Perseid Explosion at Day Farm

Definitely watch Ken’s Perseid video at the end!

D H Day Farm ... perseid meteor shower

D H Day Farm … perseid meteor shower, photo by Ken Scott

I’ve shared this before, but has an interesting story about how the upcoming Perseid Meteor shower (peak August 11-13) came to be known as “The Tears of St. Lawrence” and also some of the science behind this annual August sky show:

Laurentius, a Christian deacon, is said to have been martyred by the Romans in 258 AD on an iron outdoor stove. It was in the midst of this torture that Laurentius cried out: “I am already roasted on one side and, if thou wouldst have me well cooked, it is time to turn me on the other.”

The saint’s death was commemorated on his feast day, Aug. 10. King Phillip II of Spain built his monastery place the “Escorial,” on the plan of the holy gridiron. And the abundance of shooting stars seen annually between approximately Aug. 8 and 14 have come to be known as St. Lawrence’s “fiery tears.”

…We know today that these meteors are actually the dross of the Swift-Tuttle comet. Discovered back in 1862, this comet takes approximately 130 years to circle the Sun. With each pass, it leaves fresh debris — mostly the size of sand grains with a few peas and marbles tossed in.

Every year during mid-August, when the Earth passes close to the orbit of Swift-Tuttle, the bits and pieces ram into our atmosphere at approximately 37 miles per second (60 kps) and create bright streaks of light.

Read on for more including diagrams and viewing tips.

Ken Scott captured these Perseid meteors last August over a 2 1/2 hour period at the D.H. Day Farm in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He says that the barn is lit by rogue lightning and that this is a composite of many meteor images, where each photo is rotated around the north star so that the ‘point of origin’ of the shower can be seen better. He understands it visually but not scientifically – anyone have a simple explanation for him?

View his photo bigger, see more in his Skies Above slideshow, and view and purchase his work at

This barn is ready for the 4th of July

Ready for the 4th of July

Ready for the 4th of July, photo by Ann Fisher

This barn in Chatham (Alger County) is definitely ready for Independence Day – here’s hoping you are too!

View Ann’s photo background bigtacular and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

Red barn with Lilacs

Red barn with Lilacs

Red barn with Lilacs, photo by Ann Fisher

While lilacs are fading in much of the state, they’re just getting going in the Upper Peninsula!

View Ann’s photo background big and see more in her 2016 UP slideshow.

More barns on Michigan in Pictures.

Emergency Ark: The Celestial Ship of the North

Emergency Ark

Emergency Ark, photo by Michael

The Celestial Ship of the North (Emergency Ark), aka the Barnboat, is a site-specific installation and permanent sculpture in Port Austin, Michigan created by Scott Hocking. He wrote to me:

I was asked by Detroiter Jim Boyle, whose family is still in Port Austin, if I’d ever had any ideas of working with old barns. He’s been trying to get a Detroit / Port Austin connection going by bringing artists up there to do projects. I basically told him I’d had some fleeting thoughts about how much certain barns look like overturned ship hulls, and that if I had an old barn to work with, I’d probably turn it into a boat.

So, that was the beginning.

Like all of my work, I try to let the materials and site dictate what I make, and as I worked on the barnboat the shape became what it is now – mostly influenced by the intense winds of Michigan’s thumb. It took about 3 months total, but I’m not quite done yet: I’m still planning to fill in the base with mounded sand this spring for a little extra stability, and so that it can once again overgrow like that ivy covered barn it was made from.

Awesome. Check out lots more of Scott’s engaging work on his website.

Enjoy Michael’s photo background bigtacular on Flickr and see more in his slideshow.

More art and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Hygienic Dress League Corporation

Hygenic Dress League

Hygienic Dress League, photo by Jeff Caverly

You can follow the Detroit-based Hygienic Dress League on Instagram for more interesting public art and see a video about their artwork on Vimeo.

View Jeff’s photo from Huron County background big, see more in his slideshow, and also visit his photography website.

More art and more barns on Michigan in Pictures.

A Rainbow Primer


Incomplete, photo by Jamie MacDonald

I’ve never found a better website for information about rainbows and other optical phenomena than Atmospheric Optics. They have information about all flavors of rainbows including the primary rainbow, and explain that rainbows are disks of light rather than sets of coloured rings:

Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to see them because the sun must not be too high. Rainbows are always opposite the sun and their centres are below the horizon at the the antisolar point. The lower the sun the higher is the bow.

Red is always outermost in the primary bow with orange, yellow, green and blue within. Occasionally, when the raindrops are small, fainter supernumerary arcs of electric greens, pinks and purples lie just inside the main bow.

A rainbow is not just a set of coloured rings. The sky inside is bright because raindrops direct light there too. The primary bow is a shining disk brightening very strongly towards its rim.

About this particular rainbow, Jamie writes:

This is the first time I have ever seen part of a rainbow in open skies. Look to the sky above the barn and you can just make out the missing portion of the rainbow.

View his photo bigger and see more in his Landscapes slideshow.

More rainbows on Michigan in Pictures!

Field of Dreams: Winter Fantasy Edition

TWaggoner_Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams, photo by Terry Waggoner

As winter closes in I can’t help but remember warmer times…

View Terry’s photo background big and jump into his slideshow for more!

More barns on Michigan in Pictures.