Go See Do Photography

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

Category: Project: State Parks (Page 1 of 7)

Flashback Friday: Tahquamenon in the Rain

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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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: Beach Sunset

Spring in Ludington

Big Sable Behind DuneFor the second year in a row we made our first trip to Ludington for the season on Mother’s Day. It is nice to spend time in our favorite park before the summertime crowds descend. We hiked the lighthouse trail and for the first half or so we didn’t see any other people. Walking through the Pines campground before it has opened for the season is much easier than having to dodge kids on bikes and people playing corn hole in the road. The weather was sunny and warm and was perfect for the 1.8 mile hike each way.

A trip to Ludington would not be complete without a visit to House of Flavors for a scoop of ice cream. If you are ever in town, you have to check this place out. I highly recommend their Michigan Pothole that comes with chunks of chocolate asphalt. Yum.

For more information about House of Flavors and they’re delicious ice cream, check out HouseofFlavorRestaurants.com. 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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Spring Fever

Little Sable in SpringWith all my talk of getting out there no matter the weather, this spring has really left me deflated. I took more photos in the coldest, bleakest part of the winter, than I did in March and April. This spring has been tough with its little tastes of sunshine and warmth followed by cold, snow, and ice. After mother nature’s latest episode of freezing rain and snow, I think its safe to say winter is finally behind us.

This past weekend, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I needed to get a healing dose of Lake Michigan air. We headed to Silver Lake State park and Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Before we left, I checked the weather and it said the wind was 0 mph. I did not believe it and I made to sure to grab a coat just in case. When we got there, the water was as still as I had ever seen it and the wind off the lake was barely a breath. There were still scattered patches of snow so I wasn’t brave enough to take my shoes off, but I saw a few people walking barefoot in the sand.

One of the most fascinating things about visiting the Great Lakes this time of year is the scattered debris and sand ledges show how high the water and ice got the past winter before all the summer sunbathers scatter it. On this visit we found this large piece of driftwood that made for an interesting photo subject but also a little bench to sit on and take in the glory of my favorite Great Lake. This time of year it is great to enjoy the beauty of Michigan without the crowds.

This impromptu journey did teach me a few little tips. Before you grab the camera bag, make sure to check your camera battery and it would not hurt to bring the battery charger with you. We got out there, I turned on the camera and discovered my battery was about to die. I was able to take two shots before it died completely and that was definitely a little lesson in and of itself, but it was in no way ideal. I am glad that one of the two was worth sharing.

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: Ice House

Ice House

Winter on Lake Michigan

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Winter on the shores of Lake Michigan can be harsh, cold, and windy. Lake effect snow is a big deal on the west side of the state with snowstorms seeming to blow in our of nowhere. As much as I love Lake Michigan, I tend to avoid it in winter. I’m not a winter fan to start with but the cold Lake Michigan breezes tend to be too much for me. Yet, this winter I was able to experience Lake Michigan twice in its harshest season (the other being to St. Joseph in January). Each time I was surprised with how many people flock to the beach in the winter. No, they are not sunbathing and swimming like they do in the summer. They were trekking out to lighthouses, sledding down sand dunes, and playing in the snow and ice.

As harsh and cold as it can be, Lake Michigan’s beauty is not seasonal. Ice on the shore and snow on the dunes really added something to the landscape that you don’t get in the summer. While there were more people out than I expected there to be, it was definitely not a summertime crowd, so it is much easier to capture a landscape without people in it (not that that’s a bad thing…I really should do a post on that one of these days). Although, winter skies in Michigan frequently leave something to be desired, I was very glad that I made it out to Muskegon State Park on a cold and blustery February day. Now, its March and I’m ready for it to warm up and be camping season, OK?

Thanks for stopping by! Are you brave enough to explore Lake Michigan in the winter? Let me know in the comments! 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.

 

Think Spring

 

Ludington Sunset

Its that time of year where I get sick of the cold and the white landscape and start dreaming about the warm weather to come. With the warm weather this week, it does seem like spring may have come a little early this year. Only time will tell if the warm weather will stay or if we will be blanketed in snow again here shortly.

Either way, I am ready for the cold to be behind us and it to be summertime. I am looking forward to watching the sun set over Lake Michigan and sleeping in a tent. I am beginning to think about our camping trips this summer. As much as I love Ludington State Park, I am thinking about checking out new campgrounds this summer like Fisherman’s Island and Petoskey. Maybe we will go back to Straits State Park and camp at the base of the Mackinac Bridge. Oh, I can’t wait for another glorious Michigan summer.

What are you looking forward to when the weather warms up? Let me know in the comments! 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.

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