“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”
~William G. T. Shedd
Every so often I have to write a post to clarify what Michigan in Pictures is or is not, and I guess that today is one of those days.
Sunday morning, I posted this photo (also at the bottom of this post) to the Michigan in Pictures Facebook page with the very accurate caption “We went out to Good Harbor Bay on Lake Michigan yesterday to play on the ice!” As you can see from the photo, Laura is positioned well back from the edge. While perhaps not perfectly safe, she is far safer than she was driving to the beach.
Several readers took issue with the idea that it’s appropriate to “play” in a potentially hazardous environment like shelf ice on Lake Michigan, suggesting that it’s irresponsible for me to share photos from risky environments, that I not do it, and that I focus on providing precautionary education encouraging people to make safe decisions. I replied (in part):
Shelf ice is indeed dangerous if you don’t know where you are and what you’re doing. The water where we were is 3′ deep in summer and the ice very solid, so in my opinion, play is exactly what it was.
Your concern for safety is good, but if you take proper precautions, you’re a heck of a lot safer here than driving on a winter road.
I post pictures all the time where the photographers have taken calculated risks to see, photograph and experience things that you cannot see and photograph without an element of risk. I allow my son to surf in conditions that can be very dangerous, let my daughter climb trees high enough to probably kill her if she fell, and hiked on trails where one slip meant death.
I suppose I should post disclaimers of “don’t be an idiot” with all photos of risky environments, but I think I will continue to assume that my readers will assess risks on their own, and I will continue to experience and share Michigan as I choose.
…Please understand that Michigan in Pictures is a place where I share amazing pictures that are shared with me. I’m not doing this as a public service to educate people on how to stay alive and safe. I do it for love of Michigan and to share the cool experiences it offers. I trust that my readers will exercise appropriate caution as they enjoy Michigan, and I’m 1000% sure that if folks get out and wisely play a little closer to the edge, they’ll have a happier and longer life.
Caveat emptor will remain the policy of Michigan in Pictures, which I will again remind readers is my personal blog, not paid for by anyone and offered with the sole hope that you can find pictures and places that help you enjoy and appreciate Michigan more.
PS: Thanks to Kate Wittenberg for the perfect William G. T. Shedd quotation that she shared in the comments!
PPS: Here’s the photo Laura shot. Position, framing, tone.