Six Degrees from the White Shoal Lighthouse

White Shoal Lighthouse Aerial, photo by US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

A reader shared a link to this photo with me, and this weekend I met a woman whose husband is a mechanic for the helicopter that took this photo. I thought that was pretty cool, but I also was putting groceries in my car at the local Meijer and a van pulled in a couple of slots down with a “White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society” logo on it! I talked for a bit with Brent who’s heading up the group, and I expect to have updates and photos as they get going with their renovation!

I also noticed that the photo from back in 2009 I had of this light has been removed by the photographer, so here’s the skinny on one of Michigan’s most recognizablelight houses.  White Shoals are located 20 miles east of Mackinac Point and just northwest of Waugoshance Island. So shallow that they break the surface in places, they long presented a hazard to navigation for ships entering the Straits of Mackinac. On his White Shoal Lighthouse page, Terry Pepper relates that beginning in October of 1891, the Lightship LV56 anchored at White Shoal during the shipping season for 19 years. Finally in 1907 funds were appropriated for a permanent lighthouse:

Spring of 1908 saw work begin on the White Shoal light on two separate fronts. While a crew at the site leveled a one hundred and two-foot square area on the shoal through the addition and careful placement of loads of stone, a second crew worked on building a timber crib on shore at St. Ignace. Seventy-two feet square and eighteen and a half feet high, the huge crib contained 400,000 square feet of lumber, and on completion was slowly towed out to the shoal and centered over the leveled lake bottom. Once in location, the crib was filled with 4,000 tons of stone until it sank to a point at which its uppermost surface was level and two feet below the water’s surface.

On top of this crib, a seventy-foot square stone block base was constructed to a total height of four feet, with the remainder of the pier being of poured concrete atop the block base. With the base complete, an acetylene-powered lens lantern was installed atop a temporary steel skeletal tower on December 5th, and with the onset of winter storms, work at the shoal ended for the season.

Seeing the Light has much more about the construction and history of White Shoal Light including shots of the tower and crib under construction and information about lighthouse tours offered by Shepler’s Ferry, on which you can see White Shoal, Waugoshance and Gray’s Reef Lights.

Wikipedia’s entry for the White Shoal Light notes that White Shoal is the only aluminum-topped lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the only ‘barber pole’ lighthouse in the United States and is the lighthouse featured on Michigan’s Save Our Lights license plate. There’s also a link to really cool Google Map of lighthouses in northern Lake Michigan. There’s a few more pics of White Shoal at boatnerd.

View the photo bigger and follow the US Coast Guard Traverse City on Facebook for lots more cool photos from their missions!

More aerial photos & more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

The Eyes of the Earth

aerial-shot-sandy-hansen-photography

aerial shot, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is the earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

One of Thoreau’s most beautiful thoughts in my mind, and we are certainly blessed in Michigan to have the eyes of the earth upon us here as they are in few other places.

Sandy says that at the top of the photo are West & East Grand Traverse Bay and then Elk Lake and Lake Skegemog. You can get your bearings and have a little fun exploring the lakes from above in this 3d view from Google Earth.

View her photo bigger and see more including more from this February flight in her Traverse City Area slideshow.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT: Frozen Straits

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Mark Miller

OK, we’re not throwing back too far for this Thursday, but I wanted to share a really cool view that Mark took this February of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac locked in the grip of the Polar Vortex.

View his photo bigger and see more great views of Michigan from above in his Aerials slideshow. You can also see one of his aerial photos of the Straits from last August on Michigan in Pictures.

There’s more aerials and more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

Great Lakes approaching record ice cover

Leland & Lake Michigan by Elijah Allen

Drone over Leelanau (at Leland), photo by Elijah Allen

Mark Torregrossa writes at mLive that the Great Lakes are nearly 90% ice-covered:

The total ice cover on the Great Lakes continued to increase in the past seven days. At the rate the ice is growing, ice cover would reach record levels sometime next week.

We also had a mostly clear day Tuesday February 11, 2014. The high resolution satellite was able to generate some fascinating images.

The total ice cover on the entire Great Lakes system is reported at 87.3 percent today, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory(GLERL). The ice cover is up from 77 percent covered seven days ago.

The highest recorded total ice cover on the Great Lakes is 94.7 percent back on February 19, 1979. It should be emphasized that the most modern data set only goes back to 1973.

So the entire Great Lakes system has gone from 77 percent ice covered last week to 87 percent ice covered today. At that rate of increase, the Great Lakes would set a new modern day record for ice cover sometime next week.

Click through to mLive for a Lake by Lake report on ice cover and some sweet satellite shots.

My friend Elijah has been having entirely too much fun in and above the snow this winter. Lately he’s been flying a drone above the Leelanau Peninsula to see what he can see. View his photo bigger and (if you can) see more in his Drone over Leelanau Facebook gallery.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures!

Charlevoix, the Beautiful

Charlevoix the Beautiful

Charlevoix the Beautiful, photo by GLASman1

Wikipedia entry for Charlevoix (pronounced shar-le-voy) says:

The city is situated between Lake Michigan and the western end of Lake Charlevoix, which drains into Lake Michigan through the short Round Lake/Pine River complex in the heart of downtown Charlevoix. Charlevoix’s Round Lake has been called the best natural harbor on Lake Michigan.

Charlevoix is named after Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, a French explorer who travelled the Great Lakes and was said to have stayed the night on Fisherman’s Island one night during a harsh storm. It was during this time that Native Americans were thought to have lived in the Pine River valley.

The City of Charlevoix website adds that Charlevoix first became a village in 1871 and was later established as a city in 1905. The city has a year round population of roughly 3,000 people. FYI, Round Lake is the little lake right off Lake Michigan whick opens into the much larger Lake Charlevoix – here’s a map of Charlevoix!

View Mark’s gorgeous aerial photo bigger and see more in his Aerials slideshow.

There’s more aerial photography and more about Charlevoix on Michigan in Pictures!

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet

Big Sable Point from 2,000 feet, photo by Innerspacealien

The Detroit Free Press recently had a fun article by Ziati Meyer titled Michigan Lighthouse Trivia that related:

LIGHT AFTER DARKNESS: The deaths of 48 people in one year prompted the building of the Big Sable Point Lighthouse. The stretch of water between Big Sable Point and Ludington saw 12 shipwrecks in 1855, so Congress was asked to send money to help. The result — after a Civil War delay — was a $35,000 lighthouse to help ships navigate that area of Lake Michigan

Read on for more fun facts and definitely check out Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light and our Michigan in Pictures archive for more info and photos of this iconic light north of Ludington.

Check this out background bigtacular and see some more aerial views of the area in Craig’s slideshow.

More great aerial photos on Michigan in Pictures.