Michigan March Meltdown

Ice Melting by Mark Swanson

Ice Melting by Mark Swanson

While it’s cooler today, yesterday was something to enjoy across the southern half of the state unbelievably balmy temps recorded in places like Kalamazoo (72), Detroit (73), Flint (70) and 72 in St. Joseph where Mark got this sweet shot at Grand Mere Beach a couple weeks ago. Guessing it’s all gone by now!

See more in Mark’s 2022 gallery on Flickr & enjoy your weekend everyone!

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Pebble with a view

Pebble on the beach by Mark Swanson

Pebble on the beach by Mark Swanson

I don’t know the technical term for the process that creates these pebbles on pedestals on sandy beaches in the winter, but I do know I love it!

Mark took this photo last week on Silver Beach in St. Joseph. See more in his 2022 gallery on Flickr.

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Sunset, Solstice & the St. Joseph Lighthouse

Winter Solstice by Scott Glenn

Happy Solstice everyone!

Scott took this photo just after sunset on the winter solstice in 2016 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse​!

See the photo bigger and see many more in Scott’s Lighthouses gallery on Flickr!

Also check out more winter solstice & St Joseph Lighthouse pics on Michigan in Pictures!

Blue Hour at the St Joseph Pier

Blue Hour at the St Joseph Pier

Untitled, photo by Spencer D Hughes

If you want to take a look at the Pier from the beach, check out the St Joseph webcam. Have a great weekend everyone!!

View Spencer’s photo bigger and see more of his awesome St Joseph photos. Some seriously cool ice shots in there.

PS: Here’s a link to more information and a photo of the St. Joseph North Pier Outer & Inner Lights from almost exactly a year ago – lots more ice.

PPS: I’d love it if you’d become a patron of Michigan in Pictures. Thanks to all who have so far – I really appreciate it!

Michigan Photo Calendars

St Joseph Lighthouse by Michigan Nut

St. Joseph Lighthouse, photo by John McCormick

Time to get your 2016 Calendars! In addition to being a great way to share a daily dose of Michigan with the people on your gift list, most photographers ship them directly for you making gift-giving easier. If you are a Michigan photographer who has a calendar for sale or know of one who does, please post link to any you know of in the comments below or on this post at the Michigan in Pictures Facebook!

The photo above is for January 2016 from one of my favorites is one that a reader recently asked about: The Michigan Wild & Scenic Wall Calendar by John McCormick of Michigan Nut Photography.  You can see them all and purchase the calendar at Michigan Nut Photography. Be sure to follow Michigan Nut on Facebook too!

More about the St. Joseph Pier light on Michigan in Pictures.

Above St. Joseph Pier

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 … and Encammed at St. Joseph Lighthouse


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.

Michigan Aviation Pioneer Augustus Herring: First in Flight?


Augustus Moore Herring, (1867 — 1926) with his early glider (1894), via Wikimedia Commons

110 years ago on December 17, 1903, Orville & Wilbur Wright made aviation history with four flights of the Wright Flyer.

Seeking Michigan has a feature by Roger Rosentreter from Michigan History Magazine titled First in Flight? It tells the story of Augustus Herring, who followed his dream in St. Joseph and became one of this country’s aviation pioneers perhaps even pre-dating the Wright Brothers in powered flight:

Herring worked with other aviation pioneers, especially in experimenting with gliders. Finally, he put a gasoline-powered engine on a two-winged glider that had a wingspan of nineteen feet. The 2.5-horsepower engine (smaller than most of today’s lawnmower engines) gave the “pilot” power for about fifteen seconds In October 1898, Herring “flew” this contraption on the Lake Michigan beach at St. Joseph, Michigan. On a second flight, according to one eyewitness, the airplane stayed in the air for ten seconds and went seventy-three feet.

Herring had problems. His airplane was difficult to control, and he needed a lighter-weight engine to keep the plane flying longer, but none existed. Finally, the photographer who had been on the beach that day failed to capture Herring’s plane in the air. There was no visual proof that he had flown.

…Historians have mixed reviews for Herring. One labeled his work as “insignificant,” while another said, “one cannot deny that Herring flew or was very close to having flown.” As for Augustus Herring, he never claimed to be the first to fly. He knew his engine-powered glider was not a practical airplane. But he argued that his work proved that powered flight was “solvable.” That claim is undisputed.

You can read on and also learn more about Herring via Wikipedia and get the above pic background bigtacular right here.

lighthouse snowman

lighthouse snowman

lighthouse snowman, photo by kiwirat

Frosty’s got nothing on the St. Joseph Lighthouse.

View Dave’s photo bigger or in his St. Joseph, MI slideshow.

Great Lakes Waves offer beauty, power & danger


Untitled, photo by Scott Glenn

“These are not lakes, these are the world’s eighth seas, and her bottom is littered with the wreckage of over six thousand ships.”
~The Three Sisters, Song of the Lakes

This gorgeous shot of the St. Joseph Pier Lighthouses demonstrates the incredible power of Great Lakes waves. I live in Traverse City, and this summer it feels like Lake Michigan has claimed the lives of more people than normal. Whether or not that’s true (it’s not), I thought this photo offered the perfect opportunity to share some tips and tools for staying safe on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Erie!

  • Thinking of any of the Great Lakes as anything like any lake you’re familiar with is a mistake. They are freshwater seas that can pack  incredible power. They are stronger than you and can end your life in an instant if you don’t respect them.
  • The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project is a nonprofit dedicated to drowning prevention that keeps track of drowning statistics: 74 in 2010, 87 in 2011, 101 in 2012 and 39 so far in 2013. (you can also keep up with them on Facebook)
  • Life jackets can save your life.  U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that 90% of the people who drown in a boating or water accidents would survive with a life jacket.
  • Cold kills! Hypothermia is a danger all year round on the Great Lakes. Click that link for tips on how to stay alive if you do end up in the water.
  • Rip Currents (sometimes called “undertow” or “rip tide”) are a big danger on Michigan beaches accounting for the majority of drownings. Michigan is 4th in rip current related fatalities behind Florida, California, and North Carolina – we have “ocean force” rip currents. Learn how to beat them in this video.
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers comprehensive Great Lakes marine forecasts.
  • The MyBeachCast smarthphone app can predict waves and warn you of hazardous conditions.
  • Do you have more tips? Share them in the comments!

Check it out bigger and see more in Scott’s Lighthouses slideshow and also check out a winter view of the pier that Scott shot.

Catch a Michigan wave on Michigan in Pictures!