At the end of the rainbow

A lighthouse at the end of the rainbow, photo by Ann Fisher

Memorial Day Weekend is a unique holiday. It’s both a celebration of the beginning of the summer, the weekend to throw off the shackles of cold & gray and embrace sun and sand, and also a somber remembrance of those who have given their lives defending our nation. I hope that light and love touch you in both of these pursuits.

View the photo of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse background bigtacular and see more in Ann’s 2017 UP slideshow.

More about the Marquette Lighthouse and LOTS more about rainbows on Michigan in Pictures.

Shipping Season: The Saginaw at Mission Point

Saginaw at Mission Point, photo by Krystal Kauffman

Capistrano has their swallows, but a sure sign of Spring in Michigan is when the freighters return to the Great Lakes. One of the best places for shipwatching is right where Krystal took this photo: Mission Point at the mouth of the North Channel near the Soo Locks.

View the photo bigger and follow My Michigan by Krystal on Facebook for more.

Michigan’s Tallest: Sand Dunes Edition

Empire Bluff, photo by Pantheos

The author of my favorite Michigan blogs writes that Michigan is blessed with some of the most beautiful and tallest coastal sand dunes on the planet. He decided to climb some and put together a big old list of 87 Michigan’s ‘skyscraper’ Coastal Dunes that he could verify at 100′ or more in height.

This photo is from the tallest one, the 526-foot Empire Bluff Dune in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (which includes many of the tallest). To put this in perspective, it’s almost exactly 200′ shorter that our tallest building, the Renaissance Center in Detroit as well as One Detroit Center and the Penobscot, but it’s taller than the 4th highest – the Guardian Building.

More photos and a list of all the dunes on the post, including the option to follow!

More dunes on Michigan in Pictures.

Sunset & cloud shadows over West Bay

26 April 2017 West Bay Leelanau County, photo by John Robert Williams Photography

Here’s a ridiculous sunset that my friend John captured on Wednesday night over West Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City. The Rays & Shadows page from our friends at Atmospheric Optics identifies these as “cloud shadows” and says that they are basically the reverse of crepuscular rays, the beams of light that stream through gaps in clouds.

View it bigger and see more on John’s Facebook.

Superior Shoreline Snapshot

Lake Superior Shoreline, photo by Kirt E. Carter Photography

View the photo bigger, see more in Kirt’s slideshow, and view work & check out his blog on his website.

Six Degrees from the White Shoal Lighthouse

White Shoal Lighthouse Aerial, photo by US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

A reader shared a link to this photo with me, and this weekend I met a woman whose husband is a mechanic for the helicopter that took this photo. I thought that was pretty cool, but I also was putting groceries in my car at the local Meijer and a van pulled in a couple of slots down with a “White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society” logo on it! I talked for a bit with Brent who’s heading up the group, and I expect to have updates and photos as they get going with their renovation!

I also noticed that the photo from back in 2009 I had of this light has been removed by the photographer, so here’s the skinny on one of Michigan’s most recognizablelight houses.  White Shoals are located 20 miles east of Mackinac Point and just northwest of Waugoshance Island. So shallow that they break the surface in places, they long presented a hazard to navigation for ships entering the Straits of Mackinac. On his White Shoal Lighthouse page, Terry Pepper relates that beginning in October of 1891, the Lightship LV56 anchored at White Shoal during the shipping season for 19 years. Finally in 1907 funds were appropriated for a permanent lighthouse:

Spring of 1908 saw work begin on the White Shoal light on two separate fronts. While a crew at the site leveled a one hundred and two-foot square area on the shoal through the addition and careful placement of loads of stone, a second crew worked on building a timber crib on shore at St. Ignace. Seventy-two feet square and eighteen and a half feet high, the huge crib contained 400,000 square feet of lumber, and on completion was slowly towed out to the shoal and centered over the leveled lake bottom. Once in location, the crib was filled with 4,000 tons of stone until it sank to a point at which its uppermost surface was level and two feet below the water’s surface.

On top of this crib, a seventy-foot square stone block base was constructed to a total height of four feet, with the remainder of the pier being of poured concrete atop the block base. With the base complete, an acetylene-powered lens lantern was installed atop a temporary steel skeletal tower on December 5th, and with the onset of winter storms, work at the shoal ended for the season.

Seeing the Light has much more about the construction and history of White Shoal Light including shots of the tower and crib under construction and information about lighthouse tours offered by Shepler’s Ferry, on which you can see White Shoal, Waugoshance and Gray’s Reef Lights.

Wikipedia’s entry for the White Shoal Light notes that White Shoal is the only aluminum-topped lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the only ‘barber pole’ lighthouse in the United States and is the lighthouse featured on Michigan’s Save Our Lights license plate. There’s also a link to really cool Google Map of lighthouses in northern Lake Michigan. There’s a few more pics of White Shoal at boatnerd.

View the photo bigger and follow the US Coast Guard Traverse City on Facebook for lots more cool photos from their missions!

More aerial photos & more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

A Blaze of Green at Pictured Rocks

Untitled, photo by Steve Nowakowski

It’s hard to convey the unique beauty of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in a single photo, but the stunning green of this picture really triggered memories for me of some of my best and brightest days in one of Michigan’s crown jewels.

Steve took this on a boat tour in August of 2016 with nearly perfect conditions, likely with Pictured Rocks Cruises. View the photo background big and see more in his 2016 Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore slideshow.

There’s a whole lot more goodness from the Pictured Rocks on Michigan in Pictures.