The Jaws of Point Betsie

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The Jaws of Point Betsie, photo by Kristina Lishawa Photography

Sweet shot of Michigan’s most photographed lighthouse, the Point Betsie Light just north of Frankfort. Kristina writes:

Ordinarily, someone trying to take a photo from this angle would be pounded mercilessly into the break wall by crashing waves. Lake Michigan granted me an unusually calm window in which to see Point Betsie from a new perspective.

View the photo bigger, follow Kristina Lishawa Photography on Facebook, and view and purchase prints on her website at kristinalishawa.com.

(ice) Phish

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Phish, photo by Noah Sorenson

View Noah’s photo bigger on his Facebook and follow him at nsorensenphoto on Instagram for more!

More portraits on Michigan in Pictures.

Time for the 2017 Michigan Ice Festival!

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dairyland, photo by Wilkinson Visual

Wilkinson Visual writes that this photo shows David Hixenbaugh scrapping up dairyland on a blustery day out on the lakeshore. Great climbing, very unique features formed by the wind making for an exciting top out!

The annual Michigan Ice Fest runs today through Sunday (Feb 15-19, 2017) in Munising. It’s an annual celebration of the sport of ice climbing that brings together some of the world’s best climbers and experts for climbing exhibitions, seminars, guided climbs, get togethers and much more! Click the link above for all the details.

View the photo bigger on the Wilkinson Visuals Facebook and visit their website for all kinds of photos including this cool Michigan Ice Climbing Gallery.

Here’s climbing video from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by David (@alpine_elevation on Instagram):

Winter at Tahquamenon Falls

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Winter at Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Ali Majdfar

Beautiful shot from Michigan’s largest waterfall, Tahquamenon Falls. Click that link for more – the next photo down is the same angle without ice & snow!

View Ali’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow. (warning – there’s a couple of AMAZING bug closeups in there too!)

Cracking Ice

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Cracking Ice, photo by Jerry James Photography

Jerry writes: As I stood on the Ice waiting for the sun to set ( we was 1 1/2 hours early ) I could here all the ice around me cracking. talk about being paranoid, I wasn’t out to deep but it was still pretty cold and I wasn’t dressed to get wet. but everything ended good though, I stayed dry.

Always a good idea to be careful and know what’s below you when the temperatures rise.

View his photo from Muskegon bigger, see more in his slideshow, and follow Jerry James Photography on Facebook.

Michigan Mink (Mustela vison)

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Hello Mink, photo by Glen Suszko

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has an excellent article on the mink (Mustela vision) that says in part:

Some predators are highly specialized, honed by evolution to efficiently hunt certain prey in distinct habitats and situations. And then there’s the mink (Mustela vison). The sleek, dark- bodied weasel is about as versatile as predators come – taking a wide variety of prey on land and water, day or night. If a mink played baseball, it would be the utility player who could step in at almost every position.

Mink are found throughout North America except in the extreme northernmost reaches of Canada and the arid southwestern U.S. Much larger than the short-tailed and long-tailed weasels (see the March – April 2012 issue of The Wildlife Volunteer), adult males reach 28 inches in length and can weigh up to 3.5 pounds. Females are smaller, but are still big enough to prey on muskrats, rabbits, small woodchucks, chickens, a host of smaller animals, and birds’ eggs.

A mink’s foot has five toes that are slightly webbed and with semi-retractile claws. That combination lets the animals swim well and keep its claws sharp enough to grab fish and other slippery prey.

Mink can dive 15 feet and swim fast enough to catch muskrats underwater as well as in muskrat houses and burrows. They stalk lakeshores, river banks, and wetlands, matching hunting times to prey availability. This past winter, I watched a mink follow a lakeshore, then walk the edge of open water on ice in broad daylight far away from cover. Yet, mink also frequently hunt at night, slinking in and out of thick brush, cattail stands, log jams, or rock piles.

Read on for lots more!

View Glen’s photo from the Sterling Heights Nature Center bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures!

Ice is Nice: Tracking Ice Cover on the Great Lakes

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Shoreline Ice, photo by Mark Swanson

Ice on Michigan’s Great Lakes has become something of a phenomenon in the last few years, attracting photographers and thousands more to see the ephemeral beauty created by wind, water, and freezing temperatures. But ice has other important purposes, as NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory page on Great Lakes Ice Cover explains:

Ice formation on the Great Lakes is a clear signal of winter. Looking back in time, the lakes were formed over several thousands of years as mile-thick layers of glacial ice advanced and retreated, scouring and sculpting the basin. The shape and drainage patterns of the basin were in a constant state of flux resulting from the ebb and flow of glacial meltwater coupled with the rebound of the underlying land as the massive ice sheets retreated.

Heavy ice cover can reduce the amount of evaporation from the Great Lakes in the winter, thus contributing to higher water levels.

In bays and other nearshore areas, ice forms a stable platform for winter recreational activity such as ice fishing. This stable ice also protects wetlands and the shoreline from erosion.

  • 94.7% ice coverage in 1979 is the maximum on record (data began in 1973)
  • 9.5% ice coverage in 2002 is the lowest on record
  • 11.5% ice coverage in 1998, a strong El Niño year
  • The extreme ice cover in 2014 (92.5%) and 2015 (88.8%) were the first consecutive high ice cover years since the late 1970s.

NOAA pegs the current ice cover at 9.9% and you can also watch an animation of the last 60 days of ice formation. You can check out satellite images of the Great Lakes for current ice cover and also this cool animation of Great Lakes ice cover from 1973 – 2016.

Mark took this photo a little over a week ago at Lincoln Township Park near Stevensville. With the warmer weather, there’s probably less. View his photo bigger and see more in his Michigan Winter slideshow.