Happy Halloween 2014!

October 31, 2014

Rochester Hills Stonewall Pumpkin Festival @ Van Hoosen Farm

Rochester Hills Stonewall Pumpkin Festival @ Van Hoosen Farm, photo by Mike

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween.
~Author Unknown

I’d like to wish all of you a happy & safe Halloween. Watch out for those little ghosts & goblins as you’re out and about, and here’s hoping that you get to feel some of the magic of pretend tonight!

View Mike’s photo bigger and see more in his Rochester Hills Stonewall Pumpkin Festival 2014 slideshow. Also be sure to follow Mike at StormchaserMike Photography on Facebook!

More Halloween through the years from Michigan in Pictures.

 

Seeking Ash Survivors

October 27, 2014

Tall Tall Tree

Tall Tall Tree, photo by Heather Higham

The Freep reports that the search is on for survivor ash trees in Ohio & southeastern Michigan:

Researchers studying a tree-killing beetle are asking residents in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan to help them with a scavenger hunt of sorts.

Scientists think there are few ash trees in the wild that have been able to withstand the emerald ash borer and are hoping that they could provide some clues about how they were able to fend off the destructive beetle.

“They just want to understand the mechanism,” said Jane Hodgins, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Minnesota.

Researchers decided to focus on looking for these “survivor” trees in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan, because that’s where the ash borer first took hold in the United States, The Blade reported.

The beetle is native to Asia and arrived in the U.S. around more than a dozen years ago. It has since killed about 50 million ash trees in the Upper Midwest.

Some homeowners have been able to save their ash trees by treating them with insecticides, but the scientists are looking for trees that have survived on their own.

Read on for more.

View Heather’s photo bigger and see more in her Fall slideshow.

Please Note: I can’t see the leaves here so these trees that I think are ash might not be – looks awesome though! Also, if you think you just saw a photo from Heather here, way to pay attention!!

More trees on Michigan in Pictures.

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail

Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, photo by Bill Dolak

This pic reminded me of an article I read a couple weeks ago in the Detroit News on the economic impact of bicycles in Michigan:

Bicycling pumps an estimated $668 million per year into Michigan’s economy, according to a recent report from the Michigan Department of Transportation. That figure factors in the nearly 800 people employed in bicycle-related jobs, along with retail revenue, tourism expenses, lower health care costs and a boost in productivity.

The study, “Community and Economic Benefits of Bicycling in Michigan,” put the spotlight on five communities to gauge how the sport affects their bottom line.

Michigan’s second-largest city, Grand Rapids, benefited most from cycling. It earned $39.1 million, nearly double the $20.7 million Detroit brings in. Ann Arbor easily grabbed second place with a $25.4 million boost.

…Grand Rapids began adding bike lanes on city streets in 2010 and now has 55 miles of bike lanes with more planned. It has a cycle track, hundreds of bike racks and an extensive trail network in the suburbs, said Suzanne Schulz, Grand Rapids’ managing director of design, development and community engagement.

“We are really trying to take a more holistic view of transportation infrastructure for the entire community because a lot of people don’t have cars,” Schulz said.

Read on for more or dig into the full study from MDOT.

Bill took this shot on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail. View it background bigtacular and see more in his Michigan: Kalamazoo County slideshow.

More bikes and bicycles and more fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Ludington State Park Ridge Trail

Ludington State Park, Ridge Trail, photo by otisourcat

If it seems to you that fall colors are more erratic this year than usual, it’s not all in your head! The Great Lakes Echo feature by Juliana Moxley titled Last winter’s cold legacy: Fall colors slower to peak explains (in part) that last winter’s extreme cold is the culprit:

The harsh 2014 winter is partly to blame, said Bert Cregg, a professor in the department of horticulture at Michigan State University.

We are still having a good fall color season in Michigan, but we are likely to see some trees in full color while others are just beginning to turn, he said.

“As you’ll recall, last winter was extremely cold — one of the coldest winters on record,” Cregg said. “The winter stress delayed leaf-out for many trees, and then the tree’s timing was further delayed by a cold rather than normal spring.”

A warming climate can also affect fall color, said Howard Neufeld, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Higher temperatures, altered timing and/or amounts of precipitation, changes in humidity, changes in cloud cover, increases in the length of the growing season and higher levels of nitrogen inputs in the ecosystem can all affect fall color variance.

“Increased precipitation means that light levels are most likely lower, and trees will do less photosynthesis,” Neufeld said. “With less photosynthesis, there are fewer sugars in the leaves. Warmer temperatures mean higher respiration rates, and more sugars will be metabolized.”

You can read on for lots more including an explanation of the scientific processes that impact color change.

The photo above by otisourcat shows that patchy color well. See it bigger and see more in their slideshow. More about the trail and park in the Ludington State Park guide.

More Michigan trails and more science on Michigan in Pictures!

Foggy morning, photo by Jiqing Fan

Wikipedia says that Portage Lake is part of the Keweenaw Waterway, a partly natural, partly artificial waterway that cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula to provide access for shipping from Lake Superior. If you click the link you can get an aerial view.

View Jiqing Fan’s photo bigger and see more in his massive Houghton & UP MI slideshow. He writes:

Saw the fog on Lake Portage from my apartment window after I woke up today. I knew the potential this fog can bring so I darted down to the lake shore. But the fog was so heavy that the foliage on the other bank were completely blocked. Just when I was about to give up and head back for school, the fog started to break as the sun rises. And then the magic started to unfold before my eyes. Soon the fog lifted and fill the campus uphill, the entire campus was bathed in soft morning light and there were Tyndall effect everywhere! I can not think of a better way to start a day of work.

What’s the Tyndall effect you ask? The UC Davis ChemWiki explains that the Tyndall effect was identified by 19th Century Irish scientist John Tyndall.

Because a colloidal solution or substance (like fog) is made up of scattered particles (like dust and water in air), light cannot travel straight through. Rather, it collides with these micro-particles and scatters causing the effect of a visible light beam. This effect was observed and described by John Tyndall as the Tyndall Effect.

The Tyndall effect is an easy way of determining whether a mixture is colloidal or not. When light is shined through a true solution, the light passes cleanly through the solution, however when light is passed through a colloidal solution, the substance in the dispersed phases scatters the light in all directions, making it readily seen.

For example, light is not reflected when passing through water because it is not a colloid. It is however reflected in all directions when it passes through milk, which is colloidal. A second example is shining a flashlight into fog or smog; the beam of light can be easily seen because the fog is a colloid.

Yay science!

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains

Lake of the Clouds from the Escarpment Trail, Porcupine Mountains, photo by Linda Carter

Linda writes that this photo is taken about 400 feet above Lake of the Clouds on the Escarpment Trail, which starts at Lake of the Clouds Overlook. She says that if you go the whole loop it’s 8 miles, but 2 or 3 miles along the trail you get the most beautiful views of the Lake.

Agreed!

View her photo bigger and see more in her Porkies slideshow.

There’s at the Porcupine Mountain State Park website including a map of the Escarpment Trail & Lake of the Clouds area and more Lake of the Clouds on Michigan in Pictures!

Sandhill Liftoff

October 17, 2014

10-8 HDR 1e_Fotor

10-8 HDR 1e_Fotor, photo by Gregg Mulholland

Apparently the control tower likes to get those birds airborne.

Definitely check Gregg’s shot out big as the sky and roll through his Sandhill Cranes slideshow for more.

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