“Upper Peninsula of Michigan”

In this first image you’ll see beautiful Lake of the Clouds, which is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!

This year as usual when the end of summer approached, I started planning for my fall photography trip or trips. I couldn’t wait to see the world around me turn to gold, orange, and red! As it turned out in Michigan, as well as many parts of the country and world, timing was a bit off. I had to keep changing the dates of my trips to adjust to the lack of fall color where I was going.

Finally in early October things started to look more positive, and I headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which I do every year, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

One of the most beautiful places to me, in the Western UP, is Lake of the Clouds. I drove from the city of Marquette out to The Porcupine Mountains to get there. It was raining heavily the whole way out, but I had been watching the weather forecasts and radar earlier in the day, in hopes that there might be some kind of clearing by the time I arrived.

As you can see from the photograph above the clouds were still thick but oh so beautiful as the rain storm had broken and rays of sun were changing the landscape. I felt such a wave of relief come over me with each passing minute with the continuously changing weather!

Last year, although beautiful in it’s own right, my entire trip to Lake of the Clouds, and indeed most of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was filled with very heavy rain and thick fog. This time though was wonderfully different and I was so thankful!

"sunshine on Lake of the Clouds" Almost totally clear at "Lake of the Clouds" on a bright fall afternoon!
“sunshine on Lake of the Clouds”
Almost totally clear at “Lake of the Clouds” on a bright fall afternoon!

After nearly all of the clouds had passed, and as I moved from one vantage point to another, the sun began shining on nearly everthing in late afternoon, illuminating all the trees in their glorious fall color! This was the final payoff before I left the area and made my way back to Marquette.

 

"Presque Isle Reflections" Beautiful clouds reflected in the pools of water on the rocks at Presque Isle Park.
“Presque Isle Reflections”
Beautiful clouds reflected in the pools of water on the rocks at Presque Isle Park.

In Marquette, Michigan at Presque Isle Park I had also been trying to escape the rain. Upon arriving everything was wet with a light drizzle and quite overcast. I decided to enjoy myself regardless of the weather, and honestly in this location there is so much to see, and quite enjoyable no matter the time of year or type of weather!

The clouds began breaking just a bit in different ways which created beautiful reflections in some of the pools of water on these volcanic rocks.

"Rocky Stormin" Sunlight and storm clouds on the rocky shores of Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.
“Rocky Stormin”
Sunlight and storm clouds on the rocky shores of Presque Isle Park in Marquette, Michigan.

In this last image the sun was shining brightly on the rock with dark clouds in the distance. It created a beautiful contrast to the scene! Darkness and light, warmth versus cool, and plenty of texture!

I hope to share more of my images from my trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with you in future blog posts. I surely hope you enjoyed these! 🙂

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“The Blue Ridge in Summer”

I was going through some of my photographs recently of The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia that I made during a Mid-June trip. I found these two images of a very beautiful, humid, and stormy summer day in the mountains!

The clouds were dark and heavy as was the air all around. The kind of  air with humidity that gives layers of haze in the distance, and feels thick to breathe.

The forests were full of trees and were a lush green from previous rains, giving beautiful contrasts of colors in both greens and blues!

I’m looking forward to heading back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Shenandoah National Park sometime this spring or summer. There’s always an ever changing landscape there just waiting for me around the bend!

"Storm on Blue" Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.
“Storm on Blue”
Gorgeous clouds in the Blue Ridge Mountains during a summer storm.

“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 ~

“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

 

 

“Afternoon in Shades of Gray”

It was a dark and dreary afternoon when suddenly a light appeared from behind a………………..

"Afternoon in Shades of Gray"   A  wonderfully moody  black and white version of  "On a Golden Afternoon"
“Afternoon in Shades of Gray” A wonderfully moody black and white version of “On a Golden Afternoon”

Well, actually it wasn’t quite like that, but it sounds good! 😉

This past weekend we got our first real snow of the season. It’s funny how this whole autumn has been. First it has been much warmer than usual, second the fall color came in and left much differently than in previous years. There were even a few trees with color still left on them, at least until the snow came along!

On this occasion I went out in the late afternoon to have a look at what I was hoping would be a winter wonderland. I didn’t quite find that, as some of the melting had already occurred and also wind had blown quite a bit of the snow off of the upper areas of the trees and branches. Still though, there was some snow left still clinging to the trees, and plenty still on the ground! I think we had gotten about eight inches total.

I made this photograph you see below (as well a a few others) in the few short minutes before sunset. The sun came out from behind the clouds just enough to illuminate areas of the trees and give a golden cast and brighten the snow!

After processing the image below, I decided to process it again into a black and white, or really a shades of gray version and see how I liked it. Well, I liked it a lot! See what you think.

"On a Golden Afternoon"  Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.
“On a Golden Afternoon”
Beautiful golden light on a snow laden landscape, just before sunset.

 

Do you prefer this photograph in color or black and white?

 

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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 ~

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.

“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”

“As the World Turns”

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

Recently I read about a challenge to photographers to write a 1,000 word blog post about only one image. To describe it without adding in camera or lens info.

Well I’m not actually joining the challenge, but I thought it was interesting. I have no idea how much I could actually say about any one image.

Many photographers are fantastic writers, and give in depth important information not only about their image but possibly the city, their trip, the country, the processing, the environment or ecology etc.

For me I’m more likely to slip into a creative mood and write poetry to go with my images. Lately I haven’t been in one of those more creative times though. I know, everyone goes through it, there’s always an ebb and flow.

Tonight I’m not in a poetic mood, but I can see where this photo could be a lead into some nice moody poetry.

To see this image larger just click on it. I hope you can get the feel of drama and motion I experienced on this very turbulent day on Lake Michigan.

As I drove down US 2, on the southern part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I noticed the skies start to become much more dramatic. I had left behind a dull, flat, cloudy sky in Munising MI. By the time I reached areas of accessible shoreline I knew I just had to pull over. I was afraid these gorgeous churning skies would soon disappear, and that would have been a shame.

The winds were blowing at a steady 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 45. I grabbed my gear and headed towards the beach. When I passed through all of the sand grass on the dunes I noticed that there wasn’t even enough beach there to actually set up my gear. The water was so high and waves coming in so quickly that I decided to stay up in the tall grassy area on the small dunes.

I got quite a few frames from many different angles. I knew at that time with the clouds as beautiful as they were I would want to process these not only in color, but as monochrome also.

To give you a feel of what it was like that day I first have to say that it was invigorating! The temperatures were on the chilly side, but not freezing. The winds were so strong that I had a hard time standing upright at times. The sound of the waves as they came crashing ashore was all I could hear, which was pretty nice. The dark clouds in the sky changed by the minute, and the few gulls that were in the area seemed to float on the wind, not being able to fly well or even make much headway in the strong gusts!

I stayed out on the dunes in the sand grass for only a short while, but I’m so glad that I did. Firstly it was extremely beautiful. Second it was life affirming, and third I would not have wanted to miss the images I was able to get.

I spent a couple of weekends in the UP this fall, having gone there for fall foliage and waterfalls. I saw and photographed lots of beautiful autumn color.  I also came away with some beautiful Great Lakes images like this one, I’ll be sharing some of them here with you over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy it!

If you were able to get this far in the post please leave me a note or give me a like. I’d be interested to see how many people actually took the time to read this. I can see now at least for me 1,000 words is not a short post. I haven’t reached it LOL, but I’ll leave off here any way!

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

“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!! 🙂

 

“Changes of Time”

As some of you may know, being in Michigan, surrounded by some of the Great Lakes, has its perks! Here in this state you are never far from a local lake, and not very far from three of the three Great Lakes either.

I had wanted to get out to Lake Michigan all winter, but with the roads as snowy and icy as they were most of the time, it was impossible.

Recently I had the chance to spend a few days out around Grand Haven, and Holland. I was really surprised at the amount of shoreline change, and drifting of sand that happened over the winter season.

As I mentioned in my last post, the weather most of the time was either raining or stormy.

These few frames here were taken in a brief time in between storms. The sun shone brightly against the sand drifts that nearly covered all of the snow fences.

Pools of water lay on the shore reflecting the wonderful blue sky and clouds in another location.

Lastly, you’ll see more cloud reflections in pools as well as patterns in the sand formed by the water!

Truly it was a beautiful period of time with all of that sky drama. The changes quickly led to another thunderstorm, but it was certainly worth the time there to enjoy these sights granted to me!

I hope you enjoy it also!

"Sand Banks and Sky"
“Sand Banks and Sky”
"Reflections in Directions"
“Reflections in Directions”
"Patterns of Reflection"
“Patterns of Reflection”