photo stacking,” in which I took several photos focusing first close by and then successively deeper into the photograph. Photo stacking is used to get a tack-sharp photo throughout the image.
Yesterday, I explored the Houdek Dunes Natural Area. Houdek Dunes is five miles north of Leland on M-22. The property is owned by the Leelanau Conservancy. It comprises 330 acres and has about 3 miles of trails that take you through open dunes and several types of forests. What stood out to me yesterday morning were the birch trees, many of which, protected by the dunes, have lived for over 100 years. That’s quite unusual for a birch tree. With their white bark, the birches caught my eye for this series of photographs.