“2015 My Year in Review”

Here we are at the end of 2015, and what a year it’s been! As I’ve done for the past four years in a row, I am posting my favorite images of this past year. Not necessarily the best, but my personal faves. It was hard to narrow it down to only ten, but I finally did after a lot of going back and forth. These are not in any particular order and are of several different subjects. I hope you enjoy them! If you would like to look at my 2014 year in review you can check that out here. Best of 2014

Jim Goldstein in his Blog Project has hosted the year in review or top 10 images on his blog for a number of years, and I always look forward to it!  There are photographers from all around the world with amazing images! I hope you’ll check out his blog and take a look at the wonderful array of photographers and gather inspiration from their images! His post should be up in the early part of January 2016!

"Kayaking at Miners Falls" Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!
“Kayaking at Miners Falls”
Gorgeous blue waters of Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore in summer!

 

"Great Lakes Autumn Waves" A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!
“Great Lakes Autumn Waves”
A beautiful and windy day on Lake Superior near Munising in autumn!

 

"One Very Fine Day" This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!
“One Very Fine Day”
This was a fabulous day in Marquette Michigan on Presque Isle Park!

 

"Life is But a Dream" This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!
“Life is But a Dream”
This was one special sunset on Lake Michigan! The waters were like glass, and the whole world seemed alive with the colors of sunset. There were several people kayaking and canoeing on the smooth water! Dreamy!

 

 

"My Sweet Lady" This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!
“My Sweet Lady”
This year was a great year for peonies! I particularly loved this huge specimen!!

 

"Grape Hyacinth"2 One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!
“Grape Hyacinth”2
One of many beautiful Grape Hyacinth this spring!

 

"Beautiful Cedar Falls" I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!
“Beautiful Cedar Falls”
I had the opportunity to go to Hocking Hills in Hocking County Ohio this summer. The many waterfalls in the location and the amazing rock formations were wonderful! The summer was a dry one, so the water flow wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but it was beautiful to me anyway!

 

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray" This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”
This scene in late fall with a beautiful snow just begged for black and white processing!

 

"Sweet Potato Mash" I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!
“Sweet Potato Mash”
I had a year with a lot of motion blur abstracts, and this is one of my favorites!

 

"Song of Light" A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh- nature abstracts this year!
“Song of Light”
A bokeh delight in the fresh summer grass! One of my favorite bokeh-licious abstracts this year!

 

As we end this year and head into 2016, I’d like to wish everyone and their families all the best in the New Year. I wish you all good health, good times, plenty of adventures and family to enjoy it with!

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  ~ Edward Abbey ~

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“Delicious Autumn”

In what I consider to be the most glorious and delicious of all seasons, autumn!  I’ve chosen quite a few lovely quotes about fall and added some of my recent photographs.

The first image is from the shores of Lake Superior with the leaves in an early state of change, the winds blowing strongly and waves rolling in, crashing against the rock and shoreline!

The second image is from an early morning walk with the sunlight shining brightly through the myriad of colorful leaves on the ground!

Enjoy the images and quotes below!

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~ George Elliot ~

“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.” ~ Leo Tolstoy ~ as said to Nikolay Strakhov

"Great Lakes Autumn Waves"
“Great Lakes Autumn Waves”

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” ~ Jim Bishop ~

“..I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~

"Of Light and Leaves"
“Of Light and Leaves”

“Just after the death of the flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season,
When nature is all aglow—
Aglow with a mystical splendour
That rivals the brightness of spring,
Aglow with a beauty more tender
Than aught which fair summer could bring….”
~ Emeline B. Smith ~

“Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day!
Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree…”
~ Emily Brontë ~

 

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“Colors of Sunrise and Sunset”

I always enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset, especially over a body of water. The clouds and colorful hues are reflected on the surface making it absolutely glorious! Scroll down to see two sunset and one sunrise image from this summer on two of the Great Lakes.

I’ve also included several quotes on the topic of sunrise and sunset. Enjoy!

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

“When the sun has set, no candle can replace it.”
~ George R.R. Martin ~

"Spectacular Sunset" An amazing sunset on glassy waters of Lake Michigan!
“Spectacular Sunset”
An amazing sunset on glassy waters of Lake Michigan!

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.”
~ Jo Walton ~
“Sunrise paints the sky with pinks and the sunset with peaches. Cool to warm. So is the progression from childhood to old age.”
~ Vera Nazarian ~

"Dawn's First Light" A Soothing and peaceful sunrise on Lake Huron!
“Dawn’s First Light”
A Soothing and peaceful sunrise on Lake Huron!

“The blue of daylight
fades and chills as the sun sinks
beneath clouds of fire.”
~ Richelle E. Goodrich ~

“The sunset was a splendid display. I wondered if it was showing off for my benefit or if it was often that spectacular. Rarely had I seen such a gorgeous scene; the riotous colors flamed out over the sky in shades that I had no words to describe. Birds sang their last songs of the day before tucking in for the night, and still the darkness hung back. Now, I thought, I understand the word “twilight.” It was created for just this time – in this land.”
~ Janette Oke ~

"Magnificent Sunset" Another gorgeous sunset from Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula!
“Magnificent Sunset”
Another gorgeous sunset from Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula!

“But even the longest day wears to sunset.”
~ Marion Zimmer Bradley ~

“The World in Monochrome”

Well I can’t believe it’s already June! Spring is almost gone, and summer just around the corner! I’ve had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling recently so I’m sorry if my posts have been a bit infrequent. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into a better schedule pretty soon!

I’m usually a person who tends more towards colorful images as most of you may have noticed. In this post though I decided to convert a few of my more recent images to monochrome. They definitely take on a bit more moody feel.

It’s not that I don’t like working in black and white, I do, I love it, and sometimes it’s really the only way to go.  These images below work well in both black and white, and color in my opinion.

Here in this post you’ll find the monochrome conversions. If you’d like to see the color versions, check out  —>“Old Man’s Cave Upper Falls”  here.

"Old Man's Cave Upper Falls" B&W
“Old Man’s Cave Upper Falls” monochrome

For the color version of “Dappled Forest Magic” check it out here. —> “Dappled Forest Magic”

"Dappled Forest Magic" monochrome
“Dappled Forest Magic” monochrome

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather, and making some fun travel plans for the summer!

“Some Days are Just Perfect”

You know how some days are just perfect? There’s a certain feel in the air, and somehow you feel more open to the world, open to the world of possibilities! The weather might be perfect, or maybe not. It doesn’t matter though, because to you it is “just perfect”!

Well that’s how I felt on this day. I’m not even sure of the exact location of this lake, but when I saw it while driving, I knew that I had to turn around, find a way to get to it, and spend some time there.

The day was cool but the sun was warm. It’s rays just touching and warming my shoulders and arms. There was a slight breeze, not a lot, just enough to send small delicate ripples through the water. The sky seemed to go on forever with beautiful clouds that cast slight reflections on the water.

Ducks and geese made their way casually through the water grasses and out into the open lake. I stayed watching the clouds move across the sky, and the ducks glide across the water for quite a while. Just drinking in the soothing deliciousness of the day till I knew I had taken in my fill!

I am longing for one of those days now, and I have high hopes for one with spring weather just knocking ever so gently at the door.

The winter seems behind us now, but just barely. Enough though to breath a sigh of relief, and look forward to those warm rays of sunshine kissing my skin and nourishing my soul!

I wish you all a wonderful week and I hope that you find your perfect day over and over again!

"Just Perfect"
“Just Perfect”

“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……..

“Flowing Water”

 

Earlier this fall I made more than one trip up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I was trying to capture the fall color at the right times in several different locations. Well that didn’t exactly go as planned. Probably Murphy’s Law! 😉
I did manage to get to some locations though at the best time for color! 🙂

During my trips I did have quite a few “bad weather days”. Some are the kind you feel you just have to go out in to experience the raw power of nature. Other times it seemed a good time to kick back and relax, to just wait for things to clear.

One of my favorite subjects to photograph on those cloudy dreary days, which I encountered quite a bit, are waterfalls. I made it to several falls this time in the Munising area near Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore.

Munising Falls is one of them. It was rainy, getting close to sunset, and quite breezy, but oh so beautiful!  This is one of many images I made at the falls. I love to watch the flowing water!

"Munising Falls in the beginning of autumn.
“Munising Falls in the beginning of autumn.

The area if your not familiar with it, is an easy trail from the car to the falls. A Ranger station is located on the site. There are three platformed viewing areas but the main location which is the first one you’ll see is by far the best one for good access to the view. I enjoyed talking with the rangers that are on staff there, they are quite friendly and knowledgeable, and very happy to answer any questions you may have.

I made many photographs of the falls and surrounding rock formations, many I have up on my site already. This image instead of giving you a full view of Munising Falls, as I have in other photos, is a tighter crop that shows off the flow of water and rock behind it.

I can imagine many other places where I’d like to stand in order to get closer or to get more interesting compositions, but there are pretty strict park rules about where you can and cannot go. These rules to some might seem restrictive, but in order to preserve the rock formations, plants and other forms of nature in the area they must be followed.

Often times when in locations such as these you’ll find people going over or under fences, heading off of the specified trails and disobeying park rules. What we all need to understand is that the rules are there to protect the beauty we are seeing. To protect the fragile plants, the amazing rock formations, and the habitat for so many forms of wildlife.

If everyone were to ignore the rules and guidelines, then what we see today would not be there in the same form for very long. That would be a sad situation indeed.

I encourage all of you to visit our natural areas, the parks, wilderness, preserves, and shores, local, state, and national. While your there enjoy all of the beauty the place has to offer, while still obeying the rules!

“Sunset Rolls In”

Have you ever gone out to a specific location just to capture a sunset? Hoping to get a spectacular one? It can give you a range of feelings. From those of beautiful anticipation, just knowing it’s going to be a good one, to that of frustration and disappointment as the conditions just aren’t what you need for that moment.

In this location here on the shores of Lake Michigan, I had hoped for beautiful clouds, or just a little  something besides total clear uneventful skies on several different evenings.

For three  days up until this one,  I had gone to the beach on one of the southern areas of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about 30 miles from St. Ignace. I waited in the very bright sunlight of late afternoon just hoping for something wonderful to happen. Something magical!

On my last day in the area as I drove along the shore I could see a bit of hazy wispy clouds starting to form along the horizon. This really got my attention and hopes up!

After arriving at a certain stretch of beach, I set up my tripod and camera, dialed in the settings, and set the focus. I positioned myself on the wonderful warm sand and used a remote cable release to take a few images as I drank in the pure beauty, amazing colors and hues in front of me.

This isn’t a sunset to end all sunset’s by any means, but it was beautiful without being fussy. It was relaxing for me and not hurried. It was a joy to experience, not just photograph.

I stayed long after the sun had actually gone down, not only to capture all of the vibrant hues on camera. I allowed myself to really take the time to enjoy the last bits of color, to hear the sound of gentle waves, to feel the days warmth turn into the cool of night.

This was my moment of peace for that day!

I hope that you might find some beauty and serenity in this image also!

"Sunset Rolls In"
“Sunset Rolls In”

“The Road Quite Traveled”

As the fall season approaches I anxiously await its arrival. In looking though a few images from a couple of years ago, it reminded me of some good times and beautiful color.

The afternoon that day two years ago started out with a mix of clouds and sun. I decided to go out with my youngest son and head for the nearest area that I thought might have some good color.

By the time we arrived on a really scenic road that is quite well traveled, the wind had picked up and dark clouds were starting to roll in. I jumped out of the car at the best place to park along the side of the road, and caught this beautiful scene. The yellow gold of the fall foliage stood out pronounced against the deeper blues of the sky.

"The Country Mile" Actually many miles of beautiful winding roads. A place quite popular with cyclists.
“The Country Mile”
Actually many miles of beautiful winding roads. A place quite popular with cyclists.

 

After grabbing a few images of the road scenery, the clouds really started to move! My son and I made our way over to a lake near there just as the weather made another turn, but one that made a dramatic change to the fall foliage. The colors were brighter than ever as the afternoon sunlight shown on the trees, and the quickly racing clouds gave a dark and foreboding look to the scene. I took every chance to get in as many shots from all the angles I could while my youngest stayed near me trying to skip stones across the water. I of course had to take a bit of time out for some skipping myself! 😉

"Fall Storm of Reflections" The fall color reflected beautifully on the water as the sun and clouds did their battling!!
“Fall Storm of Reflections”
The fall color reflected beautifully on the water as the sun and clouds did their battling!!

We spent a good long while there enjoying the cool breeze, warm sun, and myriad of colors. On the way home I decided to try to find at least one more vibrant location. It was getting much closer to sundown by then, but I found another pretty place along a river, that seemed convenient to get to. We popped out of the car and wandered around pathways. The water there was totally calm and smooth making the reflections really lovely even though the light was fading.

 

"Smooth Reflections" As the day got late and the sun nearly gone. The water on the river was smooth as glass, giving perfect conditions for beautiful autumn reflections!
“Smooth Reflections”
As the day got late and the sun nearly gone. The water on the river was smooth as glass, giving perfect conditions for beautiful autumn reflections!

I remember that day with a lot of fondness and happiness. It was fun quality time spent with my son. It was during my favorite season (fall), and I was blessed that day to have amazing fall foliage and gorgeous skies!!

Here’s to this coming autumn, wishing everyone beautiful days, amazing color, wonderful skies, a crisp breeze when you desire it, and calm when you need it!! 🙂

 

“Cucumber Falls”

We’re going back again to Ohiopyle State Park in this image, to Cucumber Falls. Located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, this spot is a popular place to visit. So popular that it is sometimes hard not to find people in the water below the falls in the hot summer months.

It took quite a bit of time to not only have the waterfall seemingly to myself, but to also have a relatively even lighting situation.

I have photographed these falls on several occasions. The dappled and sometimes harsh lighting conditions can be difficult during most of the day.

I was able to take advantage of the morning light this particular visit, and was really happy that I did.

It really is a feast for the senses. You can hear the roar of the water as it comes over the rocky ledge to the pool below.  Next you feel the coolness of the air from the spray of the falls and the darkness of the deep woods. Lastly you can smell the heavy scent of earthiness from the damp dirt to the abundant moss and lichen that cover the rocks below.

There’s just nothing like being able to get out into nature. Whether it is a short walk in a small garden to smell the flowers, a strenuous hike in a mountainous area, or something in-between like the enjoyment of a beautiful waterfall.

For me I feel the need to get out every day, to see and feel the beauty that is all around. We can all do that, no matter where we are. It is a must for my soul, and you may feel the same way too.

Tell me about the way you enjoy the simple things in nature, what feeds your soul!

"Dreamy Cucumber Falls"
“Dreamy Cucumber Falls”