Mud Bogging, Minus the 4×4

Mud Races

Mud Races, photo by StormchaserMike Photography.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, it turns out that you haven’t.

Mud Day is an annual affair held in early July at Hines Park in Westland. The recipe for fun is simple – 200 tons of dirt, 20,000 gallons of water and a bunch of people who care more about fun than fastidiousness.

Here’s a nice news report on Mud Day.

Check this out bigger and see a lot more in Mike’s massive 2011 Wayne County Parks Mud Day slideshow.

Happy Father’s Day, Michigan Dads

Dad and daughter

Dad and daughter, photo by Dr. Farnsworth.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day, a time to celebrate dads and fatherhood. Also fishing & golf. ;)

Hope all the dads out there have a great weekend (everyone else too!)

See this photo big as the one that got away and in Dale’s The Best of West Lake slideshow.

2009 ArtPrize Grand Rapids

ArtPrize '09 Friday

ArtPrize ’09 Friday, photo by JohnE777.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered “Just how much money does it take for a city to completely go off its nut and turn into some kind of urban ninja butterfly?”

The answer, it seems, is about a million dollars. That’s how much money Rick DeVos allocated to found the Grand Rapids ArtPrize. The public will vote to determine who wins prizes including the top prize of $250,000!

Over on Absolute Michigan we’ve created the 2009 ArtPrize Grand Rapids page, an explosion of tweets, videos and (of course) photos.

Also check out the ArtPrize Map or (if you’re so inclined) fly through Grand Rapids and ArtPrize in Google Earth.

Check out this photo bigger and also see John’s massive ArtPrize ’09 set (slideshow).

PS: Tomorrow Rob Bliss & friends will launch 100,000 paper airplanes over Monroe Ave. as a flashmob of musicians play. Be there.

I remember 8 years ago…

I remember 8 years ago...

I remember 8 years ago…, photo by MightyBoyBrian.

…and Brian wonders where we’ll be 8 years from now.

Check this photo from the tunnel to Holland’s Tunnel Park beach out bigger and (for the moment) in Brian’s The Top Thirty set (slideshow).

Balloons over Howell: The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest

Pics 126

Pics 126, photo by m7k7k7.

The annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest takes place this weekend – June 26-28, 2009. It’s the state championship of hot-air ballooning and in addition to a sky full of balloons, offerings include three entertainment venues, a carnival, classic car show, medieval village and skydiving shows. 2009 is the 25th anniversary:

“Twenty-five years ago, the Michigan Challenge started with a whimper and a little burner noise,” said Competition Director Dick Rudlaff. “There were only a couple handfuls of balloons that first year, all good friends who flew together often. But we managed to elbow our way into the Howell community with the help of the chamber of commerce and all their volunteers who make this a true community event to be proud of.”

Of course, the highlight of the Michigan Challenge weekend is the five scheduled balloon launches Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 6 and 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday mornings between 6 and 8 a.m. Site host is Howell Public Schools.

Here’s more of m7k7k7’s Howell Balloonfest photos (slideshow). For more, check out the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest slideshow on Flickr and also this set and this one.

Garage Sale Culture: I’m one of those Americans


I’m one of those Americans, photo by David McGowan

David says that in the summer of 2008, he started shooting an essay on the culture of garage sales in Michigan as we moved deeper into recession.

Now his essay is one the fantastic photography site Burn. Burn is curated by notable Magnum and National Geographic photographer, David Alan Harvey, and was established to be a platform for emerging photographers online and in print. Do yourself a favor and check out David McGowan – Garage Sale.

I’m serious – do not miss this one.

I have to also say thanks to David for introducing me to Lux Land,  Michigan songstress and wife of Brian Vander Ark who I had heard of but never really heard. Her song, Touching a Legend is the soundtrack and you can can check her music out at Luxy Land or MySpace.

Luge Run at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

DANGER--Wipeout Ahead

DANGER–Wipeout Ahead, photo by taterfalls.

Tate says that this is what happens when you don’t steer enough. Be sure to check the photo out bigger.

The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is located at Muskegon State Park. This amazing complex features over an acre of skating rinks (including a 700′ skating trail), 16k of groomed and lighted cross-country trail through woods and along Lake Michigan (he longest lighted trail system of its kind in the Midwest) and the luge track.

The Muskegon Luge is one of four luge tracks in the United States and is considered the most publicly accessible. Although much smaller than the Olympic tracks in New York and Salt Lake City, the Muskegon track was designed with the public in mind. The track was designed by three time Olympian Frank Masley. The track consists of six curves and two starting areas, the public start for recreational “learn to luge” sliders and the other from the top for more experienced sliders from the Muskegon Luge Club.

Click through to the Muskegon Luge page to see a cool video from Wild Weekend TV showing how accessible it is to the public.

Michigan Logging Train Excursion

Excursion Logging Train, Harbor Springs, photo from Detroit Publishing Co., c1906 (at the Library of Congress)

I noticed that the Newaygo Logging Festival (Eventful link w/ map) happens this weekend. Several recent conversations and excursions of my own have driven home how profoundly the logging industry has shaped Michigan. Like miners, the timber trade roamed from river mouth to natural harbor up and down our Great Lake shoreline, into connected lakes and with the coming of the railroad, across the entire Lower & Upper Peninsulas.

At every stop, when the trees were gone, the land was left cleared and ready for villages and farms. Many of those working in the timber trade turned to farming and town building, and the names of the founders of these towns (and the owners of the dry goods stores) were often the names of the principals of the lumber companies.

Over Labor Day Weekend, I think it would be neat if Michigan were to somehow remember and honor the role of logging and loggers played in creating our state.

…and when it’s not such a lovely, last weekend of summer out there, be sure to check out some Michigan lumbering history and this really cool collection of Michigan logging photos from

Seriously, these logging photos are great!

The Opossum Family Road Trip

close up

close up, photo by gerrybuckel.

Well, the weekend is here and all around Michigan folks are packing their families into cars for a family getaway. This photo is dedicated to any who are tempted to lose their temper or otherwise complain about their lot.

Gerry has a few more photos of the possum family at her “animals” tag.

Have a great weekend people!

Corunna, Michigan beet farmers and the photography of Lewis Wickes Hine

Corunna, Michigan beet farmers by Lewis Wickes Hine

Corunna, Michigan beet farmers, photo by Lewis Wickes Hine

This photo from the Library of Congress from July 17, 1917 is captioned: Jo Durco. This man, his wife and two children, Mary 8 years, Tony 10 years, do all the work on a large plot of beets. They are blocking and thinning now. Location: Corunna, Michigan / L.W. Hine. Here are several more from Hine’s visit to Corunna.

Not too many of Hine’s 5000 photos in the Library of Congress (hit “Preview” to see thumbnails) are from Michigan, but I figured a tiny opening was all that was required to introduce the work of one of this country’s truly legendary portrait photographers.

You can read more about Hine in Wikipedia, search the National Child Labor Committee’s collection at the Library of Congress and view some selected photos of child laborers from the collection at The History Place. There’s a few videos on YouTube – I thought this one titled Lewis Hine: Taking a Stand Against Child Labor was by far the most informative, relating details of how Hine gained access to closed factories and other aspects of his “sociological photography”.