Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Category: Michigan (Page 1 of 27)

Flashback Friday: Tahquamenon in the Rain

Wordless Wednesday: Beaver Island Lighthouse

A Day on Beaver Island

Evening on the Beaver Island Ferry

Beaver Island, the largest island on Lake Michigan, is known as America’s Emerald Isle. While bigger than Mackinac, Beaver Island is a much smaller community. With many inland lakes, nature is a big draw on Beaver Island.

For our day on Beaver Island, we decided to take one of the guided tours offered by the ferry company. We chose the 3 hour tour that took us around the whole island. I was glad we opted for the longer tour because it gave us a better feel for the island if we ever came back for a longer stay. Of course, we also learned a lot of the island’s history.

In the mid-1800’s, Mormon leader James Jesse Strang formed a colony on Beaver Island. Over 8 years, Mormon population on the island grew and Strang crowned himself king and was the only American king in history. In 1856 Strang was assassinated on the island and the remaining Mormons were forced to leave. “The Mormons cleared and cultivated the ground, built roads and houses, and changed the Island from a wilderness to a moderate outpost of civilization. But fate conspired to keep them from reaping the benefits of their toil” (beaverisland.net). Our tour guide explained to us that if you see apple trees and lilac trees while driving around the island, you know that spot was settled by the Mormons.

Historic Beaver Harbor Lighthouse

After the Mormon exile, people began emigrating to the island from Ireland to fish. By the 1880s, Beaver Island became the largest supplier of fresh water fish in the world. Unfortunately, due to overfishing, by the 1890s, the harvest was cut in half and Beaver Island lost their monopoly. In the 1900s, logging was the largest industry on the island and a railroad was built to transport the lumber to the bay where ships could pick it up and transport it to Chicago and Detroit.

If you have extra time in the Charlevoix area, I recommend taking the ferry over to Beaver Island. Its a very low key, relaxed community with a focus on nature. I think I would like to return some time when we have more time to enjoy it!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Birch Texture

100 Years of Michigan State Parks

Sauguatuck Dunes State Park

Last month, the Michigan State Park System celebrated its 100th anniversary. With 103 parks, there are a lot of places in the state to enjoy natural Michigan. From Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in the Detroit River, Michigan State Parks encompass miles of freshwater shoreline, hills, waterfalls, and forests. There is a state park for whatever type of recreation you are looking for.

Tawas State Park

Mackinac Island was actually the first Michigan State Park as a gift from the Federal Government after a brief stint as the second National Park in the country and became the nation’s first state park (wiki). In 1917, the state of Michigan purchased land to make Interlochen State Park the second state park. By 1919, the Michigan State Park commission was created to “oversee, acquire, and maintain” state parks for the enjoyment of the people. Up until that point, many of the beauties of the state were privately owned and there weren’t places for the average person to go visit in their new automobile (govdelivery.com).

Seven Lakes State Park

I love how forward thinking the state of Michigan was back in the early 20th century. What else was happening around the country at that time? In 1919, the Grand Canyon became a National Park. Isle Royal, the only National Park in the state, didn’t become a National Park until 1940. Other state park systems didn’t exist until the 1930s.

McLain State Park

Back in 2012, I set a goal to visit every Michigan State Park. By my estimation, I have visited 49 so far and I have many more parks to explore! Through my explorations, I have seen some pretty amazing places! Of course, I have shared on here my absolute love of Ludington State Park. I probably visit Ludington more often then some parks which are closer to home. I’ve seen the unique beauty of the big spring at Palms Book State Park. I have witnessed the history of Fort Wilkins and Fort Michilimackinac. Just this past weekend, I camped along the shores of Lake Michigan at Fisherman’s Island State Park. I greatly appreciate the experiences I have had at these wonderful parks and I look forward to many more!

Silver Lake State Park

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Snow Sculpture

Off Season Camping

Autumn at Tahquamenon Falls

Now is the time of year where people start clamoring to get the perfect summer campsite. Michigan State Parks 6 month reservation window is open now for summer and all over the internet, campers are posting about the difficulties of getting their favorite spot. All this hype makes it really hard to get into the popular campgrounds especially over the busy weekends. There is one way sure fire way to avoid all this hassle: camp in the off season. Camping in Michigan outside of the summer, you practically have the campgrounds to yourself.

The slowest season for camping is definitely winter. Winter brings less options as some campgrounds close completely while others limit availability. Many campgrounds that remain open close the bath houses in winter as well. Of course, winter camping brings lower temperatures and snow (although not much of that yet this year) so you need to be prepared with a quality tent and sleeping bag rated for the cold. Bring your snowshoes or cross country skis and take to the trails during the daylight. If you are prepared for it, camping in the winter is a unique experience.

For those who are not that hearty, spring and fall are less busy than the summer, but more comfortable than winter. And if you are able to go during the week, you might not have many neighbors. Last May we took an impromptu one night camping trip at Holly Rec just to get out of the house. There were a few other campers around, but it was much calmer than the summer and we were able to walk right in and get a spot without booking months in advance.

Of course, camping in Michigan in the fall adds a whole other layer to the experience. The trees put on a show that dress up the campgrounds. I love going up to the Upper Peninsula in the fall. The colors really add another layer to an already beautiful wilderness. We camped at Tahquamenon Falls a few years ago in the fall and there were only a handful of other campers around after the weekend. Of course, it gets chilly up there in the fall so you need to be prepared for it, but the views make it worth it!

Thank you for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Church at Sunset

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse is located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, on the shores of Whitefish Bay (that is the same body of water guided by the Whitefish Point Lighthouse), at the entrance to the St. Mary’s River. Point Iroqouis Lighthouse is located in the Hiawatha National Forest and is operated by the National Forest Service. Because of this, it is very hard to find information about it, such as their hours. Despite this, this summer, while camping at Straits State Park, we made the drive east to check out this historic lighthouse.

Interestingly, the name Point Iroquois comes from a 1662 battle between the local Ojibwa people and an invading Iroquois war party, looking to dominate the fur trade. The Ojibwa were able to stave off the Iroquois, halting their westward expansion. It is said that the Ojiwa refer to Point Iroquois as “Nau-do-we-e-gun-ing”, which means place of Iroquois bones. (NFS)

The lighthouse itself, is a classic, Michigan lighthouse with attached lighthouse keepers’ quarters. The current lighthouse was built in 1870. After 107 years of lighting up the bay, it was replaced by an automatic light. I am so glad these beauties are being preserved for future generations to enjoy and learn about the Great Lakes maritime history.

Thank you for stopping by! For more information about Point Iroquois Lighthouse and to plan your visit, visit the Hiawatha National Forest. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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2018: A Year in Review

2018 has been one of the biggest years for photography for me so far. While I feel like my landscape work has been pretty stagnant over the last few years. I definitely improved my portrait game this year. We continued our photography tours in 2018 and we are looking at how we can continue and come up with new classes for next year.

Catwalk at frozen St. Joseph Lighthouse

We had our biggest portrait job ever this year, photographing over one hundred families for our church directory. We also shot a wedding this year and I did my first ever infant shoot. We even got a few senior shoots in too and did a little more sports photography.

In terms of landscape photography, we started off the year with a trip to frozen Lake Michigan lighthouses (left). Early in the summer, we explored the Hocking Hills region of Ohio which really blew me away. I really want to return there when the colors change. That would be beautiful!

We also returned to a favorite campground, Straits State Park in St. Ignace and took a day trip to Sault Ste. Marie to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Michigan’s oldest city. Of course, at the end of the summer, we took a great road trip to Boston,  Acadia National Park, and Watkins Glen. As unbelievably beautiful as it was at Acadia, the sheer vastness was difficult to capture. Watkins Glen (right) was one of the most stunning places I have ever visited and I have been telling everyone I meet that they need to check it out. It really isn’t a bad drive from Michigan. If you would make the drive to the U.P., Watkins Glen is a similar distance.

Us at Watkins Glen

We finally upgraded our camera this year to a Nikon D7200. I can no longer say that I shoot with an entry level camera. We had rented them a few times so I was excited to finally own one. When you hit the top of your camera’s abilities, it feels so good to upgrade and be able to do the things that your camera was keeping you from. In this case the biggest thing was ISO sensitivity and low light capability. Even with the new camera, I think my favorite photo I took all year may be the Jordan Pond House photo I took with my iPhone (top).

This has been a good year for photography and exploring new places. I am looking forward to 2019 for more of the same! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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