Definitions of Danger

Surfing the Storm

California Dreamin’, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

Heather of Snap Happy Gal Photography was one of many photographers who made the trek to Grand Haven for a weekend storm that was supposed to produce massive waves. While Heather says she didn’t see anything quite as big as the the 20-footers forecast, the lake was still putting on a rocking show!

Often when I post a photo like this, I get some blowback from a reader or two who thinks that pictures like this aren’t OK because someone might somehow get hurt. Heather’s thoughts mirror my own on this:

So this guy – with his superior swimming ability, experience and thick wetsuit (with gloves, booties, and full hood + helmet) is crazy. Who would ever put their life in such danger?

Oh – all of us. All the time. Like when I drove in a metal box at 75mph on my way to take photos of this guy.

View this bigger and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal on Facebook for more!

More Michigan surfing shots on Michigan in Pictures!

A Force of Nature

A force of nature

A Force of Nature, photo by Dale DeVries

Dale took this photo of the Grand Haven Lighthouse yesterday and writes:

. . . Rita, . . . Sandy . . . Lake Michigan! Like the Weather Channel commercial, this lake which is only 60-80 miles across makes some of the best Gales of November! Grand Haven was busier than a summer’s day today, kind of disappointed I could not get a Pronto Pup or a Dairy Treat!

View his photo background bigilicious and see more in his The Best of West Lake slideshow.

PS: Heres’ the strongest storm on the Great Lakes – October 2010. (also at Grand Haven Light)



#TBT Big Waves on Lake Michigan Edition

And they call this a lake

And they call this a Lake, photo by RJE

The Detroit Free Press reports that massive waves of up to 20 feet in height are forecast for Lake Michigan:

An intense low pressure system is still projected to slam into the western Great Lakes on Wednesday night.

The main hazard with this storm will be incredibly strong winds in excess to 45 m.p.h. at times. This will cause numerous issues, including downed trees and the potential for power outages.

In addition to impacts on land, Lake Michigan will also suffer the wrath of this strong fall storm, where waves could reach as high as 20 feet offshore. A gale watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids for the Lakeshore and will be in effect from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon.

NOAA’s Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System has a ton of resources for visualizing live data and forecasts for all of the Great Lakes. Be sure to check out the animation of forecasted wave heights on Lake Michigan – pretty cool to watch. In case you’re wondering, the tallest (recorded) wave on Lake Michigan is 23′ from September of 2011. Of course the bouys shut down for the winter in December, and they only started measuring in 1988.

Also check out the Grand Haven Surfcam for a live look! 

RJE caught this massive wave breaking against the Ludington lighthouse back in November of 2011. View the photo of  big as Lake Michigan and see more of his great photos of Ludington on Flickr!

More Michigan lighthouses, more waves and more about the Ludington North Breakwater Light can all be found on Michigan in Pictures.

The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena

The Colors of Omena, photo by Elijah Allen

Here’s a shot by a friend taken just north of me showing the incredible fall color that’s still out there along the Lake Michigan coast. It was taken from off Omena Point at the northern part of the Leelanau Peninsula, so how about a little Omena history courtesy the Omena Historical Society?

The Omena settlement had its beginnings when Aghosa Indians started arriving in 1850. In 1852, the Reverend Peter Dougherty and a band of Ottawas and Chippewas led by Chief Ahgosa moved from the present-day Old Mission Peninsula to a beautiful little bay on the Leelanau Peninsula’s eastern side. Chief Shabwasung and his Ottawa band were already encamped on the point to the north of the bay, on land Chief Ahgosa and his families from Old Mission had purchased. Ahgosa settled a little to the north, and his village became Ahgosatown. Both bands became part of the New Mission, soon to be called Omena.

Young George A. Craker came with Dougherty and taught farming to students in the mission school, and he and his descendants became active workers in Dougherty’s Grove Hill New Mission Church. Now called the Omena Presbyterian Church, it was dedicated in 1858 and has stood as the oldest Protestant Church in Leelanau County and one of the oldest historical landmarks in Northern Michigan. The Ahgosa family was also very active and some are now buried in the mission cemetery.

Click through to read more and for some historical photos of Omena.

View Elijah’s photo bigger on Facebook and scroll though when you get there for more!

More aerial photos, more history and more Leelanau on Michigan in Pictures.

Otter Creek Aurora

Otter Creek Aurora

Otter Creek Aurora, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

This is one shot from an incredible video that Heather made of the northern lights as seen from Esch Road Beach in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. That’s Otter Creek in the foreground.

Click to view bigger, follow Snap Happy Gal on Facebook, and definitely watch that video – meteors!!

Lots more northern lights on Michigan in Pictures.

This salmon is going up. The salmon population in Lake Michigan is headed the other way!

EDITOR’S NOTE: It looked for a minute that we had another Turtlegate brewing and that this might not be a Chinook but a brown trout. Read more in the comments on Facebook.

Salmon up and over the dam

Up & Over……….., photo by Julie

The Detroit Free Press reports that the salmon population is plummeting in Lake Michigan. The article begins:

They are the king of the Great Lakes sport fish, luring thousands of anglers to Michigan waters every year for a chance to try to land them — and helping fuel a multibillion-dollar fishing and boating tourism industry.

But the Chinook salmon’s numbers are plummeting in Lake Michigan due to a combination of natural forces, unnatural invasive species, and the state Department of Natural Resources’ own efforts to dial back the population and prevent a more permanent population crash as happened in Lake Huron about a decade ago.

The salmon population on Lake Michigan is down 75% from its 2012 peak, said Randy Claramunt, a DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist based in Charlevoix.

A leading cause is a reduction in alewives, a silvery fish up to 10 inches long that is the salmon’s primary prey on the Great Lakes. The alewife population has been decimated by invasive zebra and quagga mussels that have changed the nutrient dynamics of the lakes.

Read on for more at the Freep.

View Julie’s photo of a salmon jumping up into the weir at Charlevoix bigger and see more in her Wildlife slideshow.

More about Chinook salmon and more fish on Michigan in Pictures.

Artprize 2015 and the Sands of Time

Sands of Time

The Sands of Time, photo by Tony Reidsma

Tony Reidsma is one of the photographers I’ve featured on Michigan in Pictures who has an ArtPrize exhibit this year. His entry at ArtPrize says:

This exhibit focuses on the ever-changing shape of the shores of Lake Michigan. The lakeshore is currently experiencing erosion similar to that of the mid-1980’s and late-1990’s. At that time those dwelling on the lakeshore hastened to build the seawalls and jetties which would fortify their properties and homes from the obliterating effect of the waves pushing out of the rising water. Eventually, as the water receded, the sand returned to build up the shoreline and bury the wooden structures that were erected there.

Now, as Lake Michigan moves through its rhythms once again, the water is advancing and the sands retreating, exposing the old, decaying seawalls. I have created a photo-journal of this changing shoreline scenery, featuring the old seawalls and jetties as aged reminders of the cycles which are characteristic to our natural world.

You can watch an interview with Tony at WOOD-TV, learn more at the ArtPrize page on his website and check the exhibit out in person at Crossroads Bible Church (800 Scribner NW).