Thanks for the wilderness, Congressman Dale Kildee!

Sturgeon River Gorge I by David Mayer

Sturgeon River Gorge I by David Mayer

This week longtime Congressman Dale Kildee passed away. Kildee, uncle of current Flint Representative Dan Kildee, represented Flint for over 30 years earning the nickname “the Cal Ripken of Congress.” He was involved in many efforts including some vital early childhood bills and (of course) auto industry support, but one interesting thing that I learned from writer David Dempsey is that Dale was the sponsor of the 1987 Michigan Wilderness Act which created 10 State Wilderness Areas protecting nearly 100,000 acres of old growth forest, dunes, lakes, and rivers including Sturgeon River Gorge.

Thank you Dale for your work on the behalf of Michigan’s wild places! Click for a map of all 18 of Michigan’s Wilderness Areas.

David took this back in October of 2012 in the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness. See more in his Porcupine Mountains gallery on Flickr.

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Autumn’s Rainbow at Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls on the Black River by Michigan Nut Photography

Rainbow Falls on the Black River by Michigan Nut Photography

Rainbow Falls is the last of five waterfalls on the Black River in the Upper Peninsula. You can read all about Rainbow Falls & the Black River (and see another shot of these falls by John) on Michigan in Pictures.

As you can see, the Yoop is looking pretty beautiful right now!! See more on the Michigan Nut Facebook & view and purchase prints at Michigan Nut Photography!

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Driving into fall on M-22

Tunnel of Trees by Mark Smith

Tunnel of Trees by Mark Smith

Here’s a great shot from Mark showing the current state of color on M-22 on the Leelanau Peninsula. You can check out a current map of Michigan fall color along with some photos on mLive.

This weekend will be amazing for fall color so get yourself up or outside this weekend!

Head over to downstreamer on Flickr for the latest from Mark.

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Make your heart as a lake

Make your heart as a lake by Fire Fighter's Wife

Make your heart as a lake by Fire Fighter’s Wife

“Make your heart like a lake with a calm, still surface and great depths of kindness.”
-Lao Tzu

Beth took this shot at beautiful little Lake Antoine near Iron Mountain. See more in her 100x 2021 gallery on Flickr!

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Faerie Lights: Bioluminescent Oyster Mushrooms

Bioluminscent Oyster Mushrooms by Jeff Baurs

Bioluminescent Oyster Mushrooms by Jeff Baurs

It’s not every day that I learn something new about Michigan, but the fact that Michigan has mushrooms that produce their own illumination is a new one to me!! PlantSnap explains that Bitter Oyster Mushrooms (Panellus stipticus) are one of over 80 species of bioluminescent mushrooms:

The mushrooms use a class of molecules called luciferins, which paired with an enzyme and oxygen, release light. Panellus stipticus (also known as the bitter oyster) is one of the brightest-glowing examples of bioluminescent fungi. It is found throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. These flat mushrooms grow on tree branches creating a mesmerizing effect as soon as the sun goes down. Foragers are able to find this variety growing around birch, oak, and beech trees.

The luciferins found in bioluminescent mushrooms are the same compound found in fireflies and underwater creatures.

They recommend that the best way to find them is by identifying them in the daytime, and you can head over to It’s Nature for a look at the bitter oyster mushroom.

Jeff took this photo a couple nights ago in southwest Michigan (Barry County). You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more great pics!

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October 8, 1871: The Demon in the Gale

Tinder by Kevin Ryan

Tinder by Kevin Ryan

A sky of flame, of smoke a heavenful, the earth a mass of burning coals, the mighty trees, all works of man between and living things trembling as a child before a demon in the gale. To those who have seen, the picture needs no painting.”
-a history of Sanilac County

The Chicago Fire of 1871 which started on October 8th gets (justifiably) a great deal of attention, but something that is not as well known is the fact that it was only one of a number of major fires across the Midwest that burned millions of acres in October of 1871 and caused over 1200 deaths. Michigan was dealt grievous blows from “The Fiery Fiend” as fires swept across the state, wiping out or endangering entire cities, towns and villages including Holland, Manistee, Grand Rapids, South Haven and Port Huron doing millions of dollars worth of property damage and killing hundreds.

It’s probably impossible for us to fathom what the threat of fire was like in those days. This brief excerpt from a terrifying account account of the burning of Manistee might give a glimmer:

…A bright light came up out of the south, directly in rear of the town, and the fierce gale bearing it on directly toward the doomed city. Those who resided in that part of town, including the writer, rushed to the new scene of danger, the full extent of which few comprehended. The fire had originated two miles south of the city, on the lake shore. It first came upon the farm of L.G. Smith, Esq., which it devoured. Eighty rods north the extensive farm and dairy of E.W. Secor shared the same fate, with all his barns and forage. Another quarter of a mile, and the large farm buildings of Mayor R.G. Peters were quickly annihilated. Here the column of fire divided, the left hand branch keeping to the lake shore hills, and coming in at the mouth; the other taking a northeasterly course and coming in directly south of the town, as before described. Here a small band of determined men, fighting with the energy of despair to protect their homes, kept it at bay till past midnight. But all was vain – at 12:30 o’clock the gale became a tornado, hurling great clouds of sparks cinders, burning bark and rotten wood through the air in A Terrific, Fiery Storm.

Every man now fled to his own house. The fire now came roaring through the dead hemlocks south of the blocks included between Maple and Oak Streets, in the Second Ward. The flames leaped to the summits of the great hemlocks, seventy, eighty or ninety feet high, and threw out great flags of fire against the lurid heavens. The scene was grand and terrible beyond description. To us, whose homes and dear ones and all were in the track of the fire, it was heart-rending.

Read more of these amazing journal style entries from the history of Manistee County. The cause of these fires has been given as a hot dry summer, too many leavings from timbering operations and of course Mrs. O’Leary’s firebug of a cow. There is an interesting theory, however, that the root cause was the earth passing through the tail of a comet. You can read all about it at The Comet and the Chicago Fire where it’s noted that even a steamship passing the Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan noted that they too were on fire.

Kevin took this back in 2009 at a firefighter training in Grand Haven. See more in his Other gallery on Flickr.

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Riverbank Reflection

Riverbank Reflection by Jeff Dehmel

Riverbank Reflection by Jeff Dehmel

Sweet shot by Jeff from last October. See more in his Fall 2020 gallery on Flickr.

More fall color on Michigan in Pictures!

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Cool Foggy Morning

Cool Foggy Morning by T P Mann

Cool Foggy Morning by T P Mann

I shared another view of this barn last week, but since lots of Michigan is in a misty mood this morning, I had to go back! Check out TP’s Sunsets/Sunrises gallery for more. 

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“Some day, all of this will be yours”

Frog Watching by Dan Bruell

Frog Watching by Dan Bruell

Dan took this photo yesterday in “perfect frog weather”. See more in his Pond Life gallery on Flickr.

More frogs on Michigan in Pictures!

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Falling Skies in October: Draconid & Orionid meteor showers

Neowise and meteor by Gary Syrba

Neowise and meteor by Gary Syrba

In addition to being the season of cider, changing leaves, and Halloween, October also brings a pair of meteor showers. Our friends at EarthSky give you all you need to know to see the Draconid & Orionid meteor showers:

The Draconids, October 8th

In 2021, watch the Draconid meteors at nightfall and early evening on October 8. You might catch some on the nights before and after, as well. Fortunately, the thin waxing crescent moon sets before nightfall. It won’t hinder this year’s Draconid shower … This shower is usually a sleeper, producing only a handful of languid meteors per hour in most years. But watch out if the Dragon awakes! In rare instances, fiery Draco has been known to spew forth many hundreds of meteors in a single hour.

The Orionids, October 21st

Unfortunately a full moon accompanies 2021’s Orionid shower. Try watching for these meteors in the wee hours before dawn on October 21. You won’t escape the moon, though. On a dark, moonless night, the Orionids exhibit a maximum of about 10 to 20 meteors per hour. More meteors tend to fly after midnight, and the Orionids are typically at their best in the wee hours before dawn. The Orionids sometimes produce bright fireballs, which might be able to overcome a moonlit glare. If you trace these meteors backward, they seem to radiate from the Club of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter.

Gary took this shot last summer. Head over to his Flickr for the latest!

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