February Ice … and 10,000 Leelanau Photos

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Lake Michigan … February ice, photo by Ken Scott Photography

Some followers of Michigan in Pictures may know that I live in Leelanau County, the village of Leland to be precise. The first website I ever built was Leelanau.com, and as with Michigan in Pictures, I have a photo group on Flickr. One of my favorite pursuits is hiking the shoreline, and when I returned from a hike yesterday, I noticed that the Leelanau.com Group had 9,999 photos. The 9999th is the one above from a year ago, fittingly by top contributor, professional photographer, and dedicated Leelanau-booster Ken Scott.  I realized that I had a pic from almost exactly the same spot!

View Ken’s photo on Flickr, see more in his Lake Michigan Ice & Caves slideshow, and follow Ken Scott Photography on Facebook!

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You can see mine and more photos & videos from the day in my Wavy Day in Leland slideshow.

PS: The Absolute Michigan pool is the one I use for Michigan in Pictures, and it has well over 200,000 photos!

Feeling Free at Pierce Stocking

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Feeling Free, photo by Matt Kazmierski

Few places in Michigan have the expansive view of the Lake Michigan overlook on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s 450′ feet down to the water, so remember that freedom comes at a price!

View Matt’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Cracking Ice

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Cracking Ice, photo by Jerry James Photography

Jerry writes: As I stood on the Ice waiting for the sun to set ( we was 1 1/2 hours early ) I could here all the ice around me cracking. talk about being paranoid, I wasn’t out to deep but it was still pretty cold and I wasn’t dressed to get wet. but everything ended good though, I stayed dry.

Always a good idea to be careful and know what’s below you when the temperatures rise.

View his photo from Muskegon bigger, see more in his slideshow, and follow Jerry James Photography on Facebook.

Ice is Nice: Tracking Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

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Shoreline Ice, photo by Mark Swanson

Ice on Michigan’s Great Lakes has become something of a phenomenon in the last few years, attracting photographers and thousands more to see the ephemeral beauty created by wind, water, and freezing temperatures. But ice has other important purposes, as NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory page on Great Lakes Ice Cover explains:

Ice formation on the Great Lakes is a clear signal of winter. Looking back in time, the lakes were formed over several thousands of years as mile-thick layers of glacial ice advanced and retreated, scouring and sculpting the basin. The shape and drainage patterns of the basin were in a constant state of flux resulting from the ebb and flow of glacial meltwater coupled with the rebound of the underlying land as the massive ice sheets retreated.

Heavy ice cover can reduce the amount of evaporation from the Great Lakes in the winter, thus contributing to higher water levels.

In bays and other nearshore areas, ice forms a stable platform for winter recreational activity such as ice fishing. This stable ice also protects wetlands and the shoreline from erosion.

  • 94.7% ice coverage in 1979 is the maximum on record (data began in 1973)
  • 9.5% ice coverage in 2002 is the lowest on record
  • 11.5% ice coverage in 1998, a strong El Niño year
  • The extreme ice cover in 2014 (92.5%) and 2015 (88.8%) were the first consecutive high ice cover years since the late 1970s.

NOAA pegs the current ice cover at 9.9% and you can also watch an animation of the last 60 days of ice formation. You can check out satellite images of the Great Lakes for current ice cover and also this cool animation of Great Lakes ice cover from 1973 – 2016.

Mark took this photo a little over a week ago at Lincoln Township Park near Stevensville. With the warmer weather, there’s probably less. View his photo bigger and see more in his Michigan Winter slideshow.

Turtle Club

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Turtle Club, photo by Andrew McFarlane

“Am I not turtley enough for the turtle club?”
-Dana Carvey, Master of Disguise

Pretty sure it’s just sleeping.

I took this photo last weekend on a walk along Lake Michigan in the Leelanau Conservancy’s Whaleback Natural Area just south of Leland.

View it background big and see more in my Lake Michigan, Pearl of America slideshow.

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan’s Lake Effect Snow and the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra

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Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra, photo by Mark Miller

As Michigan deals with the first winter storm of the season, it’s a good time to brush up on how Michigan’s lake effect snow machine works with a nice video (below) from mLive chief meteorologist Mark Torregrossa who writes:

The areas hit by lake effect are called snowbelts. Some parts of the snowbelts typically get much more snow than other parts. This is because some locations get lake effect from multiple wind directions. Good examples are in the heart of the northwest Lower Peninsula snowbelt. Mancelona and Gaylord get heavy lake effect with northwest, west and slightly southwest winds. Also, the Keweenaw Peninsula, sticking out into Lake Superior, can get lake effect snow from west winds to north winds to northeast winds. That’s why they often shovel over 200 inches of snow in Houghton, MI.

The opposite is true for Grand Rapids and to some extent, Traverse City. Grand Rapids needs a west to southwest wind for heavy lake effect. West winds are common in winter, but don’t tend to last for more than 12 hours. That’s why Grand Rapids often gets only 12 hours of heavy lake effect and a few inches of snow. The wind then veers to the northwest and areas around Holland and Allegan get buried. Downtown Traverse City has a hard time getting heavy lake effect also. Traverse City needs a north-northwest wind to straight north wind for the heaviest lake effect to move into downtown. That wind flow does happen, but it only lasts 24-48 hours a few times each winter.

Thanks to another Mark, Mark Miller, for today’s photo of the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra aka Major. View the photo bigger and see more in his “Major” slideshow.

Here’s Mark Torregrossa’s video:

Gloom over West Grand Traverse Bay

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Gloom over Grand Traverse Bay, photo by Amie Lucas

View Amie’s photo background bigilicious, see more in her Central Michigan slideshow, and be sure to follow Amie Lucas Photography on Facebook.

PS: You can get Amie’s 2017 Calendar on her website.