#TBT: Beating the Winter Blues

Winter Blues by simply, Diann.

If you’ve followed Michigan in Pictures for a long time, you’ll recognize this photo of the Ludington North Breakwater Light from 10 years ago. I love the photo so much that I thought I’d bring it back for an encore.

If you click the link above, you can read about the lighthouse, and if you head over to The Atlantic, you can learn about how Scandinavian countries are combatting seasonal affective disorder (SAD):

First described in the 1980s, the syndrome is characterized by recurrent depressions that occur annually at the same time each year. Most psychiatrists regard SAD as being a subclass of generalized depression or, in a smaller proportion of cases, bipolar disorder.

Seasonality is reported by approximately 10 to 20 percent of people with depression and 15 to 22 percent of those with bipolar disorder. “People often don’t realize that there is a continuum between the winter blues—which is a milder form of feeling down, [sleepier and less energetic]—and when this is combined with a major depression,” says Anna Wirz-Justice, an emeritus professor of psychiatric neurobiology at the Center for Chronobiology in Basel, Switzerland. Even healthy people who have no seasonal problems seem to experience this low-amplitude change over the year, with worse mood and energy during autumn and winter and an improvement in spring and summer, she says.

Why should darker months trigger this tiredness and low mood in so many people? There are several theories, none of them definitive, but most relate to the circadian clock—the roughly 24-hour oscillation in our behavior and biology that influences when we feel hungry, sleepy or active. This is no surprise given that the symptoms of the winter blues seem to be associated with shortening days and longer nights, and that bright light seems to have an anti-depressive effect. One idea is that some people’s eyes are less sensitive to light, so once light levels fall below a certain threshold, they struggle to synchronize their circadian clock with the outside world. Another is that some people produce more of a hormone called melatonin during winter than in summer—just like certain other mammals that show strong seasonal patterns in their behavior.

Read on for some of their solutions – maybe you’ll find some ideas if you suffer from SAD. I will say that I’ve found regular hikes and walks during the daylight hours in wintertime are key!!

Diann writes What I’m really wondering is whether or not its a good idea to edit out the blue shadows that often show up in winter shots when the sun is behind the camera. She offers this shot for comparison and discussion. She also has a bunch more photos of Ludington’s lighthouse.

Root Beer Thunder

Upper Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Erin Bartels

The Tahquamenon Falls State Park page says that the Upper Tahquamenon Falls are one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. At more than 200 feet across with a drop of nearly 50 feet, the falls have a flow rate that can exceed 50,000 gallons per second!

View the photo background bigtacular, see more in Erin’s slideshow and check out Tahquamenon Falls: Take 4 on her blog for some details about her latest visit.

The Nets Are Off: Michigan’s 2016 Grape Harvest a Success!

nets-are-off-at-bel-lago

The Nets Are Off, photo by Mark Smith

The Detroit News reports that 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for Michigan wine grapes:

Frigid winters contributed to dismal harvests the past two falls. In 2014, Michigan winemakers lost a majority of their crops to the extreme cold. And last year, up to 75 percent of the wine crop was decimated because of winter, a late spring and, in northern Michigan, a late-summer hail storm. Many wineries were forced to supplement their vintages with grapes and juice bought from out-of-state growers.

“Winemakers are very excited about the harvest this year,” said Karel Bush, executive director of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. “After that second brutal winter, some vineyards had to buy from elsewhere and that made it very difficult for them, especially if their business model is to be an estate winery. You have to be open, you have bills to pay, staff to pay, so you had to buy grapes and juice from elsewhere. This year, they’re delighted to have their own crop to work with.”

…It’s good news for an industry that continues to grow and is winning accolades for both white and red varietals, most notably chardonnay, riesling, cabernet franc and pinot noir. Home to more than 120 wineries, Michigan ranks 10th in the nation in production, producing more than 2.5 million gallons a year — a number expected to be reached again this year. And wineries, with their ever-expanding tasting rooms and activities, have become a big business across the state, attracting more than 2 million visitors a year.

Mark took this photo at Bel Lago Winery on Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula. The nets he refers to are those snow-looking piles that are white nets that hang over the vines to keep birds away during the final weeks of ripening. View his photo background bigilicious and see more late-fall goodness in his slideshow.

Moonglow at Tahquamenon Falls

moonglow-y-rudy-malmquist

Moonglow, photo by Rudy Malmquist

Gorgeous photo from after dark at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

View Rudy’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Lots more about Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures.

Photo-op gone bad

photo-op-gone-bad

Photo-op gone bad, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

Paul got caught by an unexpectedly large wave on Lake Superior – good thing he had already taken his selfie-stick shots!! :D

View his photo big as the biggest lake, see more including Manabezho Falls in his slideshow, and view and purchase photos on the-woj.com.

On a more serious note, as yesterday and today’s posts show, these big lakes have big and sometimes unexpected power, particularly as we head into fall and winter. Take a moment to see what’s going on, watch for a minute so you know what’s going on, be sure of your footing, and take a buddy or two if you can!

Miner’s Castle, before it fell

Miner's Castle before it fell

Miner’s Castle before it fell, photo by spauldi1

Today is the 10th anniversary of the collapse of one of the turrets on the Miner’s Castle formation in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

On Thursday morning, April 13, 2006, the northeast turret of Miners Castle collapsed. One turret remains on Miners Castle, the best-known feature of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The collapse was reported via cell phone by fisherman in the area, according to chief ranger Larry Hach. Most of the rock fell north and into Lake Superior, and there were no injuries. The lower overlook platform near Miners Castle appears to be unaffected.

While the rockfall at Miners Castle on April 13 was startling, such events are not rare along the Pictured Rocks escarpment.

Click for the full report on Absolute Michigan.

Sue took this back in 2003. View it background big and jump into her slideshow for more pics from “before the fall”at Miner’s Castle.

On Down the Road

On Down the Road

On Down the Road, photo by Doug Jonas

Miraculously, there’s still pockets of fall color out there, so how about one more before November closes in?

View Doug’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his amazing slideshow.

More fall wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.