Waterfall Wednesday: Wagner Falls

Wagner Falls by John Bullington Photography

Wagner Falls by John Bullington Photography

GoWaterfalling shares that Wagner Falls:

is located south of Munising, on the east side of MI-94 just south of the MI-28 MI-94 junction. It has its own state park. There is small parking area and a sign. A short boardwalk leads to the falls. It is a pleasant walk and a pretty waterfall.

John shared this photo of a fresh winter snowfall in our Michigan in Pictures group on Facebook. See more from John on his Facebook page & on his website.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Otter at Otter Lake

Otter at Otter Lake by Nicholas McCreedy

Otter at Otter Lake by Nicholas McCreedy

Nicholas writes that this otter spotted him at Otter Lake in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. See a couple more shots & follow him on Facebook!

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Aqua Ice

Aqua Ice by Charles Bonham

Aqua Ice by Charles Bonham

There hasn’t been much in the way of ice buildup yet on Michigan’s Great Lakes so far in 2021, so I decided to reach back a couple of years to March of 2019 for this beauty from Au Gres on Lake Huron. The Causes of Color answers the question what causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?

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. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.

The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.

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.

Definitely check out more in Charles’ excellent Michigan Winter Ice gallery on Flickr.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Snowy Owls are Back!

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

Snowy Owls are Back by Kevin Povenz

While these arctic owls are not found in the summer, the Michigan DNR shares that Snowy Owls & other winter visitors spend time in our state during the winter months:

Just because the leaves have fallen from the trees and there is a chill in the air is no reason to put away your binoculars. Winter offers unique viewing opportunities. Many of our summer resident birds migrate to warmer summer climates. Still, there are several species of birds that migrate from Canada and find Michigan the perfect winter temperature. Winter is the only time several of these species can be found in Michigan.

Two of the largest migrants are the snowy owl and the great gray owl. Snowy owls can be found moving into Michigan during winter when the food supply on the arctic tundra is in short supply. Snowy owls have been recorded as far south as Lansing, Michigan. Because they rarely see humans on their northern homes, they are not timid and can be easily viewed for long periods of time.

Kevin took this photo back in the winter of 2016, but he’s been hearing that they are back in Michigan now. See more in his Birds of Prey album on Flickr & be sure to follow Kevin Povenz Photos on Facebook.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

The Apple Tree in Winter

The Apple Tree in Winter by Allan L McFarlane

The Apple Tree in Winter by Allan L McFarlane

Today would have been my dad’s 83rd birthday. Though he’s been gone more of my life than he was in it, I still miss him every day. He was a hell of a photographer who sparked my lifelong passion for photography. While my scan of this photo of the apple tree in our backyard years ago isn’t the best, I had to share it.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Waterfall Wednesday: Early Winter at Miners Falls

Early Winter at Miners Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

Early Winter at Miners Falls by Michigan Nut Photography

John McCormick aka Michigan Nut is one of my favorite photographers. He’s been sharing some great videos he took this year at some of Michigan’s waterfalls on his Facebook page – check them out!

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore explains that Miners Falls is where the Miners River drops about 50 feet over a sandstone outcrop, creating the park’s most powerful waterfall. You can see this photo & more at Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook and view & purchase John’s great waterfall (and other) pictures on his website.

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

La Niña is coming for a winter visit

Ice Cave Sunset by Heather Higham

Ice Cave Sunset by Heather Higham

mLive reports that a La Niña weather system has officially developed & is likely to continue through winter:

La Niña is when the equatorial Pacific waters turn cooler than normal. If the cooler than normal water continues into the northern hemisphere winter, there can be some alteration to normal jetstream patterns.

…an average jetstream position south of Michigan with the center of an upper-level through over the Great Lakes brings an area of wetter than normal conditions to the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes. This area of wetter weather includes the southern part of Michigan.

So in looking at the general effects of La Niña on Michigan’s winter, we have in the past leaned toward colder than normal with some increase in snow amounts.

…Lower Michigan as averaging four to 12 inches above normal on snowfall during La Niña winters. The western half of the U.P. also shows a slightly above normal snowfall pattern during La Niña. The lake-effect snowbelts of northwest and southwest Lower don’t show an increase in snow, but do show normal amounts. Normal amounts of snow in the snowbelts is plenty of snow for snow-lovers.

More at mLive.

Heather took this shot of an ice formation on Lake Michigan at Elk Rapids back in January of 2015. See more in her ice formations gallery & definitely follow Heather on Facebook & @SnapHappyMichigan on Instagram!

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures! <–trust me – some more awesome pics there!

Support Michigan in Pictures with Patreon

Blue Ice at Bay City

Bay City Blue Ice, photo by Great Lakes Drone Works

Great Lakes Drone Works captured some awesome shots from the ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. They write:

We made our way out to Bay City State Park to capture some images of these huge chunks of ice. At first we were hoping drone photos would be the way to go but after walking around and getting up close, it was clear that ground photography was the better option.
Blue ice occurs when weather conditions — such as a lack of high winds — allow water to freeze slowly and evenly, resulting in ice composed of large crystals (unlike snow, which is formed quickly and made up of small crystals).

When light hits these big ice crystals, it can travel deep into the structures (compare this to snow, wherein light hits a sharp edge and reflects off of it right away, resulting in blinding white). When the light travels deeper into slowly formed ice, some of the red wavelengths of sunlight — which is the longest wavelength of visible light — get absorbed into the ice structure.

The blue, which is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bounces back out, meet our eyes, and results in a deep aqua color.

Head over to their Facebook for more shots and get lots more icy goodness at the ice tag on Michigan in Pictures!

Firing up the Polar Vortex Ice Cave Hype Machine

Ice Cave Evening, photo by Mark Miller

via leelanau.com who write:

It’s a frosty 3 degrees in Leland with winds whipping powdery snow around and more single digits & high winds driving wind chills far below zero coming over the next couple of days. That’s not optimal for driving, and schools across the county are cancelled. It could, however, bring to life ice formations & caves on Leelanau’s western shore like we’ve seen several times in recent years.

They’ve got past ice cave articles and will be posting updates right here! The Freep reports that Michigan is bracing for potentially record-breaking cold this week:

A polar vortex is forecast to batter the Great Lakes and Midwest regions Tuesday through Thursday, with the lowest temperatures set to occur Wednesday. Some areas of Lower Michigan could face wind chills as low as 45 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service.

That would mark the most bitter cold in years for the region.

…The polar vortex is the large area of cold air and low pressure near each of the Earth’s poles. The air flows counter-clockwise near each of the poles, hence “vortex.”

“Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream,” the NWS explains.

Mark took this back in Mark of 2014. View the photo bigger and see more awesome shots in his Northern Michigan winters photo album.

Hoar frost on the Lake Leelanau Narrows

The Narrows, photo by Mark Smith

“The Narrows” refers to the narrow section between North & South Lake Leelanau between these two joined lakes. The bridge that Mark was standing on yesterday morning to take this stunning photo of the hoarfrost before it burned off was originally constructed in 1864, shortly after the founding of the village of Provemont (now Lake Leelanau) by French Canadian farmers.

We’re looking toward North Lake Leelanau in Mark’s photo. Check it out background bigtacular and follow him on Flickr for more!

PS: This post about hoar frost on Michigan in Pictures has an incredible shot of some willows. The photographer explained:

Hoar Frost (also called radiation frost or hoarfrost or pruina) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat is lost into the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air. A related effect is flood frost or frost pocket which occurs when air cooled by ground-level radiation losses travels downhill to form pockets of very cold air in depressions, valleys, and hollows. Hoar Frost can form in these areas even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing. Nonetheless the frost itself will be at or below the freezing temperature of water.

Hoar Frost may have different names depending on where it forms. For example, air hoar is a deposit of hoar frost on objects above the surface, such as tree branches, plant stems, wires; surface hoar is formed by fern-like ice crystals directly deposited on snow, ice or already frozen surfaces; crevasse hoar consists of crystals that form in glacial crevasses where water vapor can accumulate under calm weather conditions; depth hoar refers to cup shaped, faceted crystals formed within dry snow, beneath the surface.