“Best of 2018”

Here we are in December, almost the end of the year! Time for my “Best of 2018” photographs! 

As I’ve done for many years in a row now, I’ve looked through my images over the last year and found the ones that I like the best. These are my personal favorites. Some of the images you may have seen before, and others maybe not. I hope you’ll take the time to look through this assortment of photographs and I surely hope you will enjoy them! 

I wish all of you the very best during this Holiday Season, and into the New Year! My warmest wishes to everyone for a happy, adventurous, prosperous, and beautiful New Year in every aspect of your lives! 

“Floating on a Summer Breeze”
“Point Pelee Reflections”
“That Motor City View 2”
“Jackson Park in Spring”
“From a Golden Perspective”
“Forest Canopy”
“Sweet Autumn Memories”
“November Fifth Remembered”
“One Fine November Morning”
“As Winter Leaves Niagara Mono”

“Last Light on the Farm”

I customarily show ten images each year in my end of the year post, but I leave you with one extra photograph this year of a peaceful sunset on a farm. 

I wish for all of you peace, blessings and harmony always! 

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“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”

“Sunset on Ice Fields”

Recently on a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan I was taken by surprise at all of the ice still remaining on Lake Superior.

The weather on my second day there turned unseasonably warm, which happened to be the case the day I took this sunset.

On certain areas of Lake Superior you can only see ice in the far distance, in other places you are actually able to still stand on thick chunks that are floating around closer to the shore.

The day before I took this image the whole bay was a mass of floating icebergs, ranging in size from many feet wide to a few inches in width. The depth could also be 1-3 feet for those that I could see. I’m sure much larger for those in the middle of each of the Great Lakes.

I was really hoping to get some sunset images through the icebergs with loads of golden color. Well, that didn’t happen because on the next evening I arrived to find much of the ice that had been close to the shore previously, no longer there. The warm southern winds had blown it further out in the water. Only a few chunks remained close to where I was standing.

The temperatures that day had reached the upper 80’s with plenty of haze and humidity, as well as a ton of black flies and mosquitoes. Consequently the sunset was not quite what I had hoped for yet it was really colorful and quite long lasting.

This frame is one of the later ones from that night, towards the end of sunset. The colors were still strong at the time, and the ice fields visible in the distance. You can also notice a few smaller pieces of ice closer to the shore.

The funny thing to me was knowing that here in late May, there were still many remnants of this winters extremely cold weather all around me.

I’m sure that there will be ice somewhere on Lake Superior for another month or two!

Enjoy this extremely simple image, and view of color and ice in a time that you wouldn’t normally expect it!

"Sunset on Ice Fields"
“Sunset on Ice Fields”

“Blue Rail Sunset”

Just a quick post tonight. I grabbed this sunset a couple of weeks ago out in Grand Haven MI. It was totally last minute. I had driven through a rain storm from another location on Lake Michigan. The clouds broke up quite suddenly, and I raced to get to this particular pier in Grand Haven as fast as I could.

As soon as I parked the car, I literally just grabbed my camera and headed to the pier. I didn’t have time for a tripod, I quickly got in as many images as I could before everything was totally gone. There were quite a few fishermen and others on the jetty in front of me in silhouette enjoying the view as well. It seems a lovely place to be for any sunset! The hues were gorgeous and deep. I was very happy that I was able to catch these last bits of color because the rain started up again just as I finished, and it didn’t stop until the next day!

Enjoy!

"Blue  Rail Sunset" Sunset in Grand Haven MI.
“Blue Rail Sunset”
Sunset in Grand Haven MI.

“Charlevoix Lighthouse Sunset”

In keeping with my eclectic presentation of images these days, I present to you this photo of a beautiful Lighthouse in Charlevoix Michigan during sunset.

I recently finished processing one batch in a long line of autumn images, and instead of moving on to do more, I decided to get at this wonderful lighthouse and process these images instead.

On this particular evening, I had headed out, not knowing exactly where I was going. I started roaming up and down streets in Charlevoix till I reached a charming piece of beach. I was quite happy when I noticed there was also a pier and lighthouse on one side of the beach.

The winds had picked up pretty high during the day, and had only increased as the afternoon wore on. I knew that I needed a good strong tripod for this location.

I set up about 20 feet away from the water at first. The position seemed great, but what I couldn’t foresee was the intensity of the waves and how much water would be sprayed on my camera lens. With a lot of effort in the crazy high winds, I changed positions, cleaned off the lens and filters, and tried again.

I started a bit before sunset, and continued to way after. This was one of the earlier frames. The water was crashing against the pier and jetty, the waves were rolling in hard and fast. Clouds of every color moved quickly across the sky.

I have quite a few images from this location that evening. Some with more emphasis on the sunset, some close-ups of the lighthouse, and others showing more of the Lake Michigan water intensity.

The town of Charlevoix itself, if you haven’t been there is really quite delightful. There is a lovely marina from where you can take a sunset dinner cruise which goes out of the marina, under a lovely drawbridge, and out into the open waters.

There are a myriad of quaint shops and boutiques, and of course many streets full of lovely homes. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and a quiet one also, especially off season.

If you’re ever in Michigan, driving on highway 31 which in places hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline. Make sure and check out this gem of a town. You won’t be disappointed.

While your there make sure and head down to this or one of the other beaches in town and take in a beautiful Michigan sunset!!

-Charlevoix Lighthouse Sunset- 1

“Long Sunset”

Hi everyone, it’s been a busy past few weeks for me, so now that I have a breather, I thought I’d sit down a write a post. Today I was processing some images. I decided just for fun, to take one unedited image and process it 3 different ways just to change it up a slight bit.

The first photo is the unedited version. This was a quick grab for me. I was trying to find a spot a along Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, that had a view to the west. When I finally found it, the sun was just about to set completely. I jumped out of the car and ran towards the water. I only got in a few shots before the sun was gone!

The colors did continue to become more and more beautiful though, as they went through their changes moving into the night!

That of course is not what this post is about. It’s about one image and a little bit of play.

You’ll notice the colors here are nice, but not very bright. The foreground is pretty dark, and there were some small rocks in the shallow parts of the water.

Unedited version of “Long Sunset”

-Long Sunset- un-edited

In this next image I decided to go with a bit of a more purple cast. I used a combination of Lightroom , and Nik Color Efex Pro to make these changes in this and in the other two images. The changes were very simple, so I won’t go into detail. This post is more about the images themselves and not how they got that way.

-Long Sunset-

Here, you’ll notice more of a warm cast, I’d call peach. I also removed the small rocks in the foreground.

-Long Sunset- 2

Finally in this last image I went a bit wild, and brought out a lot of warmth and a bright yellow cast. I also removed some of the noise in this one, even though I had already taken some out by the original processing in Nik. In my opinion this one, instead of being a sunset, it seemed to take on the appearance of a sunrise by lightening up the foreground more, and the intense hues I gave it. See if it makes you feel that way too.

-Long Sunset- 3

Obviously this isn’t a “How to”, but I thought it might be fun to just take a simple sunset, and see where you could go with it, without going totally out of the realm of reality.

Of course for the person that doesn’t believe in any processing at all, this is already way over the top! 😉

I hope you enjoyed this post, and enjoyed the slight difference in each image. Have a great weekend everyone!! 🙂

“The Cool of the Evening”

This image speaks for itself, so my words will be few. This is one of the images from my series “Sunsets over Water”. When looking for a title, the first thing that popped into my mind was the first words in a song “In the cool of the evening” by Dusty Springfield.

Now the rest of the lyrics in that song seem in no way related to this serene image, as you may know. The evening though, when this was taken was COOL and peaceful.

So I just started singing this song, and the next thing you know. There’s the title!

Relax, gaze into this soothing sunset from Northern Michigan, and enjoy!!

Pure Michigan Sunset
Pure Michigan Sunset

“The Last Goodbye”

On a recent visit to Shenandoah National Park, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had really wanted the ability to get a sunset before leaving the area. The weather hadn’t been cooperating for most of the time I was there. I had one day of lovely weather, but was busy and couldn’t be in the mountains. After that it rained cats and dogs for a few days, and In addition to that, the mountains were socked in with a thick heavy fog.
On my last day there, I decided to head up into the mountains one more time, even though it was raining in Winchester and Front Royal, plus the mountains were still having quite a bit of fog.
I drove quite a ways in and amazingly started to see some clearing happening. I even got to see a rainbow, which made me pretty happy, which I’ll explain in a minute.
During the time of sunset, I captured many images, but this one has to be the most colorful of the group! Not the best, but the most brilliant.
I call it “The Last Goodbye” for two reasons. One is that it was my last day there, and had to head out of town early the next morning.
The other reason was a much more import one. My whole reason for being in the area to begin with.
My father had passed away, just a few days before this was taken. He suffered a series of massive heart attacks. While I was in the area I got some time to myself and spent it in the Blue Ridge.
On my last night there I went up into the mountains to what was his favorite spot, so that I could say a quiet goodbye, and hopefully catch a sunset. What I got was more than I had hoped for.
I was blessed with clearing skies, a rainbow, and a vibrant sunset.
That was my very Last Goodbye to a wonderful man who during his lifetime had taught me the love and respect of nature, and the the pure joy of photographing that beauty!!

Blue Ridge Sunset
Blue Ridge Sunset

“Sunset’s Path”

I grabbed this shot a few weeks ago when we had quite a bit of snow. It’s a seemingly strange angle for a sunset, but I wanted to get the rocks and all the snow on the lake in the frame with the warm glow that was cast all around from the sun. I used my Canon 10-22mm lens for this image.

The timing for the beauty of this sunset was so fleeting! I grabbed as many shots as I could from every angle. I really like this one as something a bit different. You can see deep footprints in the snow that went all along the edge of the lake, and the sun at a very low angle, just ready to dip down below the trees.

For those of you who didn’t get much snow this year, or for those that just can’t get enough winter. Well here’s some winter for you, with an added touch of golden warmth!!

Enjoy! 🙂

Warmth of winter sunset!
Warmth of winter sunset!

“Good Night Farm”

This image came about as the result of trying to be somewhere else at sunset. Earlier in the day the sky here was totally clouded over, but as the afternoon wore on there began to be a few breaks in the clouds. Some bits of sun peaking through. A good sunset began to look possible!!
Well, as soon as I saw that, I decided to make a plan to head out a couple of hours before sunset to reach a beautiful lake area and try to get some good shots in.
As things often go, that didn’t quite work out. The time was getting late. I was out driving around, but no where near where I had planned.
I decided to head over to the closest place I could think of, and actually get there in time.
This spot here just jumped out at me, as the time for any good light was quickly fading. I love the white fenced area, the field, and buildings you see that look like a farm. These are actually part of a school, with a church behind them.
The clouds were beautiful, but sun was poorly lacking. It did give some pretty hues to the sky though! So in the end, I did catch the sunset, just not quite the place that I had planned on, but that’s just where I was meant to be, and that’s okay with me!! 🙂

Sunset over Domino's Farms
Sunset over Domino’s Farms