“Grand Traverse Lighthouse”

I would like to say that here at the start of 2014 I am all caught up with my image processing from 2013. Well…sorry to say. I am not.

I have been busy working on other things, consequently I have just now gotten around to some images from late last spring. These were taken in the Traverse City area of Michigan. Specifically Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

The drive from Traverse City proper up to the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula is a lovely one, passing through quaint areas, and streets filled with many artsy shops.

On any other day I would have wanted to stop and enjoy what these areas have to offer, but on this morning I was trying to escape a constant light rain and heavy skies in hopes of getting to the lighthouse quickly.

I had so hoped for beautiful skies, and lovely weather, but my complete trip had been one of heavy fog, large downpours, and black flies!

If you aren’t familiar with black flies, all I can say is that for a few days each year around Lake Michigan, and I’m sure other places, they infest everything, and can easily ruin many images, as they swarm in the thousands.

So to make a long story short. I arrived at this beautiful piece of Michigan Lighthouse history (originally built in 1858) in the rain.
Not to be deterred, I headed straight for the office to get a self-guided tour of the interior of the building. Well, the sign read “closed”, my heart sank!
It wasn’t due to open for another couple of hours. I then proceeded to walk around every angle of the building and out to the shore also to get as many photos as I could.

The view of Grand Traverse Lighthouse as I walked towards it.
The view of Grand Traverse Lighthouse as I walked towards it.

I knew the light mist, and flat white sky would not play well with these images, but I wasn’t going to have another chance at it, at least not this trip.

A side view of Grand Traverse Lighthouse as seen from the shore while dodging swarms of black flies and standing on large rocks.
A side view of Grand Traverse Lighthouse as seen from the shore while dodging swarms of black flies and standing on large rocks.
 A great view of the back left hand side of the lighthouse. You can get a better sense of its size here.
A great view of the back left hand side of the lighthouse. You can get a better sense of its size here.

As I headed back out to the car, a friendly young woman came out of nowhere and offered to open the lighthouse early just for me! I was thrilled!

I was able to tour the beautiful inside, and talk at length about its history! I didn’t end up getting almost any images from the interior. I just enjoyed chatting instead.

I did get one image of the shoreline that day, as I looked through some sand grass into the foggy abyss.

A misty and moody feel, through grasses on the shore!
A misty and moody feel, through grasses on the shore!

I’m very glad that I was able to see Grand Traverse Lighthouse, no matter the rain and dreary weather. Maybe some day I’ll be able to make it there in beautiful weather, but if not, I’m alright with that!

I hope you enjoyed this little visit to a piece of Michigan history. Thanks so much for stopping by!

“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.


Historical Architecture
Historical Architecture

“Winter at Parker Mill”

This image is of historic Parker Mill during the wintertime. The Mill was originally built in 1873, and at that time was used to grind flour and corn for the Parker family and their neighbors. In 1887 a second building was added to press apples into cider.

It is one of the historic treasures of Washtenaw County located in Ann Arbor Michigan. The grist mill is still in operable condition and also still has the original milling machinery that was left in it when the Parker family stopped operation in 1958.

On weekends in the fall you can tour the mill, and talk to the really knowledgeable and helpful guides as you watch the grain being ground. If you ask, they will also give you a small bag of ground corn to put out for the wild birds in your yard!

There’s something so special about old buildings like these. One of the first things to me is the heavy scent of old wood. There’s nothing quite like it!! Another thing is just imagining how the people who built, owned and used the mill were. What they did,and how their lives were!

To me I find it so wonderful that places like this are still preserved for future generations to see, learn about and enjoy. Especially a place like Parker Mill, which is still in working condition!!

As you can see, it’s quite a beautiful place with it’s huge and colorful stones as the foundation, and a light mustard yellow colored wood on top.

It is beautiful in any season, but I like it especially well in winter, when nothing obscures the view! Enjoy! 🙂

-Winter at Parker Mill-

“Entrance Doubled”

For something a little different tonight. I decided to go a little overboard in processing this image, just for fun!
I did a little photo walk on my own not long ago, and just went walking around a town taking in the scenes, and getting some shots here and there of whatever caught my eye.
I really liked the doors here, as well as the beautiful brick work, and architecture. All of it being an historic building.
For some reason when I was processing this I just felt like taking it out of what I normally do, which is good for a change. I feel it really brings out the brick work! I wanted to bring out the doors too in a different way, but I’ll plan that when I go back and process it again!
I hope you like it, and can get a feel for the structure, historic feel, and mood! BTW, it was freezing that day, but without snow! 🙂

Double Doors Doubled!!
Double Doors Doubled!!