That Michigan Vibe

Michigan Vibe by Heather Aldridge

Michigan Vibe by Heather Aldridge

Heather shares that she rode her bike to the pier in Frankfort for sunrise & was delighted with the Michigan cloud next to the bluff. That makes two of us Heather – WOW! 😍

Click the pic to view her photo on Facebook & here’s hoping you have a magical day!

Check out more Michigan amazingness on Michigan in Pictures.

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Heading Home for the Night

Heading Home for the Night by TP Mann

Heading Home for the Night by TP Mann

TP took this shot a couple of years ago & shares: 

This is an example of being at the right place and at the right time. The sun had set long ago and the boat heading in for the night. The light reflections added to the pure beauty of this beautiful evening. This from the pier in Charlevoix Michigan, located along beautiful Lake Michigan.

Here’s hoping you find yourself in the right place at the right time this weekend! See more in TP’s Charlevoix, Michigan gallery on Flickr.

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White Shoal Light & Terry Pepper

White Shoal Light by Joel Dinda

White Shoal Light by Joel Dinda

Terry Pepper was almost certainly the greatest champion ever for the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. Although he passed in 2019, his Seeing the Light website remains as a fantastic resource for the lighthouses of the western Great Lakes. The White Shoal Lighthouse entry says (in part, because these are VERY thorough):

Located approximately 20 miles east of Mackinac Point and 2.6 miles northwest of Waugoshance Island, the shallows around White Shoal had long presented a hazard for vessels entering the Straits from the either the North Shore or the Manitou Passage. Lying in an east/west orientation, and almost two miles long, the shoal was so shallow that its west end broke the water’s surface. With the dramatic increase in vessel traffic in the late 1880’s, the Lighthouse Board specifically identified White Shoal, Simmons Reef and Gray’s Reef as three Straits-area navigational hazards requiring immediate demarcation.

…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.

…As work on the tower continued, the nine decks took shape within the tower. The first deck mechanical room housed the oil engine powered fog signal, heating plant, and storage for the station’s powerboat. The second deck housed a tool room, bathroom and food storage area. A kitchen, living room and one bedroom made up the third deck, with two more bedrooms and a toilet located on the fourth. A living area and another bedroom were found on the fifth deck, and the sixth and seventh contained a single open room on each. The service room made up the eighth level, and the watchroom topped the living quarters on the ninth.

Work at the station continued through the end of the shipping season in 1909, when once again the station was abandoned until work could resume with the receding ice in the spring of 1910.

Work crews returned to the station on the opening of the 1910 navigation season, and the the tower was capped with a circular watch room and lantern room, both of twelve and a half feet in diameter. The aluminum lantern featured helical astragals, which the Board had recently begun incorporating in new construction, since it was believed that they offered less light interference than the vertical astragals that had been prevalently used for the past sixty years. As construction of the tower wound to completion, the entire structure from the crib deck to lantern ventilator was given a coat of bright white paint, designed to improves the structure’s visibility during daylight hours.

More from Seeing the Light & definitely check out the tribute to Terry Pepper from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

Joel took this photo from Shepler’s ferry Hope during a Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association lighthouse cruise in June of 2014. See more in his Lighthouse Cruise 6/16/2014 gallery on Flickr.

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Sail into the sunset … and weekend

Sunset Sailing by TP Mann

Sunset Sailing by TP Mann

TP shares: 

This shot was taken at one of my favorite places for photos, the lighthouse in Charlevoix Michigan along Lake Michigan. This is a case of perfect time and place.

Indeed!! Hope you get some of those “perfect time & place” moments this weekend & this summer.

Check out more stunning shots in TP’s Explored gallery on Flickr.

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Scientists now know what causes the northern lights!

Thanks by Julie

Thanks by Julie

NPR reports that scientists have finally confirmed the source of the Northern Lights:

An article published in the journal Nature Communications this week suggests that the natural light show starts when disturbances on the sun pull on Earth’s magnetic field. That creates cosmic undulations known as Alfvén waves that launch electrons at high speeds into Earth’s atmosphere where they create the aurora.

“It was sort of theorized that that’s where the energy exchange is occurring,” said Gregory Howes, associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa. “But no one had ever come up with a definitive demonstration that the Alfvén waves actually accelerate these electrons under the appropriate conditions that you have in space above the aurora.”

The sun is volatile, and violent events there such as geomagnetic storms can echo out into the universe. In some cases, the sun’s disturbances are so strong that they yank on the Earth’s magnetic field like a rubber band, pulling it away from our planet.

But, like a taut rubber band when it’s released, the magnetic field snaps back, and the force of that recoil creates powerful ripples known as Alfvén waves about 80,000 miles from the ground. As those waves get closer to Earth, they move even faster thanks to the planet’s magnetic pull.

…”Think about surfing,” said Jim Schroeder, an assistant physics professor at Wheaton College and the article’s lead author. “In order to surf, you need to paddle up to the right speed for an ocean wave to pick you up and accelerate you, and we found that electrons were surfing. If they were moving with the right speed relative to the wave, they would get picked up and accelerated.”

When the electrons reach Earth’s thin upper atmosphere, they collide with nitrogen and oxygen molecules, sending them into an excited state. The excited electrons eventually calm down and release light, which is what we see as the aurora.

More at NPR.

Julie took this celebratory photo back in March. See more in her massive Michigan gallery on Flickr & keep your eyes on the skies!!

More Northern Lights on Michigan in Pictures.

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Get all the stars at Wilderness State Park

The Milky Way over Lake Michigan at Wilderness State Park by Diana Robinson

The Milky Way over Lake Michigan at Wilderness State Park by Diana Robinson

The Michigan DNR explains that Wilderness State Park is one of Michigan’s Dark Sky Preserves:

Michigan is lucky to play host to both dark sky preserves and parks that offer stellar celestial landscapes. These locations are specially designated because they have qualities that complement nighttime viewing, such as the ability to limit the amount of artificial light. There are also plenty of excellent night-sky viewing opportunities across more than 15,000 square miles in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Diana took this photo earlier in May & you can see more in her Night Photography gallery on Flickr.

More great night photography on Michigan in Pictures!

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The Mouth of the Grand River

Mouth of the Grand River by Dan Gaken

Mouth of the Grand River by Dan Gaken

Cool shot of the Grand Haven Lighthouse at the mouth of the 252-mile long Grand River. See more shots from above in Dan’s Drone Photography gallery on Flickr.

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Petite Pointe Au Sable Lighthouse

Little Sable Lighthouse 4 by kmoyerus

Little Sable Lighthouse 4 by kmoyerus

Visit Ludington explains that Little Sable Point Lighthouse was originally named Petite Pointe Au Sable:

Located in the Silver Lake State Park at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a 107′ brick structure, constructed in 1874. This lighthouse is one of the tallest in the state of Michigan at over 100 feet and 130 steps to climb the tower. About 30 miles north, you can visit the other “Point” along Lake Michigan which is home to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse located within the Ludington State Park.

…it cost $35,000 to build and contained 3 rooms. The rare third order Fresnel lens emitted a constant white light, and flashed a brighter light at set intervals, visible 19 miles into Lake Michigan.

The early 1900s saw some changes to the lighthouse. In 1900 the tower was painted white, and an access road and storage building were added in 1902. The name was changed in 1910 to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, meaning “little point of sand,” representing its location which juts into Lake Michigan. In 1977, the tower paint was removed and the original brick exposed.

Over the years, the lighthouse has had 15 keepers; and for one month, a woman took over when the original keeper took a temporary leave. The Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association took over the maintenance of the lighthouse in 2005, and it is open to the public from late May to late September.

The Light probably looked much the same in the 1870s as it did when kmoyerus took the photo in early May. See more in their Oceana County gallery on Flickr.

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Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes

Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes by Mark Swanson

Beautiful Grand Mere Dunes by Mark Swanson

Michigan Trail Maps says that Grand Mere State Park:

…is a 985-acre unit in Berrien County that lacks the amenities found in most other state parks along Lake Michigan, including a campground and even direct access to its mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. It attracts only a fraction of the visitors that flock to parks such as Warren Dunes or Hoffmaster. Yet from a naturalist’s point of view Grand Mere is one of the most inquiring set of dunes in the state, an area so ecologically diverse that it 1976 it was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Congress.

The glaciers that scooped out the Great Lakes 10,000 years ago also carved out a number of smaller depressions along the western edge of the state, which evolved into interdunal lakes, ponds, and wetlands. At one time, this area contained a chain of five such lakes that were protected ecologically by a line of windblown sand dunes between them and Lake Michigan. Now there are only three, a result of aquatic succession. Today Grand Mere is a textbook example of the various stages of succession from aquatic communities to terrestrial. Beginning at North Lake, you can see how each lake is progressively disappearing, with open water first turning into marsh and then woodland swamps and closed bog forests, the fate of the former two lakes that lie south of the park.

Almost 4 miles of trails form a loop through open dunes and the wooded areas of the park, but the only designated trail is a half-mile Nature Trail. The paved, handicapped accessible trail extends from the picnic shelter around South Lake, passing 10 interpretive posts that correspond to back of the park map. The rest of the trails are neither posted nor maintained. The most distinguishable trail extends almost a mile from a small parking area off Wishart Road to the west end of the Nature Trail.

Mark took this photo a couple months ago & you can see more in his Spring gallery on Flickr.

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South Fox Island Light Station

South Fox Island Light Station by Dusty Klifman / Blueyes Below

South Fox Island Light Station by Dusty Klifman / Blueyes Below

My company recently completed a new website for the Fox Island Lighthouse Association. Their website explains:

The South Fox Light Station is located 22 miles offshore in NW Lake Michigan, south of Beaver Island and north of the Manitous. The 115 acres of MI state-owned land has much to offer, with seven original structures still standing and acres of pristine dune and wildlife; it is one of the most unique stations on Lake Michigan. The original tower was lit in 1867; the fog signal and oil house were built in 1895. The Workshop and Boat House were built in 1897. In 1934, the 68’ steel skeletal tower was brought from Sapelo Island, GA and reassembled on the island (automated in 1958). The two-story Assistant Keepers Quarters was added in 1910. The station was decommissioned in 1969.

In 1971, the State of Michigan bought the station from the Department of the Interior with a promise to provide recreational opportunity and access to the public.

You can head over to their website for information & photos about the station, its structures, and how you can help them with their work.

Diver/photographer Dusty Klifman of Blueyes Below, provided some photos for the website & the cool drone footage. Check him out for lots more photos & videos of shipwrecks & other maritime subjects.

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