Winter is beautiful at the Eben Ice Caves

Eben Ice cave in Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Tom Clark

Eben Ice cave in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by Tom Clark

One of Michigan’s awesome winter features are the Eben Ice Caves in the Hiawatha National Forest. They explain that the Eben Ice Caves are located within the Rock River Canyon Wilderness (RRCW) which:

…includes approximately 4,700 acre (7.5 sq mile) and was designated in the Michigan Wilderness Act of 1987. During the mid- and late-winter months, many people visit RRCW to see the Eben Ice Caves.

…Although not “true” caves, they are made up of vertical walls of ice formed by water seeping through the sandstone bedrock cliff edge. As the temperature drops, these intermittent leaks create ice stalactites over the entrance to the bedrock undercuts. While ice caves are a phenomenon in the winter, the summer visitor would only see algae-covered rocks and dense foliage. The caves are within RRCW. Wilderness designation is the highest level of protection granted to federal lands.

You can read on for more & also be sure to check out the Eben Ice Caves Facebook page for tips & information on visiting.

Tom took this photo a couple of Januarys ago. Follow Tom on Facebook & at tom-clark.net. See more in his awesome U.P. Roadtrip to find ICE – 1/22/19 gallery on Flickr!

More pics from the Eben Ice Caves on Michigan in Pictures!

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Aqua Ice

Aqua Ice by Charles Bonham

Aqua Ice by Charles Bonham

There hasn’t been much in the way of ice buildup yet on Michigan’s Great Lakes so far in 2021, so I decided to reach back a couple of years to March of 2019 for this beauty from Au Gres on Lake Huron. The Causes of Color answers the question what causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?

As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.

The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.

In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.

Definitely check out more in Charles’ excellent Michigan Winter Ice gallery on Flickr.

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Snowy Owls are Back!

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

While these arctic owls are not found in the summer, the Michigan DNR shares that Snowy Owls & other winter visitors spend time in our state during the winter months:

Just because the leaves have fallen from the trees and there is a chill in the air is no reason to put away your binoculars. Winter offers unique viewing opportunities. Many of our summer resident birds migrate to warmer summer climates. Still, there are several species of birds that migrate from Canada and find Michigan the perfect winter temperature. Winter is the only time several of these species can be found in Michigan.

Two of the largest migrants are the snowy owl and the great gray owl. Snowy owls can be found moving into Michigan during winter when the food supply on the arctic tundra is in short supply. Snowy owls have been recorded as far south as Lansing, Michigan. Because they rarely see humans on their northern homes, they are not timid and can be easily viewed for long periods of time.

Kevin took this photo back in the winter of 2016, but he’s been hearing that they are back in Michigan now. See more in his Birds of Prey album on Flickr & be sure to follow Kevin Povenz Photos on Facebook.

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I dream of clouds

I Dream of Clouds by Mighty Boy Brian

I Dream of Clouds by Mighty Boy Brian

My heart is heavy this morning after watching a day of chaos in our nation’s Capitol & realizing that there’s nothing I or anyone can really say to those who reject the principles this country was founded upon. Stay safe everyone.

Brian shared this photo ten years ago. See more in his The Top Thirty album on Flickr & view more from him at brianwolfey.com and on Instagram.

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Michigan Lights Up the New Year!

Michigan Lights up the New Year by Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) UW-Madison

Michigan Lights Up the New Year by CIMSS UW-Madison

This satellite photo from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin shows:

…two of the first 2021 images from the Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20 satellites when they flew over the U.S. overnight to acquire stunning VIIRS nighttime imagery with light from recently full moon (98% illumination). City lights shimmer in the wintry landscape while a large storm swirls in the Mississippi Valley. Including a zoom into the Great Lakes Region because there’s no place like home!

Indeed!! Head over to their Facebook page for more & congratulations for being a part of the most welcoming state from space on the planet!! ;) 

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Essexville Ice Magic

Essexville Ice Formation by Jeff Caverly

Essexville Ice Formation by Jeff Caverly

I’ve featured this stunning photo before but had to bring it back for an encore! Head over to Jeff’s Flickr for more & definitely follow Jeff Caverly Photography on Facebook!

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The Great Silver Lake Pyramid

The Great Silver Lake Pyramid by Neil Weaver

The Great Silver Lake Pyramid by Neil Weaver

Here’s a simply stunning shot from Silver Lake Sand Dunes, which is located on the shore of Lake Michigan between Muskegon & Ludington.

Neil has several more stunning shots from the Silver Lake Dunes on his Facebook page and some great photography (including his 2021 calendar) for sale at neilweaverphotography.com!

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Magnetic North: Northern Lights likely tonight!

Magnetic North by Aaron Springer

Magnetic North by Aaron Springer

The NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction Center reports that geomagnetic Storm Watches are in effect from December 10th & 11th, 2020 due to anticipated Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) effects giving us a good chance of seeing the northern lights! The CME occurred on December 7th and analysis suggests CME arrival possible late on 9 December, initially resulting in G1 (Minor) storm levels. As CME effects continue, activity is likely to increase, especially if the magnetic field carried with the CME connects well with Earth’s magnetosphere. The potential for strong storm levels exists and a G3 (Strong) Watch is in effect for December 10th. CME-related disturbances are forecast to continue into 11 December, likely resulting in G2 (Moderate) storm levels 

As a quick rule of thumb, we can occasionally see Northern Lights at the G1 level, often at G2 and almost definitely at G3. Here’s hoping for clear skies!!

Aaron took this photo  at Otter Creek in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore back in March of 2015 & shared: A very memorable night. After seeing all 4 indicators in red on [a now defunct aurora tracker website] (and I had never seen that before), I bolted for the lake with what was an already late start. Soon after arriving I punched through the ice while jumping from flow to flow in the shallows. This was the first time I have ever shot these and despite having one leg wet to the knee I managed to stay out for five hours on sheer excitement. 

See more in his Aurora Borealis gallery on Flickr & here’s hoping for some clear skies tonight!

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Surf’s Up in Michigan!

Surfs Up by Julie

Surfs Up by Julie

While it seems crazy, winter, particularly November & December, are Michigan’s best surfing season. If you take a look through our photos of Michigan surfing, you’ll see that the biggest waves are the ones that come with snow & cold.

Julie took this on Sunday in Charlevoix when the temperature was a balmy 37 degrees. Head over to her Flickr for a shot of all five surfers who were out and see lots more in her Lighthouses gallery on Flickr. 

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Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes by Neil Weaver

Last night at Silver Lake Sand Dunes by Neil Weaver

Neil captured this stunning shot of the galactic core of our Milky Way stretching across the night sky over Silver Lake Sand Dunes during a recent visit. Head over to neilweaverphotography.com or follow him on Facebook for more great pics!

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