Michigan Summer Resolution #23: Watch More Sunsets

Sunset on Grand Traverse Bay

Untitled, photo by Thomas DB

I was thinking the other evening that I need to watch more sunsets this summer. What Michigan summer resolution would you make?

Thomas caught this great photo of a young couple watching the sunset on Grand Traverse Bay. View it bigger and see more in his 6/1/16-6/3/16: Grand Traverse & Leelanau slideshow.

Beautiful Blossoms

Cherry Orchard Aisles & Blossoms

Cherry Orchard Aisles & Blossoms, photo by Jess Clifton

mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa writes that the upcoming weather is looking normal, which is also fantastic for an extended time period of blooming here in Michigan:

Tulip Time runs from Saturday, May 7, to May 14 in downtown Holland. The Traverse City area cherry blossoms are also about to erupt with color.

Cool nights and near normal temperature days are just what we want for a long display of color from these two spring performers.

Gwen Auwerda, Executive Director of Tulip Time in Holland, MI says tulip blossoms can last up to 21 days if high heat is avoided. Auwerda says most of the tulips in Holland, MI are at peak right now, with some of the late bloomers expected to peak next week.

The cooler weather has slowed down the cherry blossoms in northwest Lower Michigan. Nikki Rothwell, MSU Extension educator, says now the cherries are right on track to blossom at the typical time.

Rothwell says sweet cherries are only days away from blooming, with peak bloom in northwest Lower Michigan possibly on Mother’s Day. Tart cherries, which make up most of northwest Lower Michigan’s cherry crop, should start blooming May 11 or May 12, and peak around May 14.

Jess took this back in May of 2014 near Traverse City. View it background bigilicious, enjoy her Mother Nature in Michigan slideshow, and check out more of her work at jesscliftonphotography.com.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Jellyfish Stormfront

Old Mission Storm Cloud

 

Untitled, photo by Tom Parrent

Tom shot this last night on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula.

Some staggering storming here in my hometown. Here’s some pics you might be able to see from my friend Kelly and some from my neighborhood.

View Tom’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more right here.

Passing Pluto

Charons Crossing aka Pluto

Charon’s Crossing, photo by Andrew McFarlane

Anyone remember Hipstamatic? This is a shot of Pluto in Dave Kirby’s cool installation of the planets along the TART trail in Traverse City (created prior to the de-planetization of Pluto). I don’t usually feature my own photos here, but I had to find something to celebrate NASA’s historic 3,000,000,000 mile journey to Pluto:

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

Read on for more and definitely check out the New Horizons Mission at NASA for lots more about our mission to explore Pluto, its moons and the Kuiper Belt at the furthest reaches of our solar system.

More science on Michigan in Pictures.

Old Mission Orchard in Bloom

Old Mission Orchard

Old Mission Orchard, photo by Heather Higham

The cherry blossoms are out on northwest Michigan’s Old Mission Peninsula. A little over 100 years ago, this annual occurrence gave birth to Traverse City’s National Cherry Festival. The Cherry Festival’s history page shares that sometime around 1910, cherry growers in the Grand Traverse area began to hold informal “blessing of the blossoms” ceremonies each year at blossom time in May. The TC Record-Eagle picks up the story:

Something had to be done to attract tourists to the Grand Traverse area, local resident and community leader Jay P. Smith declared in 1925.

Henry Ford had introduced a new automobile that allowed people to travel long distances with ease, and Hannah, Lay & Co. spurred a growing business atmosphere here, but tourism still lagged. So Smith created the Blessing of the Blossoms festival.

For one day in May area residents and visitors traveled out to the Old Mission Peninsula to view fields of cherry blossoms from the vantage point of two towers, then flocked to a downtown parade that moved east on Front Street from Elmwood Avenue to Railroad Avenue.

“This was kind of a big deal,” said Gary Kaberle, a former National Cherry Festival president. “People really liked this.”

But Smith and his committee quickly realized that a May festival meant children weren’t out of school and tourists were less likely to have time off work, so they moved the festival to July to coincide with the cherry harvest.

You can read on for more about the evolution of the Cherry Festival and if you want to attend, the dates are July 4-11, 2015 and you can get all the details at cherryfestival.org.

Heather writes that she was looking into an orchard from the edges, surrounded by flowers and bees when she took this picture. View her photo bigger on Flickr, see more in her Old Mission Peninsula slideshow and definitely follow her at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook.

PS: If you want to learn about the early days of the Old Mission Peninsula, check out Rev. Peter Dougherty House on Old Mission having one heck of a yard sale from May 2007 on Michigan in Pictures.

Blizzard beats boat: The Blizzard of ’78

Capsized and Ice Locked

Blizzard beats boat, photo by John Russell

Oh ice, I can’t stay mad at you, even when you misbehave like this.

Associated Press photographer John Russell shared this photo from January 29, 1978. He writes:

My office 37 years ago: Marty Lagina stands on the frozen pier at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy on January 29, 1978, viewing the capsized training vessel Allegheny, which capsized from ice buildup during the Blizzard of ’78. This image was on assignment for TIME magazine, who had seen my b&w image on the UPI wire and wanted a color image.

Marty and I were lucky – the sky cleared and the wind stopped for about 20 minutes, then the storm began again. I wondered at the time who TIME knew to make that happen….

The photo was taken in Traverse City, ground zero for the blizzard Seeking Michigan shared info about one of Michigan’s most significant winter storms:

On January 26-27, 1978, snowstorms with fifty-to-seventy-mile per hour winds pummeled much of Michigan. Snowfall totals ranged from eighteen inches in Lansing to an incredible fifty-one inches in Traverse City. More than 100,000 cars were abandoned on roads and highways, and travel was impossible for days. Governor William G. Milliken declared a state of emergency on January 26 and activated the National Guard to assist with the cleanup. The governor also requested financial assistance from the federal government and estimated damage totals to be more than $25 million, not including lost productivity from workers who were unable to get to their jobs.

Click through to view his photo bigger and friend John on Facebook – his “My Office” series is a great look at what’s happening all over Michigan.

PS: Sorry for all the pics from Leelanau/Traverse City lately. Sometimes it just works out that way…

Just Great Movies: the Traverse City Film Festival turns 10

Traverse City Film Festival 2005

2005 Traverse City Film Festival, photo by John Robert Williams

There were hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of materials that were donated by the community. It was a miraculous, Herculean feat. So cool to be a part of that. We had three meals a day for 35 to 40 people, donated from area restaurants for six weeks, every single day. And they’d drop it off. That’s how supported this thing was. The air was bristling with excitement for this thing and it was really, really cool. It was really cool to be a part of it.
~first-year volunteer Timothy “The Phantom of the State” Grey

I’ve been helping the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF) with their online media since my offer of assistance to festival co-founder Michael Moore after a film at the State Theatre that first year. The State was where I saw Star Wars, and the theater we all grew up with in Traverse City. It had lain empty for years, but Michael and company led a community effort that got the State open for that first festival and ultimately opened it for real. The transformation that this has wrought on downtown Traverse City can’t be overstated. As one of the most successful theaters of its kind in the nation, the State draws thousands of people downtown for movies every week. They stay to shop & dine and these film patrons are arguably the single greatest factor in Traverse City’s renaissance.

The State is also the home of TCFF which will draw tens of thousands of people to Traverse City for the 10th annual Traverse City Film Festival July 29 – August 3rd and sell over 100,000 tickets to 200+ films. As any TC business owner can attest, it’s a beautiful thing. The Northern Express has a feature this week titled A Traverse City Film Festival Oral History that tells the story of the founding through the memories of the people who were there. Despite the fact that Michael Moore was involved, it’s not a story of politics, but rather of a community working together to realize a dream. Here’s a few highlights:

Co-founder Michael Moore: The lunch began with deciding, ‘Let’s do this.’ And, ‘How are we going to do it?’ And I said, ‘You know, we could start out very small, like really just do it in somebody’s backyard. Or we could do it in a barn. I’m doing it for whatever you guys think we can do.’ By the end of the lunch we all got kind of excited about the possibilities of it all… By the end of it I think we decided that we would try to get like two or three venues — we talked about the Old Town Playhouse; we talked about the Opera House. We brought up the State Theatre but we were told that was not possible … I walked out of there and I was crossing the street, crossing Front Street there by Amical, and I turned and I looked at the State Theatre and I said, ‘Why can’t we use the State Theatre?’ and then I think John said, ‘Well, Rotary owns it now. It’s all closed up and it hasn’t been functioning in years and there’s no real projector there or anything. It’s just an empty building.’

Co-founder Doug Stanton: The defining image for me of the founding of the Traverse City Film Festival is a mason who showed up on his own, without being asked by anyone, to help restore the theater. I wish I could remember his name. His first name was Delbert. He was down on his hands and knees with a toothpick restoring the destroyed tile floor of the State Theatre lobby. He loved the the idea of this new festival so much. That embodied for me the community-driven heart of the whole enterprise. Its founding values to me are not driven by one person at all, but by a community.

Co-founder John Robert Williams: The night that we got the big screw-in fuses and the big push-in fuses from the ‘40s, the night we got through the breakers and made the marquee light up, and only half the neon came on — it’s actually an electrical motor that spins to make those chasers all blink around — we got that thing spinning, and we’re standing out there on a hot, early July night, it was just after the Cherry Festival, we got the lights going on the State Theatre and the cars were honking and people were jumping out of their cars taking pictures. It was like, ‘Oh my God, the lights are on at the State Theatre!’ Because they hadn’t been on in years. That was the pivotal moment for downtown Traverse City.

Williams: Our opening night was a movie called Mad Hot Ballroom. We had this movie about these fifth graders ballroom dancing and learning this in New York City. Mike came up with this little plan… When the credit crawl started rolling at the end of the movie, we were going to switch over to this hot salsa music. We got the approval from the director to switch into some dance music, and so when Michael comes popping up out of the corner at the State Theatre, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, from P.S. 136,’ and he starts naming the kids’ names, and we switch over to the salsa music and here are the cast calls in black background and white type, and these kids come out and dance the winning dance, right in front of the audience. They convulsed. This entire audience came out of their seats as one. I mean the air pressure changed in the room. Whoomp. After Mad Hot Ballroom on that Wednesday night, ticket sales went nuts the next morning because everybody in town was talking to everybody else saying, ‘You can’t believe what these guys did.’

Lots more at the Express with Part 2 coming next week.

View John’s photo from the first TCFF bigger, see his work at his website and definitely check out the Traverse City Film Festival on Flickr for a ton more photos!

PS: Here’s my favorite piece of media we’ve ever created at TCFF, Song to Cinema. It’s well worth your time…

Mirror Morning

Hasrot Beach

Haserot Beach, photo by lomeranger

One of the things I love about Spring and early Summer is how calm the water can be.

Jason shot this at 6 AM on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City. View his photo background bigtacular, see more in his Landscapes VII slideshow and purchase it if you wish at his photography website.

There’s more sunrises and more Spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Blossom Time

White Blossoms

White Blossoms, photo by cncphotos

In addition to Michigan in Pictures, I run the website Leelanau.com. The most common question this time of year over there is “When will cherry blossoms be out?” Although this year has been slow going, I was out and about yesterday and caught some of the first blooms of the season. Click that link to see them on Leelanau.com and also a pile of morels!

Visit Traverse City’s cherry blossom section says that the blossoms on the trees last on average of four to five days, but because different parts of the region bloom at different times, it’s a safe bet you can see blossoms for one to two weeks on average if you make the rounds.

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

Lots more blossoms and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Division: The Movie seeking a little Kickstarter love

division the movie

Location Scouting, photo by Division: The Movie

DIVISION is planned to be the first feature-length film entirely filtered through Instagram. The story is inspired by local folklore from Traverse City and the nearby Old Mission Peninsula and begins when a young man embarks on a journey to cure his girlfriend’s writer’s block. Chaos ensues, sending the couple into questioning what is real and what isn’t. The real truth, or at least part of it, has been recorded by the couple and their friends.

As for processing the entire film through the popular photo-sharing site Instagram, Producer Cat Muncey explains their motivation:

Back when the photo app rolled out video capabilities in June, I got the idea to do a feature through it. First, it was unconquered territory and hadn’t been done before. Second, I thought it would be an interesting way to present a character’s story. Most everything people share through social media is self-edited, so you only see what they want you to view. There’s more to everyone’s story than what they are willing to share, and I think the use of social media makes is a compelling element within a suspense movie.

There’s been a lot of interest in the film locally. We are featuring small businesses and their goods throughout the film and focusing on sourcing local talent. It’s been kind of neat running into people around town talking about the project or recognizing me from our Kickstarter or social media. We’ve also gotten some nice media coverage around town and even on digitaltrends.com.

Really, the biggest aim of this project was to create a community experience. We are still looking for additional extras and filling in the blanks with some locations and we would love to have additional support from local people. If anyone is interested, they can find out more at our Facebook page or contact me.

They have just 3 days left to raise $3000 and complete their Kickstarter goal. Head over to Kickstarter to learn more about the project, see their video appeal, learn more about the Instagram processing and help them out!

More Michigan movies on Michigan in Pictures.