Go See Do Photography

The Photo Blog of Mowers Photography, LLC

Category: Michigan (Page 2 of 23)

Lighthouse in Winter

Lighthouse in Winter

By now, I’m sure my regular readers are aware of my love of Michigan lighthouses. Many of my summer days are spent exploring the coastline and its beacons. Until this past weekend, I had never explored them in their winter splendor! So, even though the temperature was in the teens, this weekend I ventured to the west side of the state to see the frozen St. Joseph lighthouse.

This lighthouse is known for its beautiful ice formations in the winter and one shot of it actually showed up as my Windows 10 lock screen the other day. If you haven’t seen any pictures of it, check it out here. Even though it had snowed for the past eight days, there was a path worn through the snow on the pier out to the lighthouse. While it was cold and there were ice floats in the water, the lighthouse wasn’t as covered in ice as I was hoping. I didn’t get the shot that I was hoping for, but I was glad that I ventured out in the cold with my camera!

I encourage you to follow my lead and get out this winter! It is so easy to sit inside out of the cold, but that is not how memories and photos are made! This winter, get outside, explore new places, and go shoot! If you decide to venture out to lighthouses this winter, I suggest bringing along ice cleats (like these ones) so you don’t fall into the lake!

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

Wordless Wednesday: Zehnder’s

Zehnders

2017: A Year in Review

Untitled

Every year at the end of the year, I set the goal to go one place I’ve never gone to before. In 2017, I explored parts of Michigan I had never been to before and even made my way to the Atlantic Ocean. On our summer vacation, I really got a feel for American History, visiting Jamestown, Yorktown, several Civil War battlefields, and learning about the history of aviation at the Wright Brothers Monument.

We found a few new favorite campgrounds in Wilderness State Park near Mackinaw City and Tahquamenon Falls Rivermouth Pines. I learned that I should not tent camp in the south in the summer unless I want to turn my tent into an oven. I started a Facebook group for fellow Michigan tent campers called Michigan in Tents. It has been fun to get to talk with people who share the love of the outdoors without all the comforts of home. I am excited to begin planning for next summer and learning tips from other tent campers.

In 2017, I got my first chance to get into sports photography. In January, we photographed the State Games of Michigan shooting mainly skiing and basketball. In August we photographed the State Games of America and we got to shoot a myriad of sports from figuring skating to Cricket. I am excited to continue this journey and hone my skills in 2018.

I can’t forget the biggest thing that happened this year and the was the start of our new photography tour adventure, Guided Photography Tours. It has been fun sharing our love of photography and helping others improve their skills. We hope that in the near future, we will be able to actually take groups to some of our favorite locations!

In 2018 I hope to continue exploring my home state and beyond. I hope that I will continue to improve as a photographer and hopefully this year I can upgrade from my entry level gear. Want to know where I go and what I learn? Stay tuned to the blog and I’m sure I will let you know.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com</a

7 Reasons Why I Love Detroit

I Love Detroit

Detroit Skyline from Sunset Point on Belle Isle

And You Should Too! Lonely Planet recently named Detroit as the #2 city in the world to visit! It was the only city in the continental U.S. to make the list and after this list came out, I was surprised by all the negative comments from my fellow Michiganganders. Yes, Detroit has been hit hard since the race riots in the 60’s to the more recent corruption scandals and a bankruptcy filing. It seems that Detroit is finally making a comeback, but for some reason the locals can’t see the progress. I am here to tell you to give it a chance!

  1. Earlier in the year, Detroit was named an “unexpected food city” by National Geographic and once again, it was the only city listed in North America. The article sites Corktown favorites such as Slow’s Barbeque, and ethnic delights from Greektown (obviously Greek food prevails here), Hamtramack (Polish cuisine), and Dearborn (Middle Eastern eats). Alton Brown also listed Anthology Coffee in Detroit as one of his top 5 cups of coffee ever. I would say that’s high praise for the Detroit food scene and a reason that I should be more adventurous when dining in the D.
One Detroit Center

One Detroit Center

2.   Downtown Detroit is home to one of the greatest collection of pre-war skyscrapers in the world. From the Fisher and Guardian buildings to the more modern Renaissance Center, there is much beauty and history to be explored in the city. I love that Pure Detroit offers tours of several of these buildings from their stores and fill visitors in on the history and significance of these architectural marvels.

3.  If you are looking for a little culture, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a world class collection of art in an absolutely stunning building! Located in Midtown Detroit, it is within walking distance to the Detroit History Museum,  Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Science Center, and The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit as well as Wayne State University, The College of Creative Studies, and the beautiful Detroit Public Library. This is really the cultural hub of the city.

Diego Rivera Mural

The Spirit of Detroit by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts

4.  Speaking of culture, Detroit is also home to many beautiful theaters. Take in a show at The Fisher Theater, Fox Theater, Detroit Opera House, Masonic Temple, The Fillmore, or Orchestra Hall to name a few. The theater tradition in Detroit dates back to the 20’s with The Fox being the first theater to be built with film sound equipment. Part of the music for West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein was composed on the piano in the Fox Theater. Hello, Dolly actually premiered at The Fisher Theater before making its debut on Broadway. Orchestra Hall is home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the 4th oldest U.S. Orchestra. (wiki)

5.  Lions, Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons, oh my (sorry, no bears) now all reside within the city limits. In the late 90’s, in a plan to begin the revitalization of downtown, Ford Field (Lions) and Comerica Park (Tigers) were built adjacent to each other on Woodward Avenue. As of 2017, both the Pistons and Red Wings now play at the new Little Caesars Arena in Midtown. With the most Stanley Cup Championships of any NHL Team, Detroit is affectionately known as Hockeytown. With all of Detroit’s sports teams downtown, that is one more reason to visit the city during any season.

Scott Fountain

Another Belle Isle Highlight is the Scott Fountain

6.  I remember visiting Belle Isle about 15 years ago and it was rundown and desolate. In 2013, the State Park Service took over management of the park and has begun a beautiful restoration! The beautiful Belle Isle Aquarium which was the oldest continually operating public aquarium in the U.S. until it closed in 2005 is open again and is home to fish from around the world. Next door, The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is another Albert Kahn masterpiece full of beautiful palms, cacti, and ferns. I recently visited the Dossin Great Lakes Museum for the first time and I was truly impressed (expect an article on that at a later date). In the summer, visitors flock to the beaches to cool off in the Detroit River. Of course, a visit to Belle Isle would not be complete without a spot at Sunset Point to photograph the beautiful Detroit skyline (top).

7.  Of course, if you venture just outside the city there are some additional must-see attractions. Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford, known as “America’s Greatest History Attraction”, is made up of a collection of historic buildings with costumed reenactors at Greenfield Village, The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, and The Rouge Factory Tour. Of course there is also the Detroit Zoo, which despite its name is actually in Royal Oak. The highlight of the zoo is also the newest attraction, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center where you can get up close and personal with the penguins! Don’t miss the Outback exhibit either: the kangaroos can hop right up to you!

Butterfly on Flower 55/100

Butterfly at the Butterfly House at the Detroit Zoo

Like any major city, Detroit does have crime. Visitors just need to remain vigilant and stay in the tourist areas. Detroit is not a city where you want to go exploring off the beaten path. I have noticed on my recent visits to the city (which tend to be on weekends), there really don’t seem to be a lot of people around. Don’t let the negative press surrounding Detroit, keep you from experiencing this unique, impressive city.

Thanks for stopping by! To plan your trip to Detroit, check out VisitDetroit.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Trainscape

Trainscape

7 Ways to Explore Michigan this Winter

Snow in TreesIts beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! The temperature has dropped and the ground is now covered in a blanket of snow! The white landscape leads to a whole host of fun in the Great Lakes state:

  1. Go skiing: With about 50 ski hills around the state, The New York Times recently suggested Michigan as your “Secret Ski Destination
  2. Visit a state park and try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing
  3. Go ice skating: From Campus Martius in Detroit to Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids and the ice skating trail in Muskegon, lace up your skates and hit the ice
  4. Snowmobiling: I’m too much of a chicken for this, but northern Michigan has many trails for snowmobile enthusiasts (michigansnowmobile.com)
  5. Reenact the famous sledding scene from Christmas Vacation (MichiganLife.com)
  6. Check out the Luge: The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is home to one of only four luge tracks in the country and is open to the public
  7. Train for the Iditarod: When in doubt, go dog sledding (both in the UP and the lower peninsula)

Don’t use the cold weather as an excuse to stay inside! Get outside and appreciate winter in Michigan! Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Tree

Christmas in Brazil

Fort Michilimackinac

Fort Michilimackinac

The fort on the south side of the Straits of Mackinac was constructed by French soldiers in 1716 as a post for the great lakes fur trade. After visiting other early American settlements this summer (Roanoke Island and Jamestowne), Michilimackinac has a different feel. Maybe its that it is a newer settlement (Roanoke was first settled in 1585 and Jamestowne was 1607) but I think the biggest difference was Michilimackinac was originally settled by the French where the other two were British. The French at Michilimackinac had a better relationship with the Natives than the British on the East Coast. The Odawa tribe traded with the settlers and the native-settler narrative was much more positive than what was heard from the British.

In 1761, the fort was transferred to the British and the narrative changed. The local Ojibwe viewed the British policies as harsh. In 1763, as a part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, they formed a game outside the walls of the fort as a ruse to gain entrance. Once inside the fort, they killed most of the British inhabitants and they held the fort for a year before the British regained control and promised to change their relationship with the native people.

Eventually, the British worried that the fort on the mainland was not secure enough. So, in 1781, they built a limestone fort on nearby Mackinac Island. They dismantled and moved the buildings across the straits and whatever was not moved, they burned. In 1960, the grounds of the original fort was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, you can visit a recreation of the fort in Colonial Michilimackinac State Park. You can tour the buildings, learn about the history, and watched costumed reenactments.

To learn more about Fort Michilimackinac, visit MackinacParks.com. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Big Red Replica

Recently, we kicked off our Holiday celebrations with a trip to Meijer Gardens for their Holidays Around the World celebration. There were Christmas Trees decorated to represent cultures around the world, an outdoor light display, and my favorite part was the train garden. Throughout one of the Victorian greenhouse, beautiful, intricate, wooden replicas of Grand Rapids landmarks were put together around a model train track. I really liked the Big Red Lighthouse perched along a river near the base of a waterfall. Also represented were Fifth Third Ballpark, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, and replicas of buildings in Grand Rapids’ sister cities:  Omihachiman, Japan; Bielsko-Biała, Poland; Perugia, Italy; the Ga District, Ghana; and Zapopan, Mexico.

All in all, Meijer Gardens puts on a beautiful celebration of the holiday season. If you are in the area, Holidays Around the World runs until January 7. I would recommend you go the week before Christmas when they have extended hours to best enjoy the outdoor lights. Be sure to bundle up so that you can check out the sculpture garden in its winter glory!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about Meijer Gardens and Holidays Around the World, visit MeijerGardens.org. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Wordless Wednesday: Frosted Rose

Frosted Rose

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