“Covered Bridge”

 

These two photographs are of the lovely covered bridge on Pierce Stocking Drive located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. They were both made in early autumn when most of the trees were still full with green foliage. You’ll notice just a few with a bit of color change.

Whenever I’m in the Traverse City area of Michigan, I always head out to Sleeping Bear Dunes, and to Pierce Stocking Drive. It’s always beautiful no matter the time of year!

These two images are at slightly different angle from each other, and one is processed to give it a bit more of a magical feel!

Do you like one better than the other? Is it the angle, the processing, or both? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

 

"Through the Covered Bridge" The same beautiful covered bridge but with a bit of a magical air to it!
“Through the Covered Bridge”
The same beautiful covered bridge but with a bit of a magical air to it!

Barns and Wildflowers

Driving past huge fields of wildflowers on a dirt road in Superior Township, Michigan, I stopped abruptly and just gazed in amazement! After my initial gasp of happiness, I continued to drive for a few yards when I saw a sign that said “Conservancy Farm”. I turned right away into the gravel driveway and parked behind the beautiful old farmhouse that serves as the Conservancy office.

There were acres and acres of wildflowers and wild grasses growing all around the property.  All are either native to the local area, or if not, will soon be removed as to keep out invasive species of plants.

This first image is from inside of one of the fields. I stood chest high among these beauties with birds flying past me in the gorgeous summer sky! Wildflowers surrounded me in every direction! What a glorious feeling!

"Watch the Wildflowers Grow"  Millions of amazing wildflowers on acres of land and the Conservancy Farm in Superior Township, Michigan!
“Watch the Wildflowers Grow”
Millions of amazing wildflowers on acres of land and the Conservancy Farm in Superior Township, Michigan!

There are many out buildings and barns located on the Conservancy land. This one is a smaller wooden structure that is pretty much surrounded and being swallowed by lots of tall native grasses and plants! I think it’s beautiful against the wonderful wildflowers and billowy summer sky!

"Barn Among the Wildflowers" A small and gently declining old barn nestled among wild grasses with fields of various wildflowers blooming in the background!
“Barn Among the Wildflowers”
A small and gently declining old barn nestled among wild grasses with fields of various wildflowers blooming in the background!

If you take a walk way out behind the barns, you’ll find several fenced off areas that are gardening plots for some of the township citizens. The whole area is intermixed with more lovely wildflowers. You can see the back of the main red barn and silo as well as a Red-Winged Blackbird and loads more flowers.

"Red Barn and Wildflowers" The largest barn and silo as viewed from the back with wildflowers everywhere.
“Red Barn and Wildflowers”
The largest barn and silo as viewed from the back with wildflowers everywhere.

Finally this last image is actually one of the first things you’ll see right after you park behind the farmhouse. Maybe I should have put this image first, but anyway here you’ll notice the original log cabin that housed the people who used to farm this land a long time ago. The wonderful and large red barn with the silo sits off to the side and makes quite a presence. A picnic table on the neatly mowed green grass is a great place to take a break from gardening to have a snack or tall glass of lemonade, or to just sit at and admire the beauty that surrounds this wonderful location!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these images of a lovely summer day at a wonderful pure Michigan location!

"Log Cabin and Barn" The original cabin that housed the owners of this land in the beginning. Now it is sandwiched between a large red barn and a smaller out building.
“Log Cabin and Barn” The original cabin that housed the owners of this land in the beginning. Now it is sandwiched between a large red barn and a smaller out building.

“Presque Isle Harbor”

Beautiful Presque Isle Harbor, or Marquette Bay on a late spring day! You might not be able to notice right off that it was a warm weather day, but the temperatures were actually in the lower 80’s F! The ice from the long winter had been so thick there was still plenty of it around.

Each of these three images are from different vantage points along the long rock jetty or breakwater located in the bay off of Presque Isle in Marquette MI. The Breakwater lighthouse is located at the end of the jetty and on this warm day you can see people enjoying the sun and the amazing ice from the huge rock wall!

Marquette Michigan is located in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior. In my personal opinion this Great Lake is stunning at any time of the year, and this location happened to be really beautiful that day with the glistening white ice on the blue waters of the bay!

"Marquette Breakwater Lighthouse"
“Marquette Breakwater Lighthouse”
"Presque Isle Harbor Light"
“Presque Isle Harbor Light”
"Spring on Ice"
“Spring on Ice”

“Best of 2014”

Well, another year is nearly over and a new adventure about to begin! As is customary as the year comes to a close, I usually bring out ten of my best images of 2014, or actually my favorite images from the year. These are not in any particular order, but as you look through them you might see a familiar theme within almost all of the images! That theme involves water.

This first image is one taken in early autumn at Miner’s Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I had tried to time my fall foliage trips to coincide with peak color. Well that didn’t always go as planned. Fall was a bit difficult to chase this year LOL!

"Miner's Falls in October"
“Miner’s Falls in October”

In this next image you’ll notice a very turbulent looking Lake Michigan. What a beautiful day that was! Forty-Fifty mile an hour winds with wild and dramatic clouds swirling by!

"As the World Turns"
“As the World Turns”

During the spring I had the opportunity to go to one of my favorite locations in Pennsylvania, The Laurel Highlands. These next two images are from there. First is an area called Meadow Run. A beautiful fast running stream, that at times looks more like a river, and also like rapids.

"Meadow Run" 2
“Meadow Run” 2

This next image is of Cucumber Falls also in the same area of PA. I really love these falls. I’ve seen them many times, during drought, moderate rain, and during periods of good rain. I think this was during a good time with a strong flow of water. Cucumber Falls is a popular place to go, but if you get there when no one else is there, it’s pure Magic!

"Dreamy Cucumber Falls"
“Dreamy Cucumber Falls”

In keeping with this theme of water, and of my search for fall color during this autumn, I made it up to Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. I was rewarded with some pretty good color at the time. It wasn’t at peak, but it was beautiful!

"Tahquamenon Falls Autumn"
“Tahquamenon Falls Autumn”

As you’ll see here, these are really not in chronological order at all. Below you’ll find beautiful Miner’s Castle, located in Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore. It might look like it was photographed at some point during the winter, but this was actually in late May. The Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior were still having quite a bit of ice coverage even in late spring!

"Miner's Castle on Ice"
“Miner’s Castle on Ice”

While in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia in early summer I had the chance to not only photograph the mountains and valleys, but also the wildflowers. This one here made a big impression on me, and as it turns out is one of the endangered wildflowers around the Blue Ridge Parkway area of Virginia.

"Gray's Lily"
“Gray’s Lily”

A beautiful day in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which you might say is not unusual, but on this particular trip it happened to be. I didn’t find very cooperative weather for most of the two times I was there this year. I really enjoyed the beautiful weather when I had it though!

"Blue Ridge by Daylight"
“Blue Ridge by Daylight”

As many of you know, I usually go up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula pretty often. If you haven’t been there, you must cross the Mackinac Bridge to get from the lower part of MI. to the UP. This beautiful bridge is a five mile long suspension bridge which crosses over the straits of Mackinac. I often photograph the bridge in the daylight, but not often at night. This image was one of many night images taken on this particular trip.

"Mackinac Reflections"
“Mackinac Reflections”

Here you’ll find a study in minimalism. A wonderful sunrise over Lake Huron. The hues were gorgeous, the color lasted for quite a long time, and gave me a time to not only spend time photographing it, but just enjoying the peaceful moment.

"Soothing"
“Soothing”

On that note I would like to thank you all for stopping by not only for this post, but for others all through these past years!

I wish everyone much peace, blessings, and many happy moments not only behind the camera, but in all aspects of your lives!

Here we come 2015! Get Ready……..

“Lighthouse and a Sub”

Have you ever been to Muskegon Michigan? Well, if not you really ought to visit this beautiful city if you are in the area!

I had the pleasure of touring the areas of both Muskegon and Grand Haven MI.  recently.

In this first image you’ll find a view of the Muskegon Pier Light, or South Pier Light from the shores of Lake Michigan through some lovely windblown sand grass. When I say windblown I mean it. The winds were pretty wild that day!

"South Pierhead Light" This beautiful red conical lighthouse stands tall in the  Harbor of Muskegon on Lake Michigan!
“South Pierhead Light” This beautiful red conical lighthouse stands tall in the Harbor of Muskegon on Lake Michigan!

The lighthouse itself was first built in 1851. It’s situated on a long pier, and is made out of cast iron. Even though it was built in the 1800’s, it wasn’t lit until 1903. It is also an impressive 48 feet tall. The original lens for the lighthouse was a fourth order Fresnal lens, but currently it uses a 300 mm acryllic lens.

I didn’t have the opportunity to walk the pier and get a closer look this time as I was headed for the USS Silversides Submarine Museum which was right down the road.

"USS Silversides" The USS Silversides submarine!  A beautiful piece of WWII history located in Muskegon Michigan!!
“USS Silversides”
The USS Silversides submarine! A beautiful piece of WWII history located in Muskegon Michigan!!

This World War II submarine is a fascinating piece of US history. The museum and vessels are wonderful for people of all ages and especially great for a young history buff who is 12 years old!

This sub, the USS Silversides was first commissioned just after the attack on Peal Harbor. The Silversides received the Presidential Unit Citations and 12 Battle Stars for her wartime service. She completed 14 combat patrols in the Pacific during World War II.

After being retired in 1946 she was sent to Chicago where she stayed being utilized by the reserves until 1987. At that time the USS Silversides was then moved to Muskegon Michigan where she is today for all to come and enjoy the experience of being in a WWII sub, and understand the history of her service and more.

I hope you enjoyed this small bit of information and these  images that are just a tiny part of Muskegon’s history!

“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“IDS and Foshay Towers Minneapolis”

On my last visit to Minneapolis MN. I spent a day in this beautiful city just wondering around the streets essentially with my eye to the sky.

My original destination was The Foshay Tower, which I went to first. I toured the inside, then went to the observation deck for the spectacular view from the top. I love the historical aspect of the architecture there! You’ll see the Foshay Tower in the last image.

The IDS Tower was the building that called for my attention next! It’s such a lovely building with it’s glass facade, angles, and height. Two of the images below are from one frame and processed differently. The third image is from a slightly different angle of the same building that reveals some of the reflections of other structures in the area.

I really like the sharp edges and deep contrast of the architecture of the IDS Tower itself. When processing I also used high contrast in these two images, whether color or monochrome. Only the last image is done in a softer tone.

The IDS Tower is 57 stories tall, it became the tallest skyscraper in Minneapolis when it surpassed the height of the Foshay Tower, which is 32 stories tall. This happened in 1972, which then ended the Foshay Tower’s 43-year reign over the Minneapolis skyline. In addition to being a lot taller, The IDS Tower occupies much more real estate than the Foshay does. The Foshay Tower was desighed to look more like the Washington Monument so it has an obelisk-like look to it.

Enjoy these images from a small part of Minneapolis as you look to the sky. Be careful don’t strain your neck! 😉

"IDS Tower Framed" mono
“IDS Tower Framed” mono

“IDS Tower Framed” mono

"IDS Tower Framed"
“IDS Tower Framed”

“IDS Tower Framed”

"IDS Tower Reflections" mono
“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

“IDS Tower Reflections” mono

"Foshay Tower" monochrome
“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Foshay Tower” monochrome

“Grand Haven Lighthouse”

On a recent and very quick trip out to Western Michigan I had the opportunity to visit a couple of lighthouses in the area, on Lake Michigan. By the way, I love lighthouses! 🙂

Most of my short time there it was either raining, having thunderstorms, or severe wind. I had hoped for some beautiful blue skies with amazing clouds when I set out, but I had seen the forecast and didn’t have much hope. Well the clouds happened, although not quite so amazing LOL, but blue skies were hard to come by!

I happened to see an old photograph on a wall from the days of film, taken in 1950. It was of this lighthouse in Grand Haven, with large rocks in the foreground. I decided since the weather was dreary, and slightly foggy, I’d go out and try to get the vantage point that I had seen in that photo from 1950.

Obviously things have changed a bit in the landscape over these past 64 years, but I came as close as I could to it, in both position and choice of processing it in black and white.

Although not quite what I had hoped for in terms of weather, I’m still really happy I made it out there to the western side of Michigan, and hope to go back again for the tulips in Holland MI., which should be coming up pretty soon. That is, if we can get rid of this cold rainy weather! 😉

Have a great weekend everyone!

"Grand Haven Lighthouse"  Monochrome
“Grand Haven Lighthouse”
Monochrome

“Shadows Light and Bridges”

While in the middle of processing images from last autumn, I came across many from the Sculpture Garden I visited in Minneapolis MN. appropriately called The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden! It is an 11 acre site and contains more than 40 works of art as well as a conservatory, flower gardens, and more.

This beautiful bridge is part of that garden. A sculpture or work of art in itself, and also crosses over the 16 lanes of highway and streets below. It is used as a pedestrian bridge. For which I was truly grateful!

It is called “The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge”. The artist is a local Twin Cities based man by the name of Siah Armajani. The bridge was finished in 1988. Mr. Armajani used three types of bridge structure here. Beam, Arch, and suspension. He also commissioned a renowned American poet by the name of John Ashbery to write a poem to be a part of the structure. A meditation on movement, place, order, and crossing. The words can be seen across the upper side beams in both directions, running the full length of the structure!

On this particular early autumn day, after a quick look see at some of the sculptures, I spotted this bridge. I climbed the stairs and just stood there in awe of this structure! The geometry involved was wonderful in detail, and with the late morning sun hitting it just right, the shadows were intensely beautiful!

Thankfully there weren’t too many people there at the time, so I didn’t have to wait very long to get a nice empty bridge for this beautiful view!

This image just called out to me saying “Monochrome”. So I ended up processing it both in color and of course mono. I really love how the shadows crisscross each other in lovely geometric patterns. They really stand out! Somehow it also gives a dizzing feel when you stare down the middle!

I hope you enjoy this image. I may be bringing you more from this wonderful location!

"Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge"  Minneapolis MN.
“Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge”
Minneapolis MN.

“Wawatam Lighthouse St. Ignace”

Ok…..Yep…..I’m still going back through images from late last summer. In fact I’m still processing images from last spring, but that’s another story altogether! Backlogged….procrastination…. 😉

This image today is from St. Ignace Michigan in the beautiful Upper Peninsula.

This lighthouse which is called the Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, sits on Moran Bay on Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac.

The original location for this lighthouse was near Monroe Michigan, but had to be moved because of construction. It now sits on old railroad and ferry docks.

To me it looks beautiful against the blue sky and water. A perfect new home for this lovely lighthouse!

Located near it is a quiet beach and park. You can hear the waves lapping against the shore, the gulls making noise overhead, and feel the breeze coming in off Lake Huron.

Quite a lovely and peaceful place to just sit and relax! 🙂

Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan.
Wawatam Lighthouse in St. Ignace, Michigan.