Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stop Motion

For the second assignment in our class, we were supposed to stop something in motion.  And it had to be something in motion.  It had to look like it was in motion.  A car going at 60 mph still looks like it is standing still and wasn't what the professor was looking for.

I was hoping to get good crisp pictures of the water going over the falls, but that didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so I used dice.  I dropped the dice and tried to catch them falling and bouncing around.  The shutter speed synced to the flash at 1/250 so what I was taking a picture of had to be moving relatively slow.  I was shooting in the dark too which complicated the problem of focus.  I would put my hand in front of the camera about where the dice would drop, drop the dice and try to catch them.  Even then, most were out of focus and in some, there is still some blurred motion.

What you see here are the best I managed to obtain.  I submitted one of these below.  If you had to turn one in, which one would you have chosen?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hartwick Pines State Park

We got away from Mackinaw City pretty early.  We were actually discussing that we'd never gotten away that early.  We were making good time and discussed stopping at Hartwick Pines State Park.  The park is on my State Park Project list, but I knew that if we stopped, we weren't going to be there long enough to do the park the kind of justice I want to do with the project.  Ken wasn't feeling real well, but we decided to stop for a little bit because the snow was on the trees like I was hoping to get.

I won't be giving this the treatment I gave to Tahquamenon Falls.  

The approach to the visitor center.  

While we were in the visitor center, one of the rangers told us that the birds would eat out of your hand.  Ken filled his hand with birdseed and stuck his hand out.  The ranger removed the feeders from the windows and within a minute or two, I was able to capture this image.

The Chickadee goes in for a seed.

The bird studies Ken.

The view behind the visitor center.  I didn't walk much further than this.  The trail didn't appear to be cleared and we'd been there a fair amount of time and we both wanted to get home.

Once we returned to the visitor center and the bird feeders were put back out, I tried to get some pictures through the glass.  Although there is a bit of blur at the very tips of the wings, I like this picture.

I turned the flash on which helped illuminate the bird.

Another bird getting ready to take flight.

On the way out, Ken saw some snow covered trees so we stopped took a few pictures.

This apparatus is located at the entrance to the park.  These were used to move trees after they'd been felled.  I hope to cover this more when I get back to the park.

Trout Lake area and St. Ignace

The sun was setting as we headed back to St. Ignace.  Shortly after we passed through Trout Lake, we came across this scene.  It is hard to see, but there was a bright red-orange streak that looked like it was rising into the sky.  We pulled off and took a couple of pictures.

Although the sky isn't as vibrant, I like this one a bit better as the foreground is lighter.

I'd reserved a room at the Quality Inn in Saint Ignace knowing that it was going to be a long day.  We could have made it back to Ypsi if we'd wanted to, but by the time we were done eating we were both glad we were staying.  This moose was located just outside the entrance to the hotel.  Unknown to me at the time, and not noticed until looking through pictures to post, my car is reflected in the front door.

This moose is on the corner of US 2 and the road the hotel is on.  If you've been along US 2 in St. Ignace, you've probably seen this.  Here it appears to be sprouting a McDonald's sign from it.  I just shot this from the window of my car. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whitefish Point in Winter

After leaving Tahquamenon Falls, we decided to head up to Whitefish Point since we were in the area.  I'd never been there in the winter either so figured it would be a nice photo op.  I was really surprised at how well plowed the road was all the way out to the point.   It was really nice.

As we pulled up, it was clear there was nobody around.  Looking toward the lake from the parking lot it seemed like the snow was drifted pretty high, and it was, but it wasn't as imposing as it first appeared once we got out of the car.

Lake Superior was frozen.  I wasn't really surprised by that as I've heard and seen pictures of ice along the shore.  These old pier pilings are usually in the water.

Here, you can see the frozen lake.  The mounds of ice are caused by pressure under and on the ice.  I walked out to the ridge you see on the horizon.

As I got close, I started moving pretty slowly.  This is what awaited me.  This drop off was fifteen feet or so.  Maybe more.  The ice below looked very thin, though compared to what I was walking on, a foot of ice would have seemed thin.  I wasn't concerned about walking out to the ridge.  Once I got there, got a bit more nervous.  More for fear of  slipping and falling over the edge than anything else.  The dark area on the horizon is open water.

Looking to the left from where I was standing.  What you can't see, and what this picture can't convey is just how hard the wind was blowing and just how cold it felt.  To say I was cold is an understatement.  The wind was piercing even with my scarf wrapped around my head, it wasn't enough.

Looking back at the lighthouse as I returned. 

This picture was taken from the seat of my car.  I could have positioned myself better, but by the time I got back, all I wanted to do was crank up the heat.  I rolled down the window, took the picture and rolled it back up again. You can see they boarded up a number of the buildings for the winter.

If you get a chance, stop by anytime of year.  It really is a beautiful place.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tahquamenon Falls - The State Park Project

Our next stop, and the main goal of the trip, was Tahquamenon Falls. I hadn't been there in the winter and pictures I've seen of this time of year I wanted some pictures. Since I had planned on including it in my State Park Project, it seemed like a good idea. Tahquamenon Falls park encompasses 46,179 acres is the second largest State Park in Michigan, the largest being the Porcupine Mountains. It is located west of Paradise, Michigan near Lake Superior and Whitefish Bay. The Tahquamenon River flows 94 miles from it's source to where it empties into Whitefish Bay. Tahquamenon Falls consists of two different sets of falls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls. When talking about the Falls, most people are speaking of the Upper Falls, which are what are pictured here. This is where the main park amenities are located. There are several vantage points scattered along the river from down the river to the lip of the falls.

Although I did not visit the Lower Falls or the Rivermouth area this trip, I will link to pages from previous visits at the end of this post.  For some reason, Blogger won't let me link to them anywhere else.

The Upper Falls from a vantage point downstream from the overlook, which is visible here, to the right of the rim.

There was a snow in the days before I visited and the trees were still covered with it.

The water is stained brown from the tannic acid that is picked up as it passes through the forests in the area.  The drop at the Upper Falls is about 50 feet and spans a width of about 200 feet.

The view from the rim overlook.  This cataract is one of the largest east of the Mississippi.

Large portions of the Falls freeze over during the winter.  I don't think there has been an extended period of freezing weather here so only a portion of them were covered.

Looking downriver from the falls.  Flow in the spring can reach 50,000 gallons per second.

There are many miles of trails at the State Park.  The Tahqua Trail runs from the Rivermouth Campground area to the Upper Falls.  That section of the trail is part of the North Country Scenic Trail which runs from New York to North Dakota.

One of the activities going on when we were there was an introduction to snow shoeing.  There was no cost for this activity.  Here a ranger was leading the group of participants.

In the background, you can see the building that is home to the gift shop and Camp 33.  Camp 33 is a brewery and restaurant.  The food there is pretty good, though I can't speak to the beer.  Prices are moderate.  The name is due to the fact that this was the location of the 33rd logging camp of the Barrett Logging Company.  The current structure was built in 1996.

Not counting group or back country sites, there are four campgrounds in the park.  Two are located at the lower falls and two at the Rivermouth location.  The two locations at the Lower Falls, and one at Rivermouth are modern campgrounds with running water, flush toilets and showers.  One of the campgrounds at Rivermouth is rustic, with pit toilets and no electricity, although there is one cabin for rent along the river.

The Lower Falls campground was mostly plowed out while we were there, but the campsites were pretty well snowed in.  The road to the falls was not plowed and given that I was already chilled and it was getting late, I didn't try to hike back to them.  That is unfortunate, because I imagine they would have been spectacular.

This bathhouse probably won't see any use until the spring melt. 

Snow blankets the trees.  The picnic tables were tipped on one end to help the snow slide off.

The other side of the Upper Falls can be reached by taking the Toonerville Trolley.  This involves catching a narrow gauge railroad at Soo Junction.  At the end of the rail line, you catch a boat that takes you down the Tahquamenon River where it docks upstream from the falls.  A short hike through the woods brings you to the vantage point here as well as one near the edge of the falls.  The entire trip takes about five and a half to six hours.

Because a large part of the park was inaccessible, without hiking through the snow, I will link pictures to the Lower Falls here.  They are a series of smaller cataracts.  You can get a nice view of them from the mainland, but the best way to get a look at them is to rent a rowboat and row to the island that splits the falls.  There, a path around the perimeter of the island gives you closeup views of the falls.  I'm not sure of the total drop of the Lower Falls, but if you find yourself in the area, you owe it to yourself to take some time to visit there. 

The River Mouth area was not plowed out.  The area here is some distance from the Falls and is pretty flat.  The campgrounds are to the west of M-123.  Upon entry, the modern campground is to the north and the rustic campground is to the south and is spread along the length of the river.  The river curves around a bit, before passing under M-123 where it empties into Whitefish Bay.  There is a small boat launch right at the mouth of the river and it is not uncommon to see boats from the campground. 

The NCT passes through this part of the park, along the road just north of the river until it moves away from the river and enters the woods.  You can pick it up at the Lower or Upper Falls.

I hope you enjoyed this look at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mackinaw City

Although our destination was Tahquamenon Falls, we stopped in Mackinaw City for lunch and a few pictures.  The last time I was in Mackinaw City in the winter was a few years back when Ken wanted to get some pictures for the 1000th post on his blog.  Looking at the pictures, I don't remember the weather being that nice.  What I remember about the trip was getting caught in a snowstorm on the drive home and stopping the night in Bay City without my overnight bag.  It is nice to see that it was nicer than I remember.

The sun was shining brightly when we go there and it was supposed to stay nice throughout our trip.  The Mackinaw City Light guards the Straits.

This was about as close to the Lake as I got.  The weather was actually pretty nice.

I think I need to crop the shadow out of the lower left corner.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Frosty Morning

Saturday morning Ken and I decided to head north to get some pictures. On the way up we were admiring the frost on trees. Our goal was to get to Tahquamenon Falls and this put us on a pretty tight schedule. As we headed north we pulled into a rest area where I decided to take some time to get some pictures.
It was cold.  Bitterly cold.  When we got back in the car, it registered -1F.  A short way up the road, it dipped to -3F before climbing back up.

The snow was pretty deep and by the time I got out to the trees, I was wishing I'd grabbed my macro lens.  Between the cold and the snow in my boots, I decided I was going to do the best I could with what I had.  I'm pretty happy with the results, but think I could have gotten some better images if I'd trudged back through the knee deep snow.

The frost coated everything in the area.

A lone branch reaching for the sky.

I liked this branch.

I think if I had shot this image from the same position as the previous one, I'd have something really cool. 

This one was quite a bit lower.  It worked okay, but I think the blue sky was a better background.

I'm not sure I like this one.  The branch in the foreground intersecting the branch behind it interrupts the flow, I think.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My other passion.

I love cars and most things automotive.  The other day I broke down and bought my first new car.  New as in, brand new.  Since the refresh in 2011, I've found the Charger extremely appealing.  Especially in the Toxic Orange and Copperhead Pearl color.

These pictures aren't great.  Just some shots I took at home.  Unfortunately, I missed the sun.

The part of the bumper lit by the sun is a pretty good representation of the color.

The front.  The little glass dome in the lower fascia near the fog lamp is for the adaptive cruise control.

I'm not sure why, but I like this shot.  I'd like it even better if the background were more nicer.

The interior of this car is fantastic.

Just another thing I like about this car.  It isn't likely to be mistaken for anything else going down the road.

I'll post some pictures of it once the weather turns and I take it on a road trip.

Speaking of road trips, stay tuned.