Category: Project: State Parks (Page 2 of 6)
This past weekend, we ventured out to our first camping trip of the season. We’ve been wanting to check out the Jack Pine campground at Ludington State Park since we discovered it on our first visit to the park several years ago. What really intrigued us about this campground is that it is a hike-in campground a mile from the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. We were really looking forward to this because it would allow us to stay at the lighthouse later and photograph it during blue hour without worrying about our car getting locked in the day use area parking lot. The light didn’t end up being as phenomenal as we were hoping, but it was nice to spend sunset on Lake Michigan. We absolutely loved our campsite (site F). It was secluded and quiet but also close to the road to the lighthouse. One night wasn’t enough. We will have to make plans to stay at this campground again sometime soon!
If any of you are heading to the Jack Pine campground, one tip to know is that the path to the campground is actually a gravel road used to service the lighthouse. They say everything must be backpacked or biked in, but we brought a foldable wagon and it worked great and held more than a backpack would. While Chris’ arm got tired pulling it, I have to think it was easier than carrying everything on his back.
We recently decided to become members of the Belle Isle Conservancy. This was an interesting choice of membership because with a recreation passport, there is no fee to enter the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. The reason we decided to join is because the Belle Isle Conservancy is part of the American Horticultural Society’s reciprocal admissions program. What does this mean? It means that we get free admission and free parking at botanical gardens all around the country including Windmill Island Gardens in Holland and Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. I’m hoping to find a garden to visit on our road trip this summer. Not to mention we are supporting Belle Isle and the restoration projects going on in the park. I strongly suggest photographers check out becoming a member of a local botanical garden to get the reciprocal access to gardens around the country!
This banana photo was taken in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle. When I walked by the banana plant, I thought the one partially eaten banana was interesting. And, I wondered, what inside the greenhouse would have eaten it?
Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest state parks in Michigan and is interesting because it is home to 49 acres of old growth pine forest with trees that are estimated to be between 350 and 375 years old. Somehow, these pines that was spared from northern Michigan’s booming logging industry in the 1800s. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built two buildings to house the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, which focuses on the history of logging in Michigan, back when Michigan was the largest producer of lumber in the United States.
The above photo shows the Hartwick Pines Chapel, also known as “Chapel in the Woods” which is a popular location for weddings in a natural environment. It is also a great spot for quiet meditation during your exploration of the park.
During our recent time in Traverse City, we decided to head to Leelanau State Park for sunset. We were a little early for sunset, so we headed out to the Lighthouse at the tip of the Peninsula. The clouds were really interesting at this point in time, but looking at this photo, you can see movement in the clouds. A little closer to sunset, we headed up to an overlook that looks over the dunes and the bay below. This would be an amazing spot for sunset if the sun was in a different spot in the sky. According to The Photographer’s Ephemeris, the middle of June would be a great time to photograph the sunset at this spot. So, we continued on towards the beach and by this point, clouds have rolled in and the sun could only be seen in the opposite corner of the beach, so this shoot was kind of a bust but I was able to get this kind of interesting, reflective shot from the beach near the lighthouse. The moral of my story, not every shoot results in breathtaking images. Sometimes, you have to just relax and enjoy being outside and try another time.
Above I mentioned The Photographer’s Ephemeris. I recommend TPE to every photographer! You are able to put your pin at a photos spot on a map and it shows you where the sun and moon will be in the sky at any given day. Obviously it can’t tell you what the cloud cover will be like, you’ll need your favorite weather app for that, but the web app is free and there is mobile app for when you are on the go. It was integral to planning our Chateau Grand Traverse shoot from a few weeks ago.
For more information about Leelanau State Park, visit the Michigan DNR. 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.
Last summer, during our road trip, we made a stop in the Keewenaw Peninsula on at McLain State Park. The park had breathtaking views of Lake Superior and allowed you to view both the sunrise and sunset over the water, but it was in desperate need of repair. In my campground review, I mentioned that the bathhouse was the worst of the whole trip and the fact that the park had a bizarre layout due to the fact that the old campground road virtually crumbled into Lake Superior. Well, as I began planning our camping adventures for this summer, I noticed McLain was not open for reservations. I did some digging and learned that the park is beginning a major renovation this spring. Well, it seems like someone at the DNR must read this blog, because the first phase of the construction is going to focus on all of my complaints. The plans include a new bathhouse as well as 30 new campsites and a new road throughout the campground. I am very excited for the renovations and will have to make reservations once its all complete.
About the Photo
I posted a similar photo shortly after our road trip and once I set up for that shot, I realized, it would make a great location for an epic self portrait. Sometimes, its fun to put yourself in the landscape to give it perspective.
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens on a tripod
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 more information about the construction plans for the park, click here.
Towards the end of my winter break, we took a day trip to Muskegon to check out the winter sports complex. I had heard about the ice skating trail and that sounded like a lot of fun. What I didn’t consider about this plan, is that I hadn’t skated since college. At least the first half of our visit was spent on the ice rink, trying not to fall down. We finally ventured to the 1/4 mile skating trail but decided to play it safe and use these walker-like devices to keep from falling on our faces. It was a little embarrassing being lapped by 6 year olds, but it was still a lot of fun.
Skating isn’t the only winter activity offered at the sports complex. There is a sledding hill and miles of snowshoe and cross country ski trails. If you want to try something exciting, check out the luge. The winter sports complex is home to one of only four luge tracks in the entire country and anyone daring enough to try it will be trained by an experienced luge coach.
I want to mention that any time you are traveling in Michigan in the winter, it is important to pay attention to the weather. On the day we went, it wasn’t forecasted to snow at home, but traveling several hours west, the forecast was different. We arrived at Muskegon State Park to flurries coming off of Lake Michigan and terrible roads that obviously hadn’t been plowed. It was a treacherous journey to say the least.
About the Photo:
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is full of exhilarating outdoor activities and as I am not the most athletic person, I decided bringing my camera was a recipe for disaster. So, this photo was taken with the Lightroom App on my iphone.
iPhone 7 raw capture through the Lightroom App
January 7, 2017
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. To plan your visit to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, visit MSports.org.