“Lookin Over the Blues”

Great news: Our snow has finally totally melted here!

I spent each day of this last week checking one particular spot to see if any crocus had popped up yet. I was thrilled to see one purple crocus yesterday. I think my excitement got the best of me. I have been going out several times a day to check on its progress, and just enjoy the simple beauty.

Now I’m talking about spring, and crocus. You might even expect I’d put up one of the many images I took of that one flower, but no, that’s not what today is all about.

I was looking back through some images from last spring. Early May to be exact. This one looked like the view I’d like to be seeing right now.

When I go to Shenandoah National Park I make sure to hike out to different locations especially to waterfalls. Sometimes though I just want to enjoy a leisurely drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains and stop at the easily accessible and wonderful overlooks along Skyline Drive.

One thing that I have appreciated ever since I was a child, was the look of the lovely stone walls that line many areas of the park.

I seem to have a special love of stone in general. Cobblestone streets, and buildings. The stones along Lake Superior and the walls they have built with them. Historical architecture built with many types of stone. You name it. I love it all!

In this simple scene below, I place just as much importance on the wall as I do the wondrous scene beyond it. Each stone carefully placed by hand, enhancing the natural beauty of Skyline Drive. Not only for looks, but for safety reasons as well.

So the next time you’re in Shenandoah National Park, look not only to the mountains, valleys and clouds. Look also to these walls which were originally built during the depression era. Walls that are at each of the 75 overlooks on the drive, as well as along much of the mountain sides!

As far as the park goes; Did you know that in 1939 the entrance fee for a car was 25 cents? Times sure have changed, and of course 25 cents went a lot further back then than it does now.

Times have changed but beauty still remains, and I thank those men that worked so hard, so long ago to make this place what is is today!

"Lookin Over the Blues"
“Lookin Over the Blues”

“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.

“The Laurel Highlands”

In our last post we visited the vast shores of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula of MI., on a beautiful windy day. Today I bring you another image in the same colors and hues, lovely greens and blues, but in a totally different setting. The beautiful Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania.

This area encompasses many towns,counties, resorts, historic sights, state forests, ski resorts, and some wonderful architecture!

In this view you’ll see some of the area around Ohiopyle PA., where Ohiopyle State Park is located. The views are spectacular especially on days like this one here. Forests in all shades of green. Blue skies filled with large cumulus clouds that cast shadows in shapes across the mountains and valleys.

In Ohiopyle State Park and vicinity, you’ll find plenty to do if you want to enjoy nature to its fullest. Hiking trails galore, kayaking down the Youghiougheny River, a visit to Cucumber Falls and more.

This day is a perfect one for taking in the wonders of the natural world, and casting all of our cares aside.

Take a deep relaxing breath, and Enjoy! 🙂

The Laurel Highlands of PA.
The Laurel Highlands of PA.

“The Answer is Blowin in the Wind”

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind…..

The answer is carried on a strong wind as it blows through tall grasses along the shores of Lake Michigan. Streams of white and blue swirl through the sky as if to say we are going in our own direction.

Streaming, swirling, waves a pounding.

Grasses wild, clouds surrounding.

Winds do blow, sky’s a glow.

The answer only Lake Michigan does know….

"The Answer is Blowin in the Wind"
“The Answer is Blowin in the Wind”

“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

“Walking Grand Marais”

Hi everyone. I think I’ll call this talk-less Tuesday! A short post! 😉

This beautiful walkway, or boardwalk out to the shores along Lake Superior was a lovely surprise to me. Heading up all around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula I decided to take a more scenic and longer route from Sault Saint Marie to Munising. Part of that way included passing through Grand Marais MI.

I drove straight up through the tiny quaint and charming town to this spot. I took a few shots, and spent some time walking around the beach. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool, and the water crystal clear, and blue!!

All in all a lovely place and a beautiful scene!! 🙂

“Walking Grand Marais”

-Walking Grand Marais-

“Time Well Spent”

When I think of time spent out in nature, to me it’s time well spent. On one of my visits into Shenandoah National Park. I stopped at the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center.

It was really quiet. There had been storms and fog, in and out of the area that day, so there weren’t many people there. The ones that were there had a lovely scenic vista and relative peace and quiet!

This view caught my eye, I really wanted to get the bench into the scene. I waited to see if I would be able to capture it without anyone there, but that didn’t happen during my short time at Dickey Ridge. I needed to move on down the road to some trails that were calling my name! 🙂 I decided to capture this scene with one person sitting enjoying a bite to eat, taking in the fresh mountain air, and scenic view. Another person off to the side readied herself to take some photos without feeling hurried by other people, just taking it all in.

I rarely include people in my images, but in this instance I’m really glad that I did. They add a dimension to the photo that makes it more complete.

As we head into the last stretches of summer, into the fall season. I find myself still processing images from springtime.

So enjoy spring in my images now, and summer outdoors while it’s still here. For soon I shall be posting lots of autumn wonder, and fall foliage!! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend ahead to all!!

-Time Well Spent-

“Darker Days”

In 1885, Michigan opened its third mental institution which was in Traverse City. The institution contained twelve cottages, as well as two infirmaries. The original central administrative building was a hallmark of Victorian-Italiante architecture, but it was sadly demolished in 1963, after it was deemed it a fire hazard.
The twelve smaller cottages, which date from 1885 to 1903, still stand, and have been renovated for different purposes.
Dr. Munson, who headed the Hospital at the time believed in the idea that we should use the “beauty as therapy” method for the mentally ill, so the grounds were covered with trees and flowers. I didn’t get the chance to get images of the grounds, but they are still lovely, with huge trees, gardens, and large open green spaces!

The asylum was completely self-sufficient. The patients worked making furniture, canning fruit, and farming, all to earn funds for the hospital. The hospital produced its own steam to heat and electrify the buildings.

Over time, the space was used to treat other diseases, such as tuberculosis, polio, and, in the mid-late 1980s, as a drug rehabilitation center. But in 1989, the state finally closed the doors of the hospital.

In a twist of fate, the property was purchased by a group of developers, who then renovated the deteriorating buildings to develop it for commercial and residential use. The project was finished in 2010. It now houses hotels, apartments, boutiques, quaint shoppes, an urban winery, coffee roaster, a bakery and more.

While today very different, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons still evokes a time when the mentally ill lived here in a harmony which was rarely found even in the sane world. Quite a beautiful location and series of buildings!

My image here was taken as the sun was beginning to set behind this main building. The clouds were amassing, and the combination of architecture and sky was beautiful.

I decided to take make this image on a slant as to gain more of the sky, get in some of the more important aspects of the building, and to keep unwanted shoppers and visitors out of the frame.

I also processed this in monochrome which really gave it the feel of “Darker Days”. That image can be seen on 500px for those of you who missed it.

So as you see. Today I decided to get away from cars, which I’ve done quite a lot of lately, and give you a bit of architecture and sky drama, as well as a little history.

Enjoy!

Historical Architecture
Historical Architecture

“Fly the Flags”

On a recent trip out to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. I passed through Traverse City. As I drove along 31, which hugs the shore of Grand Traverse Bay, I kept seeing sailboats pass by on the clear blue water.

I decided to make a quick stop into a spot for viewing, hoping to get in some nice contrast with the beautiful blue water and white sailboats. While there, I headed up to where a jetty ended into an overlook area and two flags were flying in the breeze.

By the time I had reached, all the sailboats had long since sailed away! So consequently I never did get any images of the sailboats, but I did like this composition of a part of the jetty, a walkway, lines, flags, and clouds, so I grabbed this shot!

To me it really calls out summertime, and beauty! I hope it does for you too!

Enjoy!!

Flags upon the Bay.
Flags upon the Bay.

“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