Michael W. Collins Photography | Blog

Welcome to my blog! For the most part, I'll use this space to post notes about recent work I've done. From time to time, I may also pass on tips and other information of interest relating to photography and the subjects I've been photographing.



Four Lighthouses and Four Sunsets

August 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I'm definitely not a morning person, so let's just say sunrises aren't my specialty! Instead, I love to get sunset pictures, and pictures with lighthouses and sunsets are always a favorite theme. I recently added four images along those lines. First up is the Ludington North Pier Light, which was taken back in March:

Ludington North Pier LightLudington North Pierhead Light

You can barely make it out, but there are still icicles hanging from the platform on the right side of the tower. Taking pictures on the lakeshore in winter is fun. Not only do you get to freeze your rear off, but no one else is nutty enough to be out there to ruin your shot!


The second image is from 2011. Yeah, I am not the most diligent about processing and posting images in a timely manner! This one is from Charlevoix, Michigan:

Charlevoix South Pier LightCharlevoix South Pier Light

I actually tried several compositions, here. One showed the sun shining through the top of the towere, and another showed the sun shing through the support struts under the tower. This image, with the sun just peeking around the edge of the tower just looked better, so here it is. The couple in silhouette at the end of the pier adds an extra touch of romance.


Our third entry is the crisp Point Lighthouse on lake Superior:

Crisp Point LighthouseCrisp Point Lighthouse

This lighthouse is accessible by car by following dirt roads for several miles. It is slow and rough on the average vehicle, and took about an hour each way. Needless to say, after sunset, it gets pretty dark in that part of Michigan! This image was taken this past July, as I'm not always slow in getting images processed. Just sayin'.


Last on our list is the Au Sable Point Lighthouse, also on Lake Superior. This image was also taken this past July:

Au Sable Point LighthouseAu Sable Point Lighthouse

Au Sable Point Lighthouse is included in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. The National Park Service has been restoring the lighthouse and surrounding buildings, and now offers tours on a seasonal basis. It's a half-hour hike to the lighthouse, on a trail that follows the Lake Superior shore. be sure to take a flashlight, and don't let the bunnies scare you when they suddenly scamble across the trail ahead of you!


So, there you go. Four lighthouses and four sunsets. As always, these images and more can be ordered as prints from the main website!





Pictured Rocks by Boat

August 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Pictured Rocks national Lakeshore is a marvelous 40-odd mile stretch of Lake Superior shoreline that includes pristine beaches, sweeping dunes, and towering cliffs of wildly-colored sandstone. Several rock formations have been given colorful and descriptive names, and usually these are best viewed from the water. Pictured Rocks Cruises are offered out of Munising, Michigan, or you can rent kayaks or pontoon boats to view them at your leisure.


I took the official tour this July when the water on Lake Superior was about as calm as it gets, and the skies were pretty clear, with a few clouds here and there. One of the more interesting named formations is Chapel Rock, shown below:

Chapel RockChapel Rock

The mot interesting aspect of this formation is the lone tree standing on top. There is very little soil there from which the tree can absorb nutrients! There was a rock bridge that spanned between Chapel Rock and the cliffs on the left. One of the roots creeped acrosss that bridge to connect to the soil on the other side. That bridge collapsed many years ago, yet the root hung on, and that is how the tree gets most of its nutrients. It's a small testament to the tenacity of life!


Scenes from Seney

April 19, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I've visited Seney National Wildlife Refuge a number of times. It is located in the middle of the eastern half of Michigan's Upper penninsula. There's an auto drive through a portion of the refuge that I almost always take, often in the last couple of hours before sunset. The refuge contains a plethora of manmade pools that are kept at optimal levels for waterfowl. This leaves a number of little "islands" dotted here and there. I love this place around sunset when there is light cloud cover. There are a multitude of opportunites for capturing gorgeous colors and interesting reflections.

I pulled up some of my older images, which were taken on slide film and scanned using a Nikon slide scanner. Here you go!

Seney National Wildlife RefugeSeney National Wildlife Refuge, Michigan

Seney National Wildlife RefugeSeney National Wildlife Refuge, Michigan

Seney National Wildlife RefugeSeney National Wildlife Refuge, Michigan



Badlands in Silhouette

April 17, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

I've been putting up so many lighthouse images lately, it seemed time for a change. This time, I went way back into the archives to for some landscape shots made on film. I'll be posting more in the next couple of weeks or so. The first image is from Badlands National Park, in South Dakota, which I visited a few years ago. I had been photographing rock formations, and I was about to pack up move on when I looked back and saw this scene , which was just after the sun had set behind the rock formations:

Badlands National ParkBadlands in Silhouette


I only took a few shots, and this is my favorite. Fortuitous events such as this help emphasizes the fact that you shouldn't be quick to pack up and leave, for one thing, and you should always check to see what's happening behind you on a regular basis. You never know what you might be missing!

This was shot on Fuji Velvia film, which I really loved (well, still love, but I hardly ever shoot film these days). It was my first trip using a digital SLR, a Nikon D70. I was still getting used to the D70, and wasn't ready to trust it on the more important shots. Ironically, when I got home, I almost totalled my film camera (a Nikon N90S). I had stored it in  day pack in the trunk, but forget to zip up the pack. I pulled the pack out and watched in horror as the camera and lens tumbled out onto the pavement. Amazingly, the ens only received some minor suffing, but the camera body cracked near the hot shoe. Even so, the camera was still operable, but I did end up buying a Nikon F6 later that year as a replacement. In a way, the image represents my film days, which seem to have been "sunsetted".



Two Images of Point Iroquois Lighthouse Added

April 15, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Point Iroquois Lighthouse is a very unique structure. A stone fence and flower beds just add to the distinct look of this lighthouse. The building is managed, oddly enough, by the National Forest Service, as it lies within the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. The building has been turned into a museum, and visitors are encourage to climb the tower. However, the light has been removed. The tower overlooks Lake Superior, and you can see Canada is just a few miles across the water. If you are lucky, you might spot a lake freighter passing by. When you've had your fill of that, go downstairs and take a walk along the beach.

The "new" images were actually taken a few years ago. They were taken on a mild October afternoon. Enjoy!

Point Iroquois LighthouseIroquois Point Lighthouse

Point Iroquois LighthouseIroquois Point Lighthouse


About the Images

All the images that appear in this blog are available as high-quality matte prints through Zenfolio's print services. Click the gallery link above to browse through the selection.

Authors, editors, and publishers, please contact me if you are interested in obtaining a digital copy of any image for use in publications or advertising. Interior decorators may contact me regarding volume discounts for prints.

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