Tag: Michigan (Page 2 of 3)
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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Its 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:
- Go skiing: With about 50 ski hills around the state, The New York Times recently suggested Michigan as your “Secret Ski Destination“
- Visit a state park and try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing
- 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
- Snowmobiling: I’m too much of a chicken for this, but northern Michigan has many trails for snowmobile enthusiasts (michigansnowmobile.com)
- Reenact the famous sledding scene from Christmas Vacation (MichiganLife.com)
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
The Fisher Building, located in Detroit’s New Center district and is known as “Detroit’s largest art object”. Right when I walked in the door, it became obvious how it received that title. This Albert Kahn (the architect who did the Guardian Building and the Belle Isle Aquarium and who is known as
The Architect of Detroit”) designed marvel is full of marble from all over the world, high, painted ceilings, and accented with brass and bronze. It features 1,800 bronze window and 641 bronze elevator doors. The ceilings in the arcade feature frescoes that were hand painted and at the time cost $20,000 (which would be about $265,000 in today’s money)! The exterior of this masterpiece is made up of over 325,000 square feet of marble and is the largest marble structure in the world! Somehow, it took only 15 months to complete and the building opened its doors to Detroit in 1928.
In later decades when Detroiters moved to the suburbs, the Fisher building was able to keep tenants because of its dedicated 1,100 spot parking garage, the first of its kind! Over the years, the building has changed hands several times because it is not cheap to run. In 1970, The Detroit Free Press wrote that the Fisher and the neighboring New Center Building cost $3.1 million a year to operate (Historic Detroit)! The building was most recently purchased along with the nearby Albert Kahn Building (previously known as the New Center Building) in 2015 for $12.2 million (Detroit Free Press). The new owner is reportedly putting $100 million into restoring these gems to their former glory! About the Fisher Building, Developer Peter Cummings said “It is more than just a beautiful building or a landmark; it is a beacon in the heart of Detroit for all of Detroit. It is the beacon of our city, both of its past and its future,” (Crain’s Detroit)
If you are in Detroit, and I advise that everyone should be at some point, definitely make a visit to the Fisher Building. On weekends, the Pure Detroit store in the lobby runs free, historical tours that are definitely worth the time!
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.
This fall, we took a long weekend trip to Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point. Unfortunately, with our unseasonably warm fall, the colors were late and everything was still pretty green. It was still a relaxing weekend in nature that I definitely needed. We did get to photograph a relatively empty Great Lakes beach, although it was pretty chilly.
Whitefish Point is a landmark on Lake Superior that is known for its lighthouse, Shipwreck Museum and the Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial. One of the reasons it is a popular tourist spot is because it is about an hour from Tahquamenon Falls. It is designated an “Important Bird Area” and the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory runs research and education programs in the park’s marshlands. Its a beautiful place to enjoy a Lake Superior beach too!
Thanks for stopping by! For more information about the Whitefish Point area, visit ShipwreckMuseum.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.
On my last post, I shared about our time in Mackinaw City. We were camping at Wilderness State Park which is about twenty minutes outside the city and our way to town we passed a sign for the McGulpin Point Lighthouse. Being fans of lighthouses, we decided to make a stop. This was one of the best maintained lighthouses I have visited. There was barely a scratch to any of the paint, inside or out. You can see in the photo, it is surrounded by a nice little garden. You can even stay in an apartment on the grounds. Where the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse (which is at the base of the Mackinac Bridge) is right in the heart of town, McGulpin Point is tucked away (it is near the Headlands Dark Sky Park). Where the Old Mackinac Point is pricey, McGulpin is donation only. Where the Old Mackinac Point is climbed in a group (and not guaranteed with admission, I must point out), McGulpin is at your own pace, with the ability to stay out on the catwalk and take pictures as long as you would like. From the catwalk, get out your telephoto lens for an interesting perspective on the Mackinac Bridge (my photo was a recent Wordless Wednesday). I was absolutely blown away by this lighthouse! If you are in the Mackinaw area definitely make a point to stop in and check it out and make a donation so they can continue to maintain this gem! You will not be disappointed.
Thanks for stopping by! To plan a visit to McGulpin Point, check out McGulpinPoint.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.