Textures of Sleeping Bear Dunes

Textures, photo by JamesEyeViewPhotography

View the photo from the Sleeping Bear Dunes background bigtacular, see more in James’ The Great Lakes slideshow, and follow James Eye View Photography on Facebook.

2017 Chicago to Mackinac Sailing Race

Absolute Chicago-Mackinac, photo by Jim Sorbie

When I wandered down to Fishtown in Leland yesterday afternoon, the number one topic of conversation was the annual Chicago to Mackinac sailing race. The 333-mile race from Chicago’s Navy Pier to Mackinac Island is kind of a big deal in communities along Michigan’s western coast like mine. I almost always know a couple of people who are racing, and after the race gets underway, you’ll hear a lot of speculation about the time that the boats will enter the Manitou Passage and then what time they’ll finish at Mackinac Island.

One of the things that’s particularly cool to me is that the Chicago to Mac is one of the few events that ties the whole community to the weather and condition of Lake Michigan. People will take boats out to watch them, or climb Pyramid Point or Whaleback for a view of the boats if they stream past when it’s light out. If you’re within distance of a community like Leland, Frankfort, Ludington, Elk Rapids or up near the Mackinac Bridge, consider checking out likely times boats will pass, grab the binoculars and see if you can get a glimpse of the racers.

Jim writes: Summer Flashback – We’re trying desperately to pass an old friend on the run in to the Island – no luck!

View his photo from near the end of the 2013 race photo background bigtacular and see more in his Mac Races (Chicago & Port Huron) slideshow.

PS: Definitely check out their 2016 Race Photo Contest winning photo!

Michpics Monday Message

Cliff Jumpers, photo by Julie

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
~William G. T. Shedd

Hi folks, this is Andy McFarlane, curator of Michigan in Pictures with a message so we’re all clear on what this blog is, and what it isn’t.

A little background: On Saturday I was not going to be a computer so I pre-scheduled a photo on Thursday, something I do fairly often. The photo was of some people jumping off the South Haven Pier, and coincidentally, someone fell (or jumped) off the pier late Friday night. They weren’t found, and the search has been called off as there’s no report of a missing person and it appears they may have gotten out of the water undetected.

While I did Saturday things not involving a computer, quite a large discussion unfolded on the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page, centering on the illegality of jumping off that pier (something I didn’t know about) and the irresponsibility of sharing photos of people doing dangerous things. After a quick scan of the comments and messages I’d received, I decided to delete the entire post from Facebook and Michigan in Pictures because I was told that people were still processing grief and that I was being insensitive. That appears to not be the case, and I’m sorry that I didn’t have more time to figure out the whole story.

I guess we can have some of the discussion here (and on the Facebook post). You may recall a couple of years ago when there was a minor uproar over a photo my girlfriend took on the ice. I think that what I wrote then is still applicable, and I hope that all my readers can accept my policy for this blog because at the end of the day, it’s how it’s going to be:

I post pictures all the time where the photographers have taken calculated risks to see, photograph and experience things that you cannot see and photograph without an element of risk. I allow my son to surf in conditions that can be very dangerous, let my daughter climb trees high enough to probably kill her if she fell, and have hiked on trails where one slip meant death.

I suppose I should post disclaimers of “don’t be an idiot” with all photos of risky environments, but I think I will continue to assume that my readers will assess risks on their own, and I will continue to experience and share Michigan as I choose.

…Please understand that Michigan in Pictures is a place where I share amazing pictures that are shared with me. I’m not doing this as a public service to educate people on how to stay alive and safe. I do it for love of Michigan and to share the cool experiences it offers. I trust that my readers will exercise appropriate caution as they enjoy Michigan, and I’m 1000% sure that if folks get out and wisely play a little closer to the edge, they’ll have a happier and longer life.

Caveat emptor!

Caveat emptor will remain the policy of Michigan in Pictures, which I will again remind readers is my personal blog, not paid for by anyone and offered with the sole hope that you can find pictures and places that help you enjoy and appreciate Michigan more.

View Julie’s photo of a maniac kid jumping off the 15-foot high Black Rocks in Marquette bigger and see more in her UP of Michigan slideshow.

Note: Lake Superior is SUPER COLD. You might die from cold water drowning. Also note that 15′ is pretty high. That could hurt or even kill you if you dive off the wrong rock somewhere else. Also note that if it’s wavy you could be hurt by the waves.

The Pink Sands of Sand Point

Pink Sand at Sand Point, photo courtesy Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore shared this photo yesterday saying:

Is this sand pink? Yes it Is! The pink sand on the beach can be found on the northeast corner of Sand Point at the very end of Sand Point Rd. The pink sand is actually garnet that has eroded from one of the sandstone layers of the Pictured Rock cliffs. The garnet then washed up at Sand Point and makes a unique pink sand beach.

View it bigger on Facebook, and visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for much more information on Sand Point and other amazing places in one of Michigan’s most amazing parks.

PS: Better follow PicturedRocksNL on Facebook too if you want to know about things like being able to watch a sunset from a lighthouse.

Home Before the Squall

Home Before the Squall, photo by Julie Mansour

Thinking there’s been a lot of rain lately? You’re not wrong! Michigan has experienced a lot of rain over the last few weeks, and mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa shares that there are three weather conditions all combining over the Great Lakes that keep the rain machine running:

Over the next 10 days there should be three weather systems moving through the Great Lakes region. Each of these storms should have one to two inches of rain in the heaviest swath of precipitation.

The cause of the wet weather starts with numerous storm systems being born over the northern Pacific Ocean. These storms are hitting the Pacific Northwest coast every three to five days. The storm systems then cross the hotter than average Rockies and drop south into the base of a “U”-shaped bend in the jetstream. This U-shaped area is where storms spin faster and intensify. It’s the area along the jetstream where large-scale weather systems are at their strongest.

The final part to this wet weather scenario is what we call a “wide-open Gulf of Mexico.” Southern winds from the Gulf of Mexico into the Midwest and Ohio Valley bring high amounts of water vapor northward. The strong storm systems use that water vapor to produce heavy rain.

…The total rainfall forecast over the next week, through July 4, 2017 shows NOAA forecasters expect a swath of five to six inch total rain. We will just have to watch where this heaviest rain sets up. Right now it is expected to fall south of the flooded areas in Michigan. It could easily shift north or south a few hundred miles.

Julie caught the Neptune beating the rain in Holland last weekend. View her photo background bigtacular and see more in her slideshow.

The future of Great Lakes is slipping through our hands…

Silver Carp in hand, photo by Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant

The Herald-Palladium reports that an Asian carp has been found just 9 miles from Lake Michigan:

…the news is a reminder that the Trump administration needs to take the problem seriously, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said Friday. The St. Joseph Republican on Friday called on the president to release a bottled-up blueprint for tackling the problem.
“The time to act is now. I am calling on the Trump administration to immediately release the Brandon Road Study so that we can have a full grasp of our options to stop this destructive force,” he stated in a news release. “Asian Carp have the potential to decimate the Great Lakes we all love and depend on.

“It is absolutely imperative we step up our efforts to further protect our lakes. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle here in the House and the Senate to take action to stop Asian Carp from entering our waterways.”

Earlier this week, Upton signed on as a co-sponsor of the Stop Asian Carp Now Act. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would compel the Trump administration to release the Brandon Road Study within seven days of the bill’s enactment. The Brandon Road study will provide important guidance on how best to prevent Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes. The entire Michigan Congressional Delegation supports of this legislation.

The live Asian carp has been discovered in a Chicago waterway – well beyond an electric barrier network designed to prevent the invasive fish that have infested the Mississippi River system from reaching the Great Lakes, officials said Friday.

I would encourage you to read on for more, and you can also see the whole text of the Stop Asian Carp Act (HR 892). I would note that this bill was originally introduced in 2011, so maybe make a couple of calls to your representatives.

View the photo background big and see more in the Michigan Sea Grant’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) slideshow.

The Colors of Agate Beach

The Colors of Agate Beach, photo by Neil Weaver

Neil took this photo on Agate Beach in Grand Marais on Lake Superior. It’s a popular spot for rockhounds. Superior Trails has an article on agate beaches around Lake Superior that says in part:

Veteran Agate Hunters will troll gravel pits, riversides, hiking trails, roadsides, as well as beaches looking for agates. We stick to beaches, not because the chances of finding an agate are better, but because there is something unique about being close to Big Gitche Gumee (Lake Superior), listening to the waves lapping the shoreline, feeling the crisp breeze coming of the lake, breathing the fresh air, and getting some exercise walking along the shoreline.

We’ve got a few favorite beaches, some where we have had good luck, but also we like some better than others for the scenery or the variety of rocks and stones that litter the shoreline. Little Girls Point near Ironwood, Michigan is one of our favorites. It has perhaps more rocks per foot than any other we’ve encountered around Lake Superior and it has a decent variety of rocks as well. Another plus is it has several lakeside RV campsites which if you are lucky enough to reserve one means the beach is right outside your back door. Jo has a soft spot for the beach at Muskallonge State Park because there she found her first four agates in two days of beach combing. Grand Marais Michigan is another favorite, offering an extensive beach with lots of variety of rocks and a reputation for some huge agate finds. The Woodland Park campground is adjacent to the beach. Grand Marais is also home to the Gitche Gumee Agate Museum, a must see stop for any agate fan. But next year, we may find an agate at a previously less favored beach and declare it as our new favorite, for there are so many beaches that we’ve only touched upon briefly.

View Neil’s photo bigger on Facebook and visit neilweaverphotography.com to view & purchase incredible photos from all over Michigan!