Jellyfish Stormfront

Old Mission Storm Cloud


Untitled, photo by Tom Parrent

Tom shot this last night on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula.

Some staggering storming here in my hometown. Here’s some pics you might be able to see from my friend Kelly and some from my neighborhood.

View Tom’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more right here.

Passing Pluto

Charons Crossing aka Pluto

Charon’s Crossing, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Anyone remember Hipstamatic? This is a shot of Pluto in Dave Kirby’s cool installation of the planets along the TART trail in Traverse City (created prior to the de-planetization of Pluto). I don’t usually feature my own photos here, but I had to find something to celebrate NASA’s historic 3,000,000,000 mile journey to Pluto:

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

Read on for more and definitely check out the New Horizons Mission at NASA for lots more about our mission to explore Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt at the furthest reaches of our solar system.

More science on Michigan in Pictures.

Coywolves: Coyote & Wolf hybrids in Michigan

Coyote on Ice by Jakphoto

Hunting on Ice, photo by OnceJakPhoto

The Freep has an article about a new animal that is being seen in Michigan titled Michigan’s mysterious, misunderstood coywolves:

…a unique, still relatively unknown and misunderstood hybrid of coyotes known as eastern coyotes or coywolves. They’re mostly coyote, but contain a small percentage of wolf from an unlikely mating of the two species about a century ago. It may sound like an urban legend, but coywolves exist throughout the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, and have been confirmed in northeast Lower Michigan through blood-testing and DNA analysis.

Coywolves tend to be a little larger and heavier than their western coyote counterparts, but still well below the size of even the smallest North American wolves. They look like coyotes, though observers often note wolflike characteristics in their faces and fur.

…Coyote expert Stan Gehrt, a professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University, rejects the term “coywolf.” He doesn’t even like referring to them as hybrids. It leaves the impression that they are a near 50-50 mix of wolf and coyote, and that just isn’t the case, he said.

“They are eastern coyotes,” Gehrt said. “They aren’t really different from other coyotes, other than they have a little bit of genetic difference. I’ve trapped and tracked hundreds of Midwestern coyotes and a pretty good sample of eastern coyotes in Nova Scotia, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.”

But those, including biologists, who encountered coywolves up close in the Lower Peninsula say they had some wolflike features.

Read on for more including a photo of an actual Michigan coywolf. If you think you’ve seen a coywolf, you can report it online through the DNR or by calling the DNR’s Gaylord office at 989-732-3541, ext. 5901.

If you’re interested in learning more, Meet the Coywolf from PBS’s Nature is a cool profile of this animal that you can watch online for free.

Jim caught this photo of a coyote on the ice of Grand Traverse Bay last week. View it bigger on Flickr and jump into his slideshow for more icy goodness.

More Michigan wildlife on Michigan in Pictures.

Frankfort Ice Cave


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.

Blizzard beats boat: The Blizzard of ’78

Capsized and Ice Locked

Blizzard beats boat, photo by John Russell

Oh ice, I can’t stay mad at you, even when you misbehave like this.

Associated Press photographer John Russell shared this photo from January 29, 1978. He writes:

My office 37 years ago: Marty Lagina stands on the frozen pier at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy on January 29, 1978, viewing the capsized training vessel Allegheny, which capsized from ice buildup during the Blizzard of ’78. This image was on assignment for TIME magazine, who had seen my b&w image on the UPI wire and wanted a color image.

Marty and I were lucky – the sky cleared and the wind stopped for about 20 minutes, then the storm began again. I wondered at the time who TIME knew to make that happen….

The photo was taken in Traverse City, ground zero for the blizzard Seeking Michigan shared info about one of Michigan’s most significant winter storms:

On January 26-27, 1978, snowstorms with fifty-to-seventy-mile per hour winds pummeled much of Michigan. Snowfall totals ranged from eighteen inches in Lansing to an incredible fifty-one inches in Traverse City. More than 100,000 cars were abandoned on roads and highways, and travel was impossible for days. Governor William G. Milliken declared a state of emergency on January 26 and activated the National Guard to assist with the cleanup. The governor also requested financial assistance from the federal government and estimated damage totals to be more than $25 million, not including lost productivity from workers who were unable to get to their jobs.

Click through to view his photo bigger and friend John on Facebook – his “My Office” series is a great look at what’s happening all over Michigan.

PS: Sorry for all the pics from Leelanau/Traverse City lately. Sometimes it just works out that way…

#TBT Ice Wine Season

Ice Wine Season

Ice Wine Season, photo by Andrew McFarlane

This morning as I was working on a Facebook post announcing the release of Black Star Farms’ 2013 A Capella Ice Wine, I stumbled upon a cool synchronicity that brought together several of my personal and professional pursuits into such a neat package that I had to share it!

It turns out that exactly one year ago today, I spent a very cold day on the Old Mission Peninsula shooting a photo feature for eatdrinkTC of the ice wine harvest & pressing at Black Star Farms. Ice wine, eiswein in the original German, is a rare dessert wine that requires care and skill to produce and…

While December 11, 2013 was by no means the coldest December 11th on record (that would be 1977 at -11), it was a bone-chilling day with temps hovering around 11 degrees with a wind chill that never got above zero after 9:30 AM.

In short, as Black Star Farms winemaker Vladimir Banov explained, the perfect day for the ice wine harvest.

Ice wine is not made every year, and not by every winery. U.S. law for ice wines specifies that the grapes must be naturally frozen to be sold as ice wine.

To begin, a winery will leave a portion of the harvest to hang. Even under the bird netting, it’s a gamble against mercurial weather and clever creatures. Many years, it will leave the winery with nothing.

In some years however, such as this one, patience is rewarded.

Click through for a photographic look at the ice wine process along with some videos. If you’re interested, here’s information about A Capella Ice Wine.

You can view my photo background big and see more in my Ice Wine at Black Star Farms slideshow.

More wine and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

The City of Riesling is being built in Michigan

Old Mission Peninsula

Old Mission Peninsula, photo by Trent Strohm

“You have fantastic Michigan wines, but Riesling is hitting the target every year.”
~ wine writer Stuart Pigott

With the TC Film Fest yesterday and today’s post, it appears that it’s “me time” on Michigan in Pictures. City of Riesling is a brand new wine event I am working on. It takes place July 26-28 in Traverse City and is focusing the attention of the international wine community on Michigan Rieslings.

The guest of honor for a weekend of celebration of “Planet Riesling” is none other than Stuart Pigott, likely the world’s leading authority on Riesling wine and one of the most entertaining people in the wine biz. He’s a British born wine writer who has lived in the heart of Riesling culture in Germany and dedicated years to changing people’s opinion about Riesling. When I interviewed Stuart he told me, “Riesling’s range goes from bone dry to honey sweet, from feather light to tongue heavy and every single gradation and combination of those things. No other grape variety can do that.”

One of the great things about Riesling is that it does very well in Michigan, which is considered one of the rising new Riesling regions. We have more Riesling in the ground than any other varietal, and plantings are on the rise. In today’s TC Record-Eagle, my friend Bryan Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley called out one factor that I believe is making Michigan Rieslings stand out, what wine aficionados call terroir, the climate & character of the place a wine is grown. “It’s really a transparent grape. It reflects where it was grown more than any other grape variety. You can’t hide the vineyard in this one.”

It’s really the same thing that makes our fruit some of the best in the world – Michigan is a beautiful place to grow things.

Anyway, if you’re interested in attending, there’s a giveaway you can enter until 5 PM today that gives you 2 tickets to the Riesling Oyster Riot on Sunday afternoon, 2 tix for the Night of 100 Rieslings on Sunday and 2 tickets to any one of three sessions at the Salon Riesling symposium on Monday. Details right here!

Trent writes: “We spent the day driving the Old Mission Peninsula … sandy beaches, historical lighthouse and fresh fruit stands … the ‘spine’ of the peninsula is dotted with vineyards that thrive in the temperate climate created by the surrounding lakes … reminded us of the Rhine Valley … beautiful”

View his photo background bigtacular and see more in his Michigan USA slideshow.