August 8, 2014
Without question the best meteor shower of the summer in Michigan is the Perseids, EarthSky’s Everything you need to know about the Perseid Meteor Shower has (predictably) all kinds of details and diagrams to help you get the most out of this annual display. The most important thing is to start watching now as the August supermoon is full this weekend.
Every year, from around July 17 to August 24, our planet Earth crosses the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, the parent of the Perseid meteor shower. Debris from this comet litters the comet’s orbit, but we don’t really get into the thick of the comet rubble until after the first week of August. The bits and pieces from Comet Swift-Tuttle slam into the Earth’s upper atmosphere at some 210,000 kilometers (130,000 miles) per hour, lighting up the nighttime with fast-moving Perseid meteors. If our planet happens to pass through an unusually dense clump of meteoroids – comet rubble – we’ll see an elevated number of meteors.
…The swift-moving and often bright Perseid meteors frequently leave persistent trains – ionized gas trails lasting for a few moments after the meteor has already gone. Watch for these meteors to streak the nighttime in front of the age-old, lore-laden constellations from late night until dawn as we approach the second weekend in August. The Perseids should put out a few dozen meteors per hour in the wee hours of the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13.
Read on for lots more.
More meteors on Michigan in Pictures!
July 21, 2014
Don Harrison operates UpNorth Memories and shares many of the historical post card photos I feature on Michigan in Pictures. Yesterday in honor of photographer Phil Balyeat’s 99th birthday he posted an incredible collection of photos Phil had taken over the years from the Traverse City area including this one.
More about the Dunesmobiles at Leelanau.com!
July 19, 2014
I don’t think that enough is made of the fact that as long as you’re in Michigan, you are never more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. To make matters better, Michigan law permits you to freely walk the entire Great Lakes shoreline so get out and have some adventures this weekend!
About this photo, Jess writes: These images were taken on a hike on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Glen Haven MI roughly two years ago. Can’t recommend this hike enough! (I’m curious if any shipwreck remnants are still explorable with this year’s higher waterline.)
I’m curious too and will try to find out!
June 28, 2014
John Flesher of the Associate Press has a feature on NBC News about the possible discovery of the Holy Grail of Great Lakes shipwrecks, Le Griffon, the ship of French explorer Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle. The article says (in part):
A wooden beam embedded at the bottom of northern Lake Michigan appears to have been there for centuries, underwater archaeologists announced Tuesday, a crucial finding as crews dig toward what they hope is the carcass of a French ship that disappeared while exploring the Great Lakes in the 17th century.
Expedition leaders still weren’t ready to declare they had found a shipwreck or the long-lost Griffin. The ship, commanded by the French explorer La Salle, was never seen again after setting sail in September 1679 from an island near the entrance of Green Bay, in what is now northern Wisconsin, with a crew of a six and a cargo of furs.
…Scientists and divers began excavating last week at the base of the wooden beam, hoping to determine whether it is part of the Griffin. Steve Libert, a diver and shipwreck enthusiast who has searched three decades for the Griffin, discovered the timber in 2001 and recently obtained state and federal permits to probe beneath the muddy surface.
Read on for more. Libert is president of Great Lakes Exploration Group started the Lasalle-Griffon Project with the state of Michigan and the Republic of France in July of 2010. He’s definitely obsessed with finding the ship, and their Expedition page explains:
If the wreck Libert has found is Le Griffon, it will be a find of tremendous historical significance. Le Griffon was built by Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle, one of the first French explorers of the Great Lakes Region. He would later claim the Mississippi River watershed for France, a vast expanse of land that extended from the Allegheny Mountains to the Rocky Mountains and North of the Great Lakes, a portion of which became what is presently known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Exploration and study of the ship will tell us much about the history of our country and how our ancestors lived. “The ship is a time capsule that will fill the missing gaps of La Salle’s early exploration of North America,” says Libert. In particular, the wreck is a record of ship construction of that period, about which relatively little is known. La Salle constructed Le Griffon on the banks of the Niagara River, about three miles above the falls. There is strong documentation to support the view that Le Griffon was built on what is now the U.S. side of the Falls. If the wreckage is Le Griffon, however, it may be possible to use samples to establish definitively which side it was built on.
The fact that Le Griffon was built in the wilderness, as opposed to a shipyard, will reveal the circumstances La Salle and his men faced and the tools and technology they possessed. The ship was built with timber cut on site. The exact dimensions of the vessel are not known. It is however known to have been a 40 tun* vessel with three masts, a foremast, main and mizzen, and several square sails.
*Tun is an old French word for a large cask used in shipping wine, equivalent to 33.7 cubic feet or 252 gallons. Read on for a whole lot more.
Regarding the stained glass above, pinehurst19475 writes:
This is a full view of part of a panel that depicts two cavaliers in discussion. They are part of a scene that depicts Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle’s voyage through the Detroit River in 1678-9. The small boat in the foreground is the “Griffon,” the vessel that made the voyage.
The five-part stained glass window was originally installed in the Gothic Room of the “City of Detroit III.” At the time it was built (1912), it was the world’s largest side-wheeler. The Edward F. Lee Glass Company of Detroit designed the stained glass window.
June 18, 2014
Amy Arnold has a cool feature on the West Michigan Pike called Highway to History at Seeking Michigan that says (in part):
You may know it as old M-11, old US 31, the Red Arrow Highway or the Blue Star Highway – all names for a road that was originally called the West Michigan Pike, the first continuous concrete highway in West Michigan. Begun in 1911 as part of a strategy to bring auto tourists from Chicago to Michigan, the road was completed in 1922 and ran from New Buffalo to Mackinaw City.
…In the 1920s, an effort to create a series of connected, safe places for auto travelers to stay resulted in the development of a series of parks along the route, including seven state parks between New Buffalo and Ludington. During the Depression, Ludington State Park was the first state park in Michigan to be constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and was a showplace for the National Park Service program. The West Michigan Pike was also important in Michigan’s early conservation history. Much of Michigan’s land had been clear cut and abandoned by the lumber industry. The state incorporated highway beautification and reforestation as part of its work to create good roads in Michigan.
Read more at Seeking Michigan, and you can also check out Amy’s historical study of architectural resources along the West Michigan Pike at Michigan Beach Towns. If you’d like to retrace the route, here’s an old flyer with the West Michigan Pike route.
Also, they note that there’s an exhibit titled Yesterday on the West Michigan Pike: Photographs by Vincent J. Musi, that shows the noted National Geographic photographers photos taken along the Pike in 2008. View some right here.
More beach wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!
June 11, 2014
Last winter some incredible ice formations piled up off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula, and the photographer on the scene was my friend & Michigan in Pictures regular Ken Scott. Ken has published a book, Ice Caves of Leelanau, that features some of his best shots and essays by noted Michigan author Jerry Dennis. Right now his books are mostly sold out (reprint coming in July) but you might be able to sweet talk one out of Ken – email him here.
If you’re in northwest Lower Michigan you can catch Ken’s talk on the ice caves tomorrow from 4-6 PM at the Leland Township Library.
June 4, 2014
One of the things I love about Spring and early Summer is how calm the water can be.
Jason shot this at 6 AM on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City. View his photo background bigtacular, see more in his Landscapes VII slideshow and purchase it if you wish at his photography website.
June 3, 2014
If you’ve been following Michigan in Pictures for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with the work of John McCormick aka Michigan Nut.
John has just released his 2015 Michigan Wild & Scenic Wall Calendar, and you can get it for just $15. As an added bonus, if you head over to like his post about it on Facebook, you have a chance to win a free one!
The photo above of the Mackinac Bridge is not only the cover of the calendar, it’s also the photo for June. View (and purchase) John’s photo bigger at MichiganNutPhotography.com, see more in his Michigan Bridges Gallery and definitely follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook for a regular dose of photographic awesome from the Great Lakes State!
There’s lots more from John on Michigan in Pictures too!!
April 19, 2014
While much of the state is enjoying springlike weather, folks in northern Michigan and the UP are still going toe to toe with a winter that will not quit. In solidarity, here’s one more wintry shot.
It comes from Ann Fisher in Menominee and shows the large “ice shoves” or “ice push” that came off Lake Michigan last Sunday. In Ice Shove: Giant Ice Slabs Invade Great Lakes Shorelines, Jon Erdman of the Weather Channel explains:
An ice shove is a rapid push of free-floating lake or sea ice onshore by wind. Strong winds from the same direction over, say, a 12 to 24 hour period, are enough to drive large chunks and plates of ice ashore.
The initial slabs or blocks of ice will slow down momentarily when reaching land, creating a traffic jam of ice piling behind and on top. The result is a massive ice pile often over 10 feet high, surging ashore in a matter of minutes, surrounding and damaging everything in their path, including trees, sod, fences, and homes.
Read on at Weather.com for more including the much bigger ice shoves in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and a look at the most widespread ice coverage on record for mid-April – over 39% of the Great Lakes! You can see some more photos from Fox6 in Menominee and if you head over to Absolute Michigan, you can look back to March of 2009 and some a CNN video of the crazy massive ice shoves on Saginaw Bay.
More ice on Michigan in Pictures.