Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: spring (Page 1 of 2)

Cruising Through Spring Break Trip Report

Evening on the Norwegian Breakaway

We are back from our tropical spring break cruise on the fabulous Norwegian Breakaway. It has been hard to come back to chilly, Michigan temperatures as well as eastern time. I feel like all I’ve done this week is go to work and come home and sleep. Anyway, we had a fabulous time and I am ready to start planning my next cruise! Cruising really is addicting! It is just such a relaxing vacation, especially compared to our last few years’ road trips. Here is a rundown of our trip and a preview of what is to come on the blog!

Day 1: New Orleans (New Orleans Museum of Art, Hop on Hop Off Trolley Tour)

Day 2: Embarkation Day

Day 3: Sea Day

Day 4: Cozumel, Mexico (Chankanaab Beach & Snorkel)

Day 5: Belize City, Belize (Cave Tubing through Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve)

Day 6: Harvest Caye, Belize

Day 7: Costa Maya, Mexico (Chacchoben Mayan Ruins)

Day 8: Sea Day

Day 9: Disembarkation & Home

As you can see, this was a very busy vacation and we got to see and do many new things! We visited 6 different airports, 5 cruise ports, 3 countries, and one new U.S. City. We did some culture exploring, adventuring, historical exploration, and spent some time relaxing at the beach. I am so excited to share it all with you!

Thanks for stopping by! Make sure to come back next week to read about our experience in New Orleans! 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: Wake

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: Church at 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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Wordless Wednesday: Sunset on the Marsh

Crosswinds Marsh

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.

Spring is in the Air!

Big Pink Flower

I think it may finally be spring here in Michigan, although there is snow in the 10 day forecast, but I’m just going to pretend I don’t see that and hope it goes away. The longer days and warmer weather mean its time to start planning our summer trips! So far, I have a cruise on the calendar towards the end of summer. In July, I’ve booked a weekend camping trip at Straits State Park in St. Ignace. I am so excited to sit around the campfire under the lights of the Mackinac Bridge again!

We are also talking about heading down to the Hocking Hills in June. I have seen beautiful photos of the scenery there and I would really like to capture it! The park in southern Ohio is full of stunning waterfalls, unique rock formations, and miles of hiking trails.

The final trip of the summer that I am planning is a camping trip in the Porcupine Mountains in the western Upper Peninsula. I have heard so much about the area but the seven hour plus drive is a real deterrent. I am hoping this summer to finally overcome that obstacle and experience Lake of the Clouds and Bond Falls myself.

Where are you planning to visit this summer? 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.

Spring on Leelanau Peninsula

Spring on the Peninsula

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.

Wine Tasting in Northern Michigan

Chateau Grand Traverse at Sunset

Back in November I wrote about Bourbon tasting in Kentucky. This past weekend we did a beverage tour that is much more my speed: we went wine tasting. Old Mission Peninsula extends into the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan extending out from the popular tourist town of Traverse City. The interesting thing about Old Mission Peninsula is that it lies on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, which is an ideal climate for growing grapes. Interestingly, Bordeaux is also on the 45th parallel.

Nine wineries make up the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail (although when we were there, I learned there are a few more wineries on the peninsula that for whatever reason aren’t on the wine trail) and on this trip we visited four of them: Chateau Grand Traverse, Bowers Harbor, 2 Lads, and Peninsula Cellars. Chateau Grand Traverse was founded in 1974 and was the first commercial winery in Northern Michigan and was the first Michigan winery to grow European grape varietals (Riesling, Chardonnay, etc.). Of the wineries we visited, Chateau Grand Traverse had the most extensive wine list and I liked that you could deduct your tasting fee from any purchases made in the tasting room. Chateau Grand Traverse offers a free tour that showcases their history as well as the wine making process. If you’re visiting the area, I highly recommend you check it out. We also loved Bowers Harbor, which is another one of the older wineries in the area, with the first vines being planted in 1991. Their wines are sophisticated and the tasting room is cozy. With the $5 tasting fee, you get to keep your glass. 2 Lads Winery is one of the newer wineries and its modern architecture really makes it stand apart from the others in the area. They have a smaller selection (you get 5 tastings for $5 and they tell you to basically choose the one you don’t want) but they were all complex and sophisticated.  Peninsula Cellars was the last winery we visited and it was the one we were least impressed with. It is housed in a historic schoolhouse and has a unique feel to it, but the tasting room was small and when a bus pulled in it got crowded. I wasn’t impressed with their wines at all, they were mostly too sweet for me. Overall, Chateau Grand Traverse and Bowers Harbor remain our favorites. We also liked 2 Lads and it will probably remain in the rotation with Chateau Chantal (which we didn’t visit this time but we have in the past) but we will skip Peninsula Cellars.

This photo of Chateau Grand Traverse was taken at the roadside park that is on the road right in front of the vineyard and tasting room. We got lucky that there was a stunning sunset that night. I had my tripod pointed toward the bay but when the sun poked out and illuminated the vines and the rooftop, I swiftly picked up the entire tripod and snapped a quick shot knowing that I was probably going to have to straighten in post processing. When I got back to my computer, I realized that this rapid-fire shot, was one of my favorites of the evening.

To plan your wine tasting tour of Old Mission, visit WineriesofOMP.com and OldMission.com. Please, explore the region responsibly. There are many tour companies in the area, but TraverseCityTours.com was the cheapest I could find. 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.

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