“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.

Enjoy!

Historical Architecture
Historical Architecture

“Sailing with You”

Watching over waters blue,
My thoughts and memories return to you.

The days go by like a billowing sail,
The nights stay long as time does trail.

I remember well with fondness true,
Of my time spent sailing with you!
By ~Rachel Cohen~

“Sailing with You”
-Sailing with You-

“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.