Michael W. Collins Photography: Blog https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Michael W. Collins [email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:28:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:28:00 GMT https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u535668282-o401851794-50.jpg Michael W. Collins Photography: Blog https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog 80 120 Four Lighthouses and Four Sunsets https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/8/four-lighthouses-and-four-sunsets 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:

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:

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:

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 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!





[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Au Sable Point Charlevoix Crisp Point Lake Michigan Lake Superior Ludington lighthouse sunset https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/8/four-lighthouses-and-four-sunsets Sat, 11 Aug 2012 15:24:11 GMT
Pictured Rocks by Boat https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/8/pictured-rocks-by-boat 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:

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!


[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Chapel Lake Lakeshore Michigan National Pictured Rock Rocks Superior https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/8/pictured-rocks-by-boat Sat, 11 Aug 2012 14:44:53 GMT
Scenes from Seney https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/scenes-from-seney 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 opportunities 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!



[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Michigan Seney Seney National Wildlife Refuge Upper Penninsula Wildlife Refuge https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/scenes-from-seney Fri, 20 Apr 2012 01:58:58 GMT
Badlands in Silhouette https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/badlands-in-silhouette 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:


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".



[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Badlands National Park South Dakota https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/badlands-in-silhouette Wed, 18 Apr 2012 04:22:27 GMT
Two Images of Point Iroquois Lighthouse Added https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-images-of-point-iroquois-lighthouse-added 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!


[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Hiawatha National Forest Lake Superior Lighthouse Michigan National Forest Service Point Iroquois Lighthouse stone fence https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-images-of-point-iroquois-lighthouse-added Sun, 15 Apr 2012 14:15:16 GMT
Big Splash in South Haven https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/big-splash-in-south-haven Sometimes, a mistake can result in a better opportunity than the original intent. In the case at hand, I had actually set out to take pictures of the Holland Harbor Lighthouse. However, I missed the exit. Grrr! In my defense, I was passing a truck and didn't see the sign - that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Anyway, I had a decision to make - should I get off at the next exit and turn back, or continue south on US-31 to visit the South Haven South Pier Light? As either one would be fine, I decided to continue on. I'm glad I did, because the conditions on Lake Michigan were windy, which translates to choppy waves and images of the waves splashing hard against the end of the lighthouse pier. This was in winter, so it was pretty cold, but I hope you agree that the image below was worthy of the effort, and a salvation of my earlier mistake! Here's one of my favorite images from that outing:

[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Lake Michigan Michigan South Haven South Haven South Pier Light lighthouse https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/big-splash-in-south-haven Sat, 14 Apr 2012 19:10:55 GMT
Pentwater Pier Lights https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/pentwater-pier-lights On a whim, last autumn I decided to attempt to get sunset shots with the Pentwater Pier Lights in silhouette. Unfortunately, the clouds had become pretty thick, with no break to let the sun peek through. Thus, that original whim was rowed out into Lake Michigan and unceremoniously dumped overboard with an anchor attached! Better luck next time, I guess.

Despite my disappointment, I stuck around, anyway, and figured I'd just try out different compositions that I could use some day in the future when the conditions might be a little more favorable. When I loaded the images into Lightroom and started reviewing them, I thought they might stand out better as black and white images, so I ran them through Nik Silver Effex to see what I could get. Here are two of the better images that I captured that night:



[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Charles Mears State Park Lake Michigan Michigan Pentwater Pentwater Pier Lights lighthouse https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/pentwater-pier-lights Fri, 13 Apr 2012 03:17:17 GMT
More Pictures of the Michigan City East Pierhead Light Added https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/more-pictures-of-the-michigan-city-east-pierhead-light-added I have only visited the Michigan City East Pierhead Light two times, so far. I already posted an image from earlier this year. These images were both taken on the same cold, November morning last year. The first shows the lighthouse building framed by the catwak:


The second image was taken from the beach, and shows just how rough Lake Michigan can get at times:


When creating images like this, I like to get lots of shots, trying to time them for the most dramtic splashes, or the most interesting wave patterns. It's a little bit of an art, and a lot of luck, patience, and persistence. Waves just have this indelible habit of being unpredicatble, so taking lots of images allows me to choose one or two that have a bit more "umph".






[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Indiana Lake Michigan Michigan City Michigan City East Pierhead Light waveslighthouse https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/more-pictures-of-the-michigan-city-east-pierhead-light-added Thu, 12 Apr 2012 03:22:57 GMT
Two Images of the Old Michigan City Lighthouse Added https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-images-of-the-old-michigan-city-lighthouse-added I visited the Old Michigan City Lighthouse on the way back from a conference in Chicago. The early morning light was decent enough to get some usable images. The lighthouse itself is now a museum, and only open seasonally, so I wasn't able to get the kind of image I would really like, but that just gives me an excuse to revist! Nevertheless, I like these two images, and I hope you will, too! The first gives you a complete image of the front side of the building:

The second image gives you a detail shot:




[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Indiana Lake Michigan Michigan City Old Michigan City Lighthouse lighthouse museum https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-images-of-the-old-michigan-city-lighthouse-added Sun, 08 Apr 2012 14:49:09 GMT
Overlooked Gems https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/overlooked-gems Lighthouses are a favorite subject of mine, and they are certainly popular with the general public. When I'm done taking pictures of a given lighthouse, I like to turn my attention to other subjects nearby. Often, there is a breakwater light paired with the main lighthouse, as in the case of the White River Lighthouse on Lake Michigan. These structures are often very simple cylinders with a flashing light on top, so they are often overlooked by photographers and tourists. Yet, sometimes they can make for very simple, but colorful compositions. Here's a recently posted image that I hope you will enjoy:

[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Lake Michigan Michigan White River Breakwater Light Whitehall https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/overlooked-gems Sat, 07 Apr 2012 20:13:03 GMT
Two More Random Lighthouse Pictures Added https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-more-random-lighthouse-pictures-added Work continues on digging back into my archives for images to post. The latest two include one of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, one of the Grand Haven Lighthouse. The Marquette picture was taken during a tour of the lighthouse, which is the only easy way to get on the lighthouse grounds. So, it's a mid-afternoon shot, and hand-held, but I like it. Hopefully, you will too! Here's the image:

Marquette is in Michigan's Upper Penninsula. The lighthouse overlooks Lake Superior, and the light is still operational.


Even though I live in the center of Michigan, on windy days I sometimes take my gear to my day job and then head out to Lake Michigan after work to capture images of the waves hitting the lighthouse piers. It makes for a long day, but sometimes the results can be very rewarding! Here's one such image that was taken in the spring about a year ago:

Grand Haven Lighthouse_STC8326

I would normally use a telephoto lens to get closeups of the waves hitting the end of the pier, but for this image, I used a wide angle to try to give the viewer a better sense just how choppy Lake Michigan can get when the winds are strong.


[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Grand Haven Grand Haven Lighthouse Lake Michigan Lake Superior Marquette Marquette Harbor Lighthouse Michigan Upper Penninsula lighthouse https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/4/two-more-random-lighthouse-pictures-added Sat, 07 Apr 2012 04:02:51 GMT
Three New lighthouse Images Added https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/3/three-new-lighthouse-images-added Sometimes, I actually find time to process images I've taken months ago. I've just added three such images to my lighthouse gallery. The oldest was taken last spring, in Grand Haven. High winds were responsible for creating moderately high waves on Lake Michigan. Watching the waves splash against lighthouse piers can almost be addictive! The resulting splash is sometimes as high, or higher, than the lighthouse, as shown here:


Not seen in this image is the nut job who had his surf board out in the water not far from the end of the pier. He never did get on it, which probably is a good thing. Eventually, he cam ashore, so I was able to get a clean shot without his head poking out between waves.

The next image was taken this past February in Michigan City, Indiana. The Michigan City East Pier Lighthouse is the subject. It's one I've only visited twice, but will keep going back.


The last image was taken just a few weeks ago, in Ludington, Michigan. The Ludington North Pierhead Light was the subject this time. I was able to get nice sunset shots, but still have to fully process those. This image was taken after sundown, when the colors really lit up. Here's the result:

That's it for this post. I'll try to get more images uploaded next week.

[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Grand Haven Grand Haven Lighthouse Indiana Lake Michigan Ludington Ludington Lighthouse Ludington North Pierhead Light Michigan Michigan City Michigan City Lighthouse lighthouse https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/3/three-new-lighthouse-images-added Sun, 25 Mar 2012 02:00:28 GMT
The Tides of March https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/3/the-tides-of-march So, right from the start, you can see from the title that my sense of humor (or lack thereof, as some would say) can be rather cringe-worthy. The title underscores the fact, however, that March is usually a good time for me to get out and photograph my favorite Lake Michigan lighthouses. Sunsets can be very dramatic at this time of the year, as well as early fall, since the position of the sun as it sets aligns nicely with the end of the pier at some lighthouses. So, despite the cost of gas, I frequently pack up my gear and head west to the "Third Coast" to grab a few images. I've been hitting the Ludington North Pierhead Light a couple of times the last few weeks, as well as Grand Haven and Michigan City. I'll be adding the new images to the Lighthouse gallery as time permits.



[email protected] (Michael W. Collins Photography) Grand Haven Grand Haven Lighthouse Indiana Lake Michigan Ludington Ludington Lighthouse Ludington North Pierhead Light Michigan Michigan City Michigan City Lighthouse South Haven South Haven Lighthouse lighthouse sunset https://www.mwcollinsphoto.com/blog/2012/3/the-tides-of-march Wed, 14 Mar 2012 04:35:21 GMT