An Ode to the Winter Solstice

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An Ode to the Winter Solstice, photo by Cherie

EarthSky’s page on the winter solstice says:

The solstice happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth. In 2016, the December solstice comes on December 21 at 5:44 a.m. EST. That’s on December 21 at 10:44 Universal Time. It’s when the sun on our sky’s dome reaches its farthest southward point for the year. At this solstice, the Northern Hemisphere has its shortest day and longest night of the year.

…At the December solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that the sun stays below the north pole horizon. As seen from 23-and-a-half degrees south of the equator, at the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun shines directly overhead at noon. This is as far south as the sun ever gets. All locations south of the equator have day lengths greater than 12 hours at the December solstice. Meanwhile, all locations north of the equator have day lengths less than 12 hours.

For us on the northern part of Earth, the shortest day comes at the solstice. After the winter solstice, the days get longer, and the nights shorter. It’s a seasonal shift that nearly everyone notices.

View Cherie’s photo background big and see more in her Michigan can be a Winter Wonderland slideshow.

Bonaparte’s Gull

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Bonaparte’s Gull, photo by Zach Frieben

All About Birds has this to say about Bonaparte’s Gull:

A small, graceful gull with bright white patches in its wings, the Bonaparte’s Gull winters near people, but breeds in the isolated taiga and boreal forest (north of us in Canada)

The Bonaparte’s Gull is the only gull that regularly nests in trees.

The English name of the Bonaparte’s Gull honors Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s. The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.

View Zach’s photo from Noah Lake in Three Rivers background big and see more in his Migrating MI Birds slideshow.

Inspiration

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Inspiration Point, photo by Michigan Nut Photography

While I’m waiting for photos of the weekend’s crazy storm to be shared in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr or the Michigan in Pictures Facebook, enjoy this shot from back in 2012 early winter gale kicking up sand and waves at Manistee County’s Arcadia overlook.

View John’s photo background bigilicious, follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook, and check out this photo and more in the Winter gallery on his website!

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Blue Ice at Mackinac

Blue Ice at Mackinac

Michigan Winter, photo by Jeff Caverly

I featured this photo yesterday in Five Things you need to know about Michigan on Absolute Michigan. Check the link out for more interesting things including some new revelations about when Gov. Snyder’s senior staff raised concerns about Flint’s water (October 2014) and a look at an innovative approach to tackling urban blight. 

mLive recently reported on blue ice at the Mackinac Bridge. The other day’s post on Michigan in Pictures explained why ice is blue or green. In case you didn’t read it, here’s a bit of that:

As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener.

…In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.

You can view Jeff’s photo background bigilicious and see more photos of the ice at Mackinac & also Tahquamenon Falls in his slideshow.

More winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Emergency Ark: The Celestial Ship of the North

Emergency Ark

Emergency Ark, photo by Michael

The Celestial Ship of the North (Emergency Ark), aka the Barnboat, is a site-specific installation and permanent sculpture in Port Austin, Michigan created by Scott Hocking. He wrote to me:

I was asked by Detroiter Jim Boyle, whose family is still in Port Austin, if I’d ever had any ideas of working with old barns. He’s been trying to get a Detroit / Port Austin connection going by bringing artists up there to do projects. I basically told him I’d had some fleeting thoughts about how much certain barns look like overturned ship hulls, and that if I had an old barn to work with, I’d probably turn it into a boat.

So, that was the beginning.

Like all of my work, I try to let the materials and site dictate what I make, and as I worked on the barnboat the shape became what it is now – mostly influenced by the intense winds of Michigan’s thumb. It took about 3 months total, but I’m not quite done yet: I’m still planning to fill in the base with mounded sand this spring for a little extra stability, and so that it can once again overgrow like that ivy covered barn it was made from.

Awesome. Check out lots more of Scott’s engaging work on his website.

Enjoy Michael’s photo background bigtacular on Flickr and see more in his slideshow.

More art and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.