Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year in Review

I got to see and do a lot of things in 2012.  I didn't accomplish much in January and didn't get out to take any pictures.

In February, Ken and I headed over to Lake Michigan and the Saint Joseph lighthouse.

March found us taking pictures of the old Boblo boats and a couple of laid up freighters.

April was non-productive and I took no pictures, but in May I purchased a new DSLR camera and Ken and I headed back to Lake Michigan in an attempt to photograph a partial eclipse of the setting sun.  The weather was hazy and we were unable to get pictures of it.  This is the first shot from my new camera at the Saint Joseph light.

June saw me on a two and a half week, 5200 mile trek across the country.  My primary destination, and where I spent most of my time, was Glacier National Park.

In July I visited the Irish Hills and passed this field just west of Saline, Michigan.

In August I traveled to Sault Saint Marie and visited the Soo Locks. I also made my second attempt at night photography.

September took me to the North Country Trail in the area of Adrian, Michigan.

I started to remember how much I enjoy macro photography in October in Lillie Park.

I made my first, clumsy attempt at portrait photography in November.

December took me to Cuyahoga Valley National Park along the route of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

Here's hoping to an even more productive 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Announcing the State Park Project

Michigan is home to over 100 State Parks and Recreation Areas.  Some of these are vast, covering thousands of acres.  Other, only an acre or two.  They cover beaches, mountains and historical sites throughout the state.

In the coming year, I will attempt to showcase some of these treasures.  This will be an ambitious project and I have some doubts as to whether or not I will be able to complete it as I have envisioned it.

Each month I hope to feature one of our parks.  This will be a park that I have not visited in the past or have not visited at that particular time of year.  I have been to Tahquamenon Falls many times, but never in the winter.  That is one of my goals.

Rather than rush around and try to get as many parks as possible, I want to focus on one subject.  My goal it to spend a fair amount of time at the subject park.  Some parks will require more time than others, but I hope to spend several hours in a park.  For others, I may stay for a couple of days.  In a few cases multiple parks will be visited over several days.

In no particular order, the list of parks I hope to visit are as follows:

Warren Wood/Warren Dunes/Grand Mere - These 3 parks are pretty close together on the western side of the state.


Saugatuck Dunes

Muskallonge Lake


Sleepy Hollow

Port Crescent

Hartwick Pines


Tahquamenon Falls

Porcupine Mountains



Fort Wilkins

Orchard Beach

This list is not set in stone.  There may be changes or modifications and there are a couple of places I'd like to go that will require some planning.  If anyone reading this has suggestions or requests, I'll be happy to entertain them. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Farewell 2012

While it is not quite the end of 2012, I don't expect to make any more photo excursions.  I may get a picture or two, I have nothing planned.  This year held some unexpected surprises.  Normally, by the end of January or February I know what I'm planning for vacation.  This year, I didn't.  The plan to go to Montana and Wyoming came relatively late in the year.  In fact, the reservations for the trip on the Badger weren't made until the day I left.

2012 also saw the purchase of a digital SLR camera.  My friend Ken had been after me for years to get one and the trip west finally prompted me to bite the bullet.  I've had fun with the camera and am now relearning photography beyond the point-and-shoot method I'd used for most of the last 8 years. 

I'm hoping to grow in 2013.  To that end I'm taking a photography course at WCC.  I've wanted to take one since the late 80s and I've finally decided that it is time.  Starting next month, I'll be taking classes again.  I'm pretty excited by it. 

All in all, it was a good 2012.  I hope anyone reading had as good of a year as I did and I hope that 2013 is better for you.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wayne County Light Festival

With the Christmas season upon us, Ken over at Michigan Exposures and I decided to head to out to the Wayne County Light Festival.  I've never done much in the way of photographing lights at night, so this was more of an experiment for me.  It took awhile to get results I was okay with.  Overall, I'm happy with the way they turned out.

At the entrance there is this display.  It also shows a "You Are Here" with an arrow pointing to southeast Michigan.  The picture I had was over exposed, so I went with this one.


Just a little ways into the park. 


This horse rocked back and forth slowly.


This was a moving display too.  You can see the unlit portions of it.

Another very nice display.  I think this was one of my favorites.


A bit of a closeup.


Dinosaurs.  Do I need to say more?  The velociraptor was animated too.


The velociraptor  is about 75 feet or so behind the Triceratops. 

This one was animated too.


The North Pole.


Old Man Winter.


A ski slope.


I don't know what this was, but it was pretty nice.


The Polar Express?


A house of lights.


Santa's Reindeer Flight School.  This display was animated with the reindeer going up the ramp, flying through the air and landing.

This display was really nice.


My first thought was, "Duck hunting elves?"

And Santa begins his deliveries.
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We stopped in Cleveland as it was getting dark.  Ken wanted to see an old Coast Guard Station.  I saw this lift bridge and guessed it no longer functioned.  A couple of minutes later a train passed by.


The Coast Guard Station we were there to see.  Unfortunately, it seems it sustained some damage from Hurricane Sandy.  The walkway was fenced off and the causeway was closed.


As a train crossed the bridge, I noticed this tug sitting on the river behind the bridge.  It was getting pretty dark so the exposure time was a little longer than I wanted.


And as if to prove that it did indeed work, the bridge begins to raise to allow the tug out onto Lake Erie.
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Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Cuyahoga Valley Rail Road runs through the park.  It takes you scenic tours.  It was to be our destination for the day.  Sadly, this is what we arrived to.  This was expected as we knew we were running way late.


The Park follows the Ohio and Erie Canal that ran, oddly enough, from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.  It was a major thoroughfare for barge traffic in the 1800s.  It was dug by hand.  Teams of mules pulled the barges up and down the canal.  There were 41 locks along it's length.  Here an old lock is partially filled with water.

As with many trade routes, businesses sprang up along them.  This is the only mill that remains operating along the Ohio and Erie canal route.

The downstream view of a lock.  This was a bridge that crossed the canal.  The two small pieces of wood sticking up from the water are the remains of the lower lock door.  From along the lock, you can see that there is a bit more there, but that is all the is visible from this view.

The Cuyahoga Valley Rail Road yard.


Downstream from the mill.  You can see the turbine that provided power to the mill.  It is the rusted object beneath the left set of 3 windows.  What you're looking at here is the downstream side of the mill.  This is the overflow area.  Water coming down the canal could be diverted around the lock, through this area and then back into the channel below the lock.  This helped regulate the water in the lock and provided power for the mills to operate.


The Frazee House along the Ohio and Erie Canal.  This is on a rise on the east side of the canal.  It was used as a stopping point and was quite nice for it's time.  It is now in poor repair and is undergoing stabilization.  I'm guessing that the goal is to make it sound enough to open to the public, but I don't know that for sure.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012


Our first real stop once we finally got underway was Marblehead. He'd told me about this before, but I'd never been there and he thought I'd like it. I'm glad we stopped, but unfortunately this diversion along with the trip to Detroit meant that what was supposed to be the focus of the trip got no more than cursory coverage.
The Marblehead Light and Keeper's house.  Here you can see one of the problems shooting with a wide angle lens.  The fish-eye looks is starting to appear.  It is particularly noticable with the overly slanted lighthouse.
Cedar Point as seen from Marblehead.

Another view of the light.  It appears prettly slanted in this image as well.
Cedar Point again.
And again.  I'm going to have to come back here sometime in the evening when the park is open.  I'd love to get it all lit up.
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Detroit and the Algoway

So rather than head down to Cuyahoga Valley like we were supposed to, Ken decided that he didn't have enough ship pictures and wanted to go into Detroit.  I almost told him to turn around and drop me back off at home, but figured since he was excited about his new car I'd suck it up and go along for the ride.

The fog made for a nice picture of the RenCen.  What it doesn't show is how cold it was.  


The Algoway emerges from the fog.  The Ambassador Bridge is in the background with the Detroit River Princess docked at right.
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