December Sundown

december-sundown

December Sundown, photo by Steven Karsten

Sunset at “Big Red” aka the Holland Harbor Lighthouse taken back in December of 2012.

View Steven’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his slideshow.

Big Red, White Snow & Blue Ice

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!

Holland Harbor’s Big Red Lighthouse and the Red Right Return

Big Red

Big Red, photo by Rick Lanting

Sometimes I see photos of certain places so much that I figure I’ve said all there is to say about them. Such was the case with one of one of Michigan’s most iconic lighthouses. I realized that although I’d seen hundreds of photos, I had no idea how “Big Red” in Holland got its name. Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light tells the story of the Holland Harbor Light from the construction of a timber frame beacon on the south pier in 1870 up until the 1930s when:

The Holland Lights were electrified in 1932. Equipped with a 5,000 candlepower incandescent electric bulb, the Fourth Order lens was now visible for a distance of 15 miles. The old steam-operated ten-inch fog whistle was removed from the fog signal building the following year, and replaced with an air operated whistle powered by an electric motor-driven compressor. In 1936, a square tower was erected at the west end of the fog signal building roof peak, and capped with an octagonal cast iron lantern, the lens from the pierhead beacon moved into the new lantern. The steel pierhead beacon was then removed from the pier and shipped to Calumet, where it was placed at the south end of the breakwater.

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.

Much more including photos at Seeing the Light.

Check this out Big Red big and see more in Rick’s Lighthouses or Hipstamatic slideshows.

Many more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

On the lookout for rain

Big Red

Big Red, photo by [DennisT]

Bloomberg is reporting that the Midwest drought is now affecting nearly 80% of the corn crop, over half of the US and is a factor in heat waves that have set or tied a whopping 6,639 daily high temperature records since June 1. The drought is already affecting southern and west Michigan and parts of the UP and appears likely to expand into northern Michigan as well.

This Detroit News article reports that the percentage of the state affected by severe drought has jumped to 21% from just 2% a week ago. The State Drought Monitor shows the level of drought severity in Michigan, and you can see more with the Midwest region map and the Michigan Interactive Drought Conditions map. This report on Yahoo lists some of the highlights (lowlights?) of Michigan’s 2012 drought:

  • Rainfall shortages since May 1 are up to six inches in some areas. The average rainfall at this time of year is eight to nine inches.
  • Last week, the Michigan State University Extension (of the Department of Geology) reported that across Michigan, particularly in the southwestern part of the state, there was evidence of plant water stress.
  • MSU Extension says that the extreme heat from the first week of July exacerbated crop concerns. Temperatures rose to high 90s and topped 100 degrees in some areas.
  • The Michigan DEQ has issued several ozone alerts already this year. Michigan cities of Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ludington and Benton Harbor have been under air quality alert for 14-15 days since late May. Grand Rapids, Mich., has been under ozone alert for 17 days.
  • MSU Extension says the intense drought across Michigan’s southern, central and eastern Corn Belt region has similar conditions to the great drought of 1988.
  • …and the bad news: Continued dryness in Michigan is predicted for the rest of July, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

Check out this great capture from the other day on black and in Dennis’s thunderstorm slideshow.

More about Holland’s Big Red Lighthouse on Michigan in Pictures.

Fogbow: a White Rainbow over Big Red

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White Rainbow, photo by stevedontsurf.

Today’s photo shows a fogbow. According to the Fogbow entry from Atmospheric Optics:

Fogbows form in the same way as rainbows. A small fraction of the light entering droplets is internally reflected once and emerges to form a large circle opposite the sun.

But… …beyond that there are major differences. Rainbows are formed by raindrops which are so large that rays passing through them follow well defined ‘geometrical optics’ paths. Fogbows are formed by much smaller cloud and fog droplets which diffract light extensively.

…Fogbows are almost white with faint reds on the outside and blues inside. The colours are so washed out because the bow in each colour is very broad and the colours overlap.

Read on for more, including some photos and get a little more at Wikipedia’s page on fog bows.

Steven shot this at the Holland Harbor Lighthouse aka Big Red and writes that he’s still amazed he was able to stumble upon one of these. Check his photo out big as the sky and in his Holland slideshow.

Michigan Red, White & Blue

Big Red and sailboat

Big Red and sailboat, photo by ER Post.

It’s true we have challenges aplenty in Michigan, but how many other places have colors like these?

Happy Independence Day and I hope you all have something to celebrate!

Holland Harbor Lighthouse aka “Big Red” on Lake Michigan.

Here’s a few more 4th of July posts from the Michigan in Pictures archives: