Point Betsie Lighthouse

Point Betsie Lighthouse is located near Frankfort Michigan and just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. According to PointBetsie.org, Point Betsie Lighthouse was built in 1858 and cost a whopping five thousand dollars. For more information on Point Betsie Lighthouse click on the link above.

Ken and Lori Snyder of Unified Photography had contacted me to see if I wanted to go out and shoot. They were in town for the Worldwide Photo Walk and wanted to get out and make some pictures. Obviously I said yes but where should we go? Well it just so happened a massive cold front was moving in and the winds were picking up. When the winds pick up lighthouses, piers, break-walls are always good subjects to photograph. The crashing waves make compelling and interesting images. So my goal was to get an image of Point Betsie Lighthouse with a big crashing wave in the foreground. That turned out to be harder than it sounds.

The waves were big but caused lots of spray that kept getting the lens front element wet. I had to repeatedly wipe off my lens in order to get a photograph of good quality. It was a difficult task. I never did get a crashing wave photograph to my liking.

Near the end of the night I wanted to try to get a long exposure image to see if I could capture the moving clouds. That turned out to be one of my best images of the night.

The weeks post picture was taken at 20mm on my 16-35mm lens. I had my camera mounted on a tripod, and to achieve the cloud blur my exposure was 30 seconds.

The cold, wet, and wind made this photograph a tough one to make. 4 hours of waiting for the "right" image was my payoff and I am glad I toughed it out.

Point Betsie Lighthouse is a great photographic subject in any condition, but watch the weather for those cold fronts that bring the clouds, winds and waves, and Point Betsie Lighthouse turns into a magical shooting location.

Worldwide Photo Walk 2011

The Worldwide Photo Walk 2011 was held this past weekend October 1 & 2. It was this first time the event was held in the fall and also the first time the photo walk offered two days to participate. This is the 4th annual Worlwide Photo Walk and the third time that I have participated.

This year our Worldwide Photo Walk 2011 group was led by Ken Snyder. We all met at the cannery in Glen Haven Michigan. This stretch of beach and historic building are part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

It was a cold overcast day but we had about 30 troopers show up. This was the biggest group of photo walkers I have been apart of for this annual event. It was great meeting new people and getting out and sharing what we all have in common. Its always a good fun time even if it's in the 40's and windy.

Being that the conditions weren't ideal my strategy was to to isolate subjects with my 70-200. This weeks post picture was taken near some of the historic buildings in Glen Haven. The twisted shapes of the branches caught my eye and I instantly knew I wanted to make this image a black and white. I cropped the image to fill the frame and bring emphasis to the branches.

I always enjoy the photo walk and I am already looking forward to next year.

Sleeping Bear Point

Sleeping Bear Point is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Recently Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted the most beautiful place in America, "hidden gems" by Good Morning America viewers. Sleeping Bear Point is part of this hidden gem beauty.

For information on Sleeping Bear Point, click on the link here.

Sleeping Bear Point is a wonderful place to catch a sunset or you can take the loop for a hike through the sand and dune grasses. I would recommended wearing sturdy footwear if you are to do the Sleeping Bear Point loop. There's a lot of sand and although you may be tempted to do the barefoot thing I would use caution, you may find yourself developing a few blisters after a while. I speak from experience.(that was not a fun hike back to the car)

Sleeping bear point is a quiet serene place and will be less crowded than the more popular dune climb or Pierce Stocking scenic drive.  Just as a waring to visitors, there are cougars in the area. Research is underway studying the cougar population in the Sleeping Bear Dunes , however I have never seen a cougar while at Sleeping Bear Point or Sleeping Bear Dunes for that matter.

This weeks post photograph, was taken on the short hike to the beach during a sunset. I used a 16-35mm tripod mounted at aprox 18mm F16. I used a polarizer, and due to the intensity of the sun, I used 2 ND graduated filters to get the exposure I was looking for.

Sleeping Bears Dunes is indeed beautiful and to see that beauty I highly recommend visiting Sleeping Bear Point.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in NW Lower Michigan. The National  Lakeshore was established in 1970 and encompasses just over 71,000 acres and attracts over one million visitors a year. Sleeping Bear, managed by the National Park Service, has a good-sized  hiking trail system that provides breathtaking views year round. Sleeping Bear Dunes was named after a Chippewa legend of the Sleeping Bear. According to the National Park Service the legend is as follows.

"Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear."

I have spent most of my life admiring the beauty of the Sleeping Bear Dunes, growing up in the area, my parents took me to the dune climb many times when I was a young whippersnappa. Sleeping Bear provides many activities in all seasons, but my favorite are fall and mid spring.   The surrounding area towns include Glen Arbor, Glen Lake, Glen Haven, and Empire. These small villages cater to the tourism that Sleeping Bear draws in and being surrounded by water, forests, and farmland it's really is a magical place to visit.

Traverse City is the nearest "big" city that has all the hotels and restaurants that you could ever want, but Traverse City is about 30 to 40 minutes away from The Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you want to stay in a bed and breakfast or vacation rental  to isolate yourself from the crowds, there are many to choose from in the local communities. Click here to start planning a visit.

The dunes offer many photographic subjects. The dunes itself, Lake Michigan, wildlife, vegetation, and even Americana in the surrounding towns. I usually travel with my backpack full of gear, but a safe bet would be a wide-angle lens to encompass the Sleeping Bear Dunes landscape. You will run into many species of wildlife but most likely whitetail deer and various small critters.

It's definitely a place I will always go back to see because it holds a lot of magic, mystery, and intrigue. This weeks post image was taken from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which is one of the main attractions of the lakeshore.