Big Red & Blue Ice

Reflections of a cold sunset, photo by Tony Reidsma

Here’s an incredible shot of Big Red aka the Holland Harbor Lighthouse. In his extensive article on the history of the Holland Harbor Light, Terry Pepper explains how the nickname came to be:

A Coast Guard crew arrived in Holland in 1956, and gave the combined fog signal building and lighthouse a fresh coat of bright red paint in order to conform to its “Red Right Return” standard, which called for all aids to navigation located on the right side of a harbor entrance to be red in coloration. Local residents thus began referring to the fifty year old structure as “Big Red,” a name which has stuck through the years. The Fourth Order lens was subsequently removed from the fog signal lantern in the late 1960’s, and replaced with a 250 mm Tidelands Signal acrylic optic.

With the fading of the Great Lakes passenger fleet, Holland Harbor had ceased to serve any real commercial traffic. With the station now serving only as a beacon to guide pleasure boats in and out of Lake Macatawa, the Coast Guard announced plans to abandon the old fog signal building to eliminate ongoing maintenance costs in 1972. Over the years, “Big Red” had become as much of an iconic symbol of tourist-centered Holland as tulips and windmills, and fearing the loss of their beloved landmark, the citizenry of Holland gathered together and circulated petitions in an attempt to save the historic structure. To this end, the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Commission was formed in 1974 to coordinate preservation and restoration efforts, and continues to manage the structure to this day.

View Tony’s photo big as Big Red on Facebook and see and purchase some of his work at imagesforyourwalls.com.  If you’re in an icy mood, consider attending the opening of his Frozen In Time exhibition at the Holland Arts Council from March 5 – April 18, 2015. The opening reception is March 5th, starting at 6pm.

More winter wallpaper and more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

Frankfort Ice Cave

February 17, 2015

DCIM108GOPROG0639705.

Frankfort Ice Cave, photo by Sarah Hunt (oni_one_)

“Love lingers when the heart remembers to touch the light leaking from the soul.”
~R.M. Drake

Here’s a pretty incredible shot from Sunday in Frankfort Harbor.

Lots more great shots from outdoors in Michigan on Sarah’s Instagram. I’ll post this one and another shot bigger on the michpics Facebook.

In addition to being a pretty great photographer with a penchant for adventure, Sarah is an ambassador for Outdoor Bella, a community of strong women who are building strong relationships and lasting friendships and love to embrace the outdoors. She’s hosting a snowshoe hike meetup at 9:30am on Sunday, March 1st at the Sleeping Bear Point Trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, followed by lunch at Art’s Tavern in Glen Arbor following the hike. Get all the details right here.

Solar Halo over Marquette Lighthouse

Welcome to the Smile High Club, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Today’s photo is one of the most incredible pictures I’ve seen. In addition to the Marquette Harbor Light and the frozen Superior shore, there’s a cornucopia of solar optics that fairly defies imagination.

Atmospheric Optics is a wonderful website, certainly the best I’ve found for describing solar phenomena in a clear and inspiring manner. Here’s a bit of decoding of what’s happening in the skies of Marquette yesterday, but definitely follow the links to explore. There’s so much information and some great photos too!

First, above the lighthouse, there’s a 22º radius halo:

…visible all over the world and throughout the year. Look out for them (eye care!) whenever the sky is wisped or hazed with thin cirrus clouds. These clouds are cold and contain ice crystals in even the hottest climes.

The halo is large. Stretch out the fingers of your hand at arms length. The tips of the thumb and little finger then subtend roughly 20°. Place your thumb over the the sun and the halo will be near the little finger tip.

The halo is always the same diameter regardless of its position in the sky. Sometimes only parts of the complete circle are visible.

There’s also a sundog, known also as parhelia or mock sun. These appear in the 22º halo, even when you can’t see the halo. You can see one at the visible base of the halo on the right:

They are most easily seen when the sun is low. Look about 22° (outstretched hand at arm’s length) to its left and right and at the same height. When the sun is higher they are further away. Each ‘dog’ is red coloured towards the sun and sometimes has greens and blues beyond. Sundogs can be blindingly bright, at other times they are a mere coloured smudge on the sky.

They advise you’ll see one or two a week if you look and if you click over you can learn about how they form & moon dogs.

Finally, we come to the circumzenithal arc (CZA), the upside down rainbow at the top:

…the most beautiful of all the halos. The first sighting is always a surprise, an ethereal rainbow fled from its watery origins and wrapped improbably about the zenith. It is often described as an “upside down rainbow” by first timers. Someone also charmingly likened it to “a grin in the sky”.

Look straight up near to the zenith when the sun if fairly low and especially if sundogs are visible. The centre of the bow always sunwards and red is on the outside.

The CZA is never a complete circle around the zenith, that is the exceptionally rare and only recently photographed Kern arc.

Read on for more, and definitely be sure to check atoptics.co.uk when you see solar & lunar phenonmena you’d like to know more about.

View Shawn’s photo bigger and join thousands of others in following Lake Superior Photo on Facebook … and on the Twitters. You can purchase this photo on the Lake Superior Photo website.

PS: Check out Dominic B. Davis’s photo of the solar halo in the morning too!

Above St. Joseph Pier

January 21, 2015

St Joseph Pier Light from Above

Above the ice encrusted St. Joseph pier, photo by Christopher Kierkus

As previously referenced, the fantastic ice on St. Joseph Pier has become a Michigan winter icon. Christopher took this shot with his drone SPIKE, a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter and a GoPro Hero 3+ Black edition camera. I found it shared on Michpics regular Craig Sterken’s page – he’s the one bending down to get a lens out of the case.

Christopher shares that getting these photos can be more than a little harrowing:

We photogs are a little nuts … especially scary is walking the little “ice path” around the inner light to get to the outer part. One slip up there and you’re in the soup.

View the photo bigger on his Facebook and see more of his work including some more really cool aerials at PhotoDocGVSU on Flickr … or head straight for SPIKE’s pictures!

More aerials on Michigan in Pictures.

Encased

Encased, photo by John Burzynski

While the St. Joseph Lighthouse just made an appearance in my 2014 roundup, sometimes you can’t have too much of a good thing. Speaking of good things, there’s a webcam at the St. Joseph lighthouse that allows you to look in on this incredible scene whenever you want!

View John’s photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Great Lakes Lighthouses slideshow.

PS: Also a shout-out to Michigan in Pictures regular John McCormick whose 2013 pic of the St. Joseph Light has (according to USA Today) “gone viral” as the face of the Polar Vortex!

Lots more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

Frozen in Time, 2014 edition

December 31, 2014

Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time, photo by photofrenzy2000

2014 will never come this way again, so for better or worse, here are some 2014 highlights from Michigan in Pictures…

Cougar CamThe most popular post was Cougar Cam Confirmation, which was published on November 7th. Since I’ve been sounding the “cougars live in Michigan” horn for several years now, it’s gratifying that the DNR is now on board.

Isle Royale Star BreezeWith 77,000 views on Facebook, the cougar cam was the most popular post there too, followed very closely by Space Weather and Starbreeze that benefited from the Lake Superior Photo bump!

Paradise is the nickname of this placeShawn of Lake Superior Photo checked in with the second most popular pic, Paradise is the nickname of this place, a photo that features one of the amazing & out-of-the-way Michigan gems that I learned about in 2014.

Ice Caves Leelanau Peninsula by Ken ScottThe third most popular picture & story was one from close to my home, the astonishing The Ice Caves of Leelanau that drew tens of thousands of people to the Leelanau Peninsula last winter to see them. You can click that link to see Ken’s photos or save yourself the time and head over to his site to purchase his book, The Ice Caves of Leelanau.

Winter at Tahquamenon Falls John McCormickWeighing in at number four was Winter at Tahquamenon Falls by John McCormick aka MichiganNut. While this photo didn’t make his 2015 wall calendar, a dozen other great ones did!

Shadow Moon by Michael SeabrookClosing out the top five was the Blood Moon and the Lunar Eclipse Tetrad by Michael Seabrook. The first two of these four total lunar eclipses are in the books, but April 4 & September 28, 2015 are still to be seen.

Polar Vortex Cabin FeverThe top commented post was Michigan in Pictures is a blog, folks, which I posted after getting a bunch of negative comments after sharing a photo from a group working against the Keystone XL Pipeline coming through Michigan. It made me very happy to get support for protecting the beautiful natural heritage features on Michigan in Pictures from so many readers … and also to share the awesome photo of our cats!

View this photo from December of 2010 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse bigger and jump into photofrenzy2000’s slideshow for more awesome shots!

#TBT: Petoskey Pierhead Light

December 18, 2014

Petoskey Pierhead Lighthouse 1913

Petoskey Lighthouse in 1917, courtesy National Archives & Lighthouse Friends

Last month I featured a cool shot of the Petoskey Pierhead lighthouse that people really liked. Here’s a pic of what that light looked like a hundred years ago. The entry for the Petoskey Pierhead Light at Lighthouse Friends says (in part):

Named after the Ottawa Indian Chief Ignatius Petosega, Petoskey is situated at the southeast corner of Little Traverse Bay. In westerly winds, the lake steamers had difficulty offloading summer visitors at Petoskey, prompting Congress to pass an act on August 17, 1895, authorizing construction of breakwaters to protect the landing pier. One breakwater, connected to shore, was built west of the landing pier, and a second detached breakwater was built to the north.

Work on the breakwaters commenced in 1896, and in 1899, a metal post with a lamp house at its base was placed fourteen feet from the outer end of the western breakwater. Two lantern lights, a red one above a white one, were exhibited from the post starting on July 1, 1899. The beacon light was damaged by the schooner Willia Loutit on July 11, 1900, but repairs, paid for by the schooner’s owners, were soon made.

In 1903, structural steel and cast-iron metalwork were ordered to enclose the pier’s metal post, but the work was evidently not carried out until 1912. The resulting thirty-four-foot-tall lighthouse resembled an inverted funnel and consisted of a pyramidal base, a vertical mid-section, and an ornate lantern room. This funnel-like style of lighthouse was also deployed on piers at five other Lake Michigan cities: Waukegan, Illinois and at Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, and Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

…During a severe storm in December 1924, the lighthouse was washed from the breakwater and destroyed. A newspaper account noted that the “self-lighting lighthouse” had been discontinued for the season on December 8, just six days before it was swept off the breakwater. A temporary light was displayed from an unpainted post until 1930, when a concrete foundation was constructed on the breakwater, and a new light was displayed from a thirty-foot, skeletal, steel tower, painted red.

Read on for more information & photos and head over to lighthousefriends.com for many more Michigan lighthouse features.

…and of course Michigan in Pictures has lots more Michigan lights too!

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