“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……..

“The Beginning and End”

Last month on a fall color trip I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and sunset on two of the Great Lakes.

What a soothing and peaceful sunrise I had this day on Lake Huron! The only sounds to be heard were of gulls, ducks, and geese as they appeared on the scene as daylight broke! This was the beginning.

"Peace at Sunrise"
“Peace at Sunrise”

After a day of hunting for scenic places with fall color I went out along Lake Michigan for a sunset. It was what I call a nearly endless sunset. It didn’t get going with much color at first, but when it did, it didn’t want to stop! I stayed photographing the color until I knew I really had to leave. Even after I left the scene I had a hard time keeping my eye off of the side and rear view mirror as the color kept changing!

Red Sky at Night.
Red Sky at Night.

You know what they say about Red Sky at Night? A sailors delight! I have to say that it was for sure, the night was clear and the waters smooth. The next day also brought beautiful clear weather. I guess the mariners of old knew their skies! 🙂

“Lighthouse and a Sub”

Have you ever been to Muskegon Michigan? Well, if not you really ought to visit this beautiful city if you are in the area!

I had the pleasure of touring the areas of both Muskegon and Grand Haven MI.  recently.

In this first image you’ll find a view of the Muskegon Pier Light, or South Pier Light from the shores of Lake Michigan through some lovely windblown sand grass. When I say windblown I mean it. The winds were pretty wild that day!

"South Pierhead Light" This beautiful red conical lighthouse stands tall in the  Harbor of Muskegon on Lake Michigan!
“South Pierhead Light” This beautiful red conical lighthouse stands tall in the Harbor of Muskegon on Lake Michigan!

The lighthouse itself was first built in 1851. It’s situated on a long pier, and is made out of cast iron. Even though it was built in the 1800’s, it wasn’t lit until 1903. It is also an impressive 48 feet tall. The original lens for the lighthouse was a fourth order Fresnal lens, but currently it uses a 300 mm acryllic lens.

I didn’t have the opportunity to walk the pier and get a closer look this time as I was headed for the USS Silversides Submarine Museum which was right down the road.

"USS Silversides" The USS Silversides submarine!  A beautiful piece of WWII history located in Muskegon Michigan!!
“USS Silversides”
The USS Silversides submarine! A beautiful piece of WWII history located in Muskegon Michigan!!

This World War II submarine is a fascinating piece of US history. The museum and vessels are wonderful for people of all ages and especially great for a young history buff who is 12 years old!

This sub, the USS Silversides was first commissioned just after the attack on Peal Harbor. The Silversides received the Presidential Unit Citations and 12 Battle Stars for her wartime service. She completed 14 combat patrols in the Pacific during World War II.

After being retired in 1946 she was sent to Chicago where she stayed being utilized by the reserves until 1987. At that time the USS Silversides was then moved to Muskegon Michigan where she is today for all to come and enjoy the experience of being in a WWII sub, and understand the history of her service and more.

I hope you enjoyed this small bit of information and these  images that are just a tiny part of Muskegon’s history!

“Autumn in the Country”

I hope that everyone has been enjoying a beautiful fall season so far! For those of you on the other side of the world I hope spring is off to a lovely start!

For the most part in my area of the country  the fall color has started to fade. I think that I captured as many memories and images as I could, hopefully enough to last me through till next autumn! 😉

This year for some reason seems to have had more than it’s usual share of dark cloudy days with rain and lots of wind too. I try not to let the weather hinder me from going out and enjoying whatever is thrown my way, at least most of the time.

As for these images below. One of them was taken recently, of course on a dark cloudy day! This one happens to be at a local nature preserve. There were many gorgeous and huge maple trees, but the leaves on a smaller one really got my attention. The range of colors on just one tree, so close together on its branches is amazing to me. The wonders of the natural world!! A veritable kaleidoscope of colors!!

"Those Autumn Leaves"
“Those Autumn Leaves”

This next image was taken during a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Oh yes, it’s true, I seem to go there often and I love it!! The multitude of long country roads just waiting to be explored is amazing!!

I didn’t end up following this dirt road as far as it went, but long enough to enjoy the fall color all around me. The darkness of the grey sky with its drizzle every now and then didn’t put a damper on these colors for sure!

I had really wanted to make it out to the Porcupine Mountains in the far western part of the Upper Peninsula this autumn, but that just didn’t work out. I know there are so many amazing places to see there. I guess that will have to wait till another time.

Have you been able to get in all of your fall travel plans? Did things go as expected, or was the weather uncooperative? Tell me about what you’ve been up to during this glorious time of year!!

"Autumn in the Country"
“Autumn in the Country”

“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”

“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 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”

“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!

“Best of 2013”

As I have done for the past two years, this being the third year. I am posting my favorite, best, or most popular images of the year. Jim Goldstein has been gracious enough to host this for several years now.

This past year has been one of great change for me personally. My father passed away in the spring, which was a great loss for me.

At the same time in many ways it’s been a great year. I had more opportunity for travel, and was able to spend quite a bit of photography time during my favorite season…..autumn!!!

These images are from all through the year. Some are my personal favorites, others have been best sellers, while others represent special memories for me.

So in no particular order, I present this years. Best of 2013!

 "Maple Leaf Zen"
“Maple Leaf Zen”

 "Flow of Golden Ribbons"

"Ghostly Gales"
“Ghostly Gales”
 "Skies of Grand Marais"
“Skies of Grand Marais”
"Munising Falls"
“Munising Falls”
"Rolling with the Mack"
“Rolling with the Mack”
 "Spray at Whitefish Point"
“Spray at Whitefish Point”
"Fluttering Maple" 3
“Fluttering Maple” 3
 "Blue Ridge Bounty"
“Blue Ridge Bounty”
 "Autumn Spectacle"
“Autumn Spectacle”

These are 10 images. I could go on and on, especially in the autumn department LOL, but I will leave you with these to look at and enjoy.

As always if anyone is interested in purchasing a print, just click on the link in the menu bar, or the one on the right side of this post.

Wishing everyone the best in this coming new year!! 🙂

“Munising Falls”

What do you do when you’re at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore and it rains the whole time your there?

I had originally planned on taking in the beautiful deep turquoise and aqua hued waters of Lake Superior. Enjoying the intense colors and vast vistas against the wonderful rock formations of Pictured Rocks.

But that wasn’t the way it went. So when things don’t go as planned, do you just through in the towel? Do you lounge around your hotel room watching longingly out the window for the weather to change, or sit in your tent, wishing you were back home?

Well, if you do, you shouldn’t! You just need to be prepared for all types of weather, not only with your gear, but in your mind!

Just go out and photograph what you can when the weather is dark, skies are overcast, and rain is coming down whether it is a drizzle or heavy rainfall!

In this case here, I ended up spending several days taking in many of the beautiful waterfalls in the Munising area. Cloudy days are perfect for waterfalls. You don’t have to try and deal with the deep contrast of light and shadow that you would have to on bright sunny days.

Just make sure to bring a sturdy tripod, some type of waterproof camera cover, many micro-fiber lens cleaning cloths, and maybe a good pair of boots!

In wet weather a good rain sleeve for your camera is the best idea, but in a pinch you can always use shower caps from the hotel, or a couple of plastic bags secured with duct tape.

Don’t let the weather keep you from getting out and doing what you love! Don’t let it keep you from taking advantage of your photography trip, or your long awaited vacation.

Get out there and have fun no matter what the skies may bring!! 🙂

“Munising Falls” 2

Munising Falls