Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: Great Lakes

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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Mackinaw City

Old Mackinac Point

For Labor Day this year we camped at Wilderness State Park near Mackinaw City. There is a lot to see and do in that area and I was excited to spend a long weekend exploring it! We stayed for three nights and I realized that with two summer road trips, three nights was the longest we had stayed in one place on a trip since our cruise in 2015. That is, if you count a cruise as staying in one place. If not, you would have to go back to our Disney World trip in 2014. Obviously, we prefer to move when we travel.

I really enjoyed our stay at Wilderness State Park. We stayed in one of the new tent sites that are right on Lake Huron. It was like having our very own beach! We had a great long weekend and Wilderness was quickly added to our list of favorite campgrounds!

The above photo was taken at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. Its a picturesque lighthouse that sits right near the base of the Mackinac Bridge in Michilimackinac State Park. If you are in the area, I recommend that you visit the park and the fort there, but I wouldn’t recommend spending your money visiting the lighthouse, and this is coming from someone who LOVES Michigan lighthouses. The thing that threw me about visiting the lighthouse is that climbing the lighthouse is not guaranteed with admission. Luckily, we got to climb but the way they do tours, it was so crowded at the top, it was hard to take pictures and by the time the whole group got up there, I just wanted to go back down. If you are a lighthouse fan like me, go to Michilimackinac State Park and photograph the lighthouse from outside the fence, and if you want to climb a lighthouse, head two miles out of the city to McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which I will review in a later post! Be sure to check back later so you don’t miss it!

Thanks for stopping by! For more information about Wildnerness State Park visit the DNR. To plan your trip to Michilimackinac State Park, visit MackinacParks.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.

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Wordless Wednesday: Photographing a Sunset

Lake Huron Sunset

Wordless Wednesday: Mighty Mac

Mighty Mac

Pure Michigan Beach

Beach Sunset

For one final summer hurrah, Chris and I took a camping trip to Van Buren State Park in South Haven. While deciding what park to visit, I knew I wanted to be on the water, but other than that I wasn’t too picky as to where we would go (we even considered going back to Straits but the lower campgrounds were already full) after checking a few times, an spot opened up at Van Buren so we jumped on it! I began looking into what to do in South Haven and discovered that our trip coincided with the Blueberry Festival. We always enjoy a good Pure Michigan festival! We explored downtown South Haven and walked out to the lighthouse (since it was a festival, it was impossible to get a shot of it without a million people in it), and got some blueberry jam at one of the festival tents.

This was my first visit to Van Buren State Park. Our site was very sandy, which made our tent very sandy due to the rain, but it seemed like other sites had more grass. The beach at Van Buren was just a short walk from the campground. Once again, the bathroom facilities did not live up to Straits, but at this point I wasn’t surprised. One of the strangest things about the park is that it wrapped around a working nuclear power plant. On the way to the beach you encounter a fence with “no trespassing, violators will be shot” signs posted every few feet. Other than that, it was a pretty quiet park and if I was looking to camp in the area again, I would definitely stay here again.

About the Photo:
After exploring the festival, we headed out to the beach to capture the sunset. I love capturing the sunset over Lake Michigan because you get an unobstructed view but oftentimes it is difficult to find a compelling subject. After taking a few kind of boring sunset shots I pointed the camera down and captured the colors in a reflection of the receding tide. To get the motion of the water, I used a long (1.6 second) shutter speed.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, on a tripod

Date Taken:
August 13, 2016

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 South Haven check out SouthHaven.org. To book your stay at Van Buren State Park visit the Michigan DNR.

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Epic Michigan Road Trip: The Keewenaw

Superior Sunset

After leaving St. Ignace we began our trip up to the Keewenaw. It was our longest drive of the trip and we made it longer but going down to Manistique and Palms Book State Park to see the Big Spring which I will write about at some point. McLain State Park  has beautiful views of Lake Superior and you can catch both the sunrise and sunset at the campground. Views aside, it is one of the strangest State Park campgrounds that I’ve ever stayed at. Its biggest problem is that road that used to run the loop around the campground eroded off of a cliff into Lake Superior. So, while I’m assuming you used to be able to drive the whole way around, now you can only go one way and to get back to the front of the park or to the beach, you actually have to leave the park and drive a half mile back past the entrance booth. This is especially frustrating to those in campers and RVs who actually have to leave the park and come back in to use the sanitation station. The park has a camp store, which on the map is listed at the information booth but is actually at the beach which is a good two miles from the campground. Also, when compared to Hartwick Pines and Straits, the restrooms at McLain leave something to be desired.

About the Photo:
The campground at McLain State Park has these benches along the cliff overlooking Lake Superior and when I first saw them, I knew I had the subject for a sunset shot. This shot started with merging 3 RAW exposures using Lightroom’s HDR funtion. From there I adjusted the exposure, contrast, and color temperature.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, on a tripod.

Date Taken:
June 28, 2016

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 McLain State Park visit the Michigan DNR.

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