#TBT: Frozen Straits

August 28, 2014

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Mark Miller

OK, we’re not throwing back too far for this Thursday, but I wanted to share a really cool view that Mark took this February of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac locked in the grip of the Polar Vortex.

View his photo bigger and see more great views of Michigan from above in his Aerials slideshow. You can also see one of his aerial photos of the Straits from last August on Michigan in Pictures.

There’s more aerials and more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

Leland & Lake Michigan by Elijah Allen

Drone over Leelanau (at Leland), photo by Elijah Allen

Mark Torregrossa writes at mLive that the Great Lakes are nearly 90% ice-covered:

The total ice cover on the Great Lakes continued to increase in the past seven days. At the rate the ice is growing, ice cover would reach record levels sometime next week.

We also had a mostly clear day Tuesday February 11, 2014. The high resolution satellite was able to generate some fascinating images.

The total ice cover on the entire Great Lakes system is reported at 87.3 percent today, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory(GLERL). The ice cover is up from 77 percent covered seven days ago.

The highest recorded total ice cover on the Great Lakes is 94.7 percent back on February 19, 1979. It should be emphasized that the most modern data set only goes back to 1973.

So the entire Great Lakes system has gone from 77 percent ice covered last week to 87 percent ice covered today. At that rate of increase, the Great Lakes would set a new modern day record for ice cover sometime next week.

Click through to mLive for a Lake by Lake report on ice cover and some sweet satellite shots.

My friend Elijah has been having entirely too much fun in and above the snow this winter. Lately he’s been flying a drone above the Leelanau Peninsula to see what he can see. View his photo bigger and (if you can) see more in his Drone over Leelanau Facebook gallery.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures!

Belle Isle Beauty

Belle Isle Beauty, photo by DetroitDerek Photography

The Detroit News reports that Governor Rick Snyder has made a deal with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr for the State of Michigan to lease Belle Isle for 30-60 years:

Under the deal, Detroit will not receive any direct monetary payment for the lease, but state operation of Belle Isle is expected to save the cash-strapped city $4 million to $6 million annually, officials said. The state also plans to apply for grants to invest $10 million to $20 million in the park’s aging infrastructure.

The deal also gives the council, which was largely sidelined when Orr took over City Hall in March, the chance to approve the lease or offer an alternative plan that would save the same amount of money.

Starting Jan. 1, Detroiters and other state residents would be required to have Michigan’s $11-a-year Recreation Passport on their vehicles to enter the park. Pedestrians, bicyclists and individuals using public transportation could get onto the island for free.

The president of the Belle Isle Conservancy said the lease agreement is “a very important step” toward keeping the park in the public’s hands at a time when city assets are being targeted for liquidation in Detroit’s historic bankruptcy.

Under Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law, the Detroit City Council has 10 days to approve the lease or propose an alternative that would save the same amount of money or more. Read on for more.

About his photo Derek writes:

Taken from a few miles away ( 3.4 miles I believe ) on the 63rd floor of the Rencen, Detroit’s Belle Isle Park is one of the most popular summer destinations in the city. The land was purchased in 1879 and opened to the public 10 years later – the park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the designer of New York City’s Central Park. Admission is free but on a hot summer day get there early or all the best spots on this 982 acre island will be taken. It is America’s largest City-Owned Island Park.

Check his photo out bigger and get an idea of how cool this island park is in his Belle Isle slideshow.

PS: Go back in time at Belle Isle on Michigan in Pictures.

Charlevoix, the Beautiful

September 16, 2013

Charlevoix the Beautiful

Charlevoix the Beautiful, photo by GLASman1

Wikipedia entry for Charlevoix (pronounced shar-le-voy) says:

The city is situated between Lake Michigan and the western end of Lake Charlevoix, which drains into Lake Michigan through the short Round Lake/Pine River complex in the heart of downtown Charlevoix. Charlevoix’s Round Lake has been called the best natural harbor on Lake Michigan.

Charlevoix is named after Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, a French explorer who travelled the Great Lakes and was said to have stayed the night on Fisherman’s Island one night during a harsh storm. It was during this time that Native Americans were thought to have lived in the Pine River valley.

The City of Charlevoix website adds that Charlevoix first became a village in 1871 and was later established as a city in 1905. The city has a year round population of roughly 3,000 people. FYI, Round Lake is the little lake right off Lake Michigan whick opens into the much larger Lake Charlevoix – here’s a map of Charlevoix!

View Mark’s gorgeous aerial photo bigger and see more in his Aerials slideshow.

There’s more aerial photography and more about Charlevoix on Michigan in Pictures!

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet, photo by Innerspacealien

The Detroit Free Press recently had a fun article by Ziati Meyer titled Michigan Lighthouse Trivia that related:

LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS: The deaths of 48 people in one year prompted the building of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The stretch of water between Big Sable Point and Ludington saw 12 shipwrecks in 1855, so Congress was asked to send money to help. The result — after a Civil War delay — was a $35,000 lighthouse to help ships navigate that area of Lake Michigan

Read on for more fun facts and definitely check out Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light and our Michigan in Pictures archive for more info and photos of this iconic light north of Ludington.

Check this out background bigtacular and see some more aerial views of the area in Craig’s slideshow.

More great aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.


Fall, photo by southarmstudio

mLive tipped us off that NOAA has a MODIS high-res satellite image showing Michigan’s fall foliage throughout northern Michigan as taken by the high-resolution satellite. Click here for the photo which shows a lot of oranges and reds across the western U.P. and increasingly in northern lower Michigan. You can check the photo out that that link or if it’s gone, here’s a copy (1.6 MB).

They also include a link to the Foilage Network’s report for the upper Midwest.

Check it out bigger and in Ron’s Earthscapes slideshow.

Fort Wilkins, photo by Neil Harri Aerial Photography

A number of years ago, I camped at Fort Wilkins State Park on Lake Fanny Hooe on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Hunts Guide to the UP says that Fort Wilkins was a typical 19th-century frontier garrison, the most northern in the U.S.:

The 1843 Keweenaw copper rush in this distant area, way beyond the frontier of settlement, led to building this small fort. From 1844 to 1846 the fort was the area’s only source of law and order. The government’s greatest concern was friction between native Indians and unruly miners. But little hostility actually broke out. By 1846 most of the small-time prospectors had left. Large mining companies had stabilized the region, so the fort was abandoned. It reopened after the Civil War, from 1867 to 1870, due to inadequate barracks facilities elsewhere in Michigan.

The army abandoned Fort Wilkins for good in the 1870s. Within two decades it had become a favorite picnic and camping destination. Local people appreciated its beautiful, forested location on Lake Fanny Hooe.

Today you can camp on the shores of the lake, which is still beautiful and forested and offers great fishing. They do some interpretive demonstrations at the park as well.

I couldn’t find a photo that I liked for the fort until I found these aerial shots in the photo gallery at the Fort Wilkins Natural History Association, a nonprofit that raises money to support and sponsor programs and special events at the park. They have some cool videos about the history of Fort Wilkins that are worth your time.

Neil Harri is a professional aerial photographer who also has some great Upper Peninsula photos, books and DVDs for sale through his website.  The DVD aerial tours look especially cool and there are several from the Keweenaw including a historical aerial tour of Keweenaw’s Copper Ridge!

More Michigan aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures!


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