Saturday, August 22, 2015

Over the Bridge and on to Marquette

When you live in a place as lovely as Northport, there's not much of a pull to leave, especially in the summer.  But I decided to take a short vacation into the Upper Peninsula to explore an area I'd not visited before, Marquette, the largest city in the UP.

Our travel day was raining, but calm so I anticipated no difficulty crossing Mighty Mac.  I'd hoped to stop in Mackinaw City to take some bridge pictures and do a little shopping.  But as we neared the bridge, I learned there was a high wind warning so we decided to get across before the weather worsened.  The crossing was uneventful, thankfully, but we could see the straights below us were whipped up by the winds.

The force of the winds became even more evident as we traveled westward along Highway 2.

The skies went in and out from bits of sunshine to stormy and it was a beautiful drive along the low dunes that accompany the highway.

 Arriving in Marquette and driving along Lakeshore Boulevard to our lodging, I was struck by the sight of this hulking structure along the coastline.

 I later learned it was an abandoned ore dock.  Later in the day we would see the new dock in full operation.

Our first area to explore was Presque Isle (almost an island) recreational park located at the north end of Marquette.  A small lighthouse with a long breakwater was located not far from the park entrance.  While people were walking the wall, there was also a sign warning that high waves not only are beautiful, they can also have tragic results.  Iron gates could close off the pathway in strong weather.

We drove around the peninsula, stopping occasionally at the scenic turnouts.  Ancient rock formations dotted the shoreline, similar to what is seen at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

But what  I was most interested in seeing on my visit was the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse.  It's striking bright pink appearance made it something I had looked forward to photographing.  In 2002, the Marquette Maritime Museum took over the maintenance and control of the lighthouse.  Because it is located on active Coast Guard property, visitors can only view the museum through escorted tours.  On this particular day, there would be no tours, seemingly because of an influx of yellow jackets.

I was determined, however, to see more of the lighthouse.  Traveling along Lakeshore Boulevard, I pulled into several beach parking lots to see if the lighthouse was more visible.  Finally, on the third try, as the road curved sharply towards the light, I was able to catch more of it with my long lens.  Photographing some of the Harbor Light was better than photographing none of it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Getting Out the Harvest

"Eating local" and "farm-to-table" are more than common buzzwords on the current agricultural scene.  In a community that's highly dependent on farming of all kinds, Northport area farmers find many ways to get their harvests out to hungry people.

Revitalized a few years ago by the late George Anderson, the Northport Farmers Market is held from 9 am to 1 pm from June through early September.   It's located near the Depot and Marina in downtown Northport and always draws a good crowd eager for fresh food. 

Vendors sell all kinds of crops they've harvested in one way or another.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are the mainstay, but kettle corn, packaged cobbler mixes, and even occasional craft items are on display.

Small farm stands also dot the countryside at the tip.  I heard at breakfast a few days ago that the stand at the corner of Novotny and M-22 had sweet corn.  Checking out the tip, I could see three full bins of fresh sweet corn.  Three family members also sat on a nearby picnic table shucking corn to keep up with the demand.

Some farm stands are more elaborate than others.  This one, replete with a cooler and shelving, also had a bushel basket of corn awaiting first takers.

But edibles aren't the only items being harvested and sold.  This popular U-Pick farm just south of Omena had people walking through its lovely gardens and picking flowers that would eventually grace someone's dinner table or perhaps be bundled and given as a special gift.

Small stands holding firewood bundles are found throughout the country.  Their owners are ever mindful that those who travel Up North want a fire on the beach or at campsite in the Leelanau State Park.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Addendum to E-Commerce Post

Hi again...I've received several emails from interested subscribers that there were no "buy buttons" for my book and calendar in their email versions of my blog.  I've just discovered that if you subscribe to my blog via email, and a significant number of you do, you will have to go to my actual blog website to purchase books and calendars.  You can do that by going to the link below.  Sorry for the confusion.  Karen

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Trying a Little E-Commerce

Hi all...I've just added a little e-commerce to my blog.  I've had the request from several of my followers to be able to purchase photography items on my website.  I'm hearing this especially from friends who live outside the Northport area.  So I'm going to try it out and see how it goes. 

My first item for sale is my new book, just out this summer.  At the Tip features landscape and wildlife images I've taken around the Northport area, including the villages of Northport and Omena, and Leelanau Township.  Stories of my journey as a photographer and about particular images are included.  The book has a soft cover and is printed on quality semi-matte, 80# paper. It sells for $25.  If you are interested, you can click on the link at the right side of blog.

Also being offered online is my perennial favorite, Sights Around Northport, the 2016 version.  Featured in this year's calendar are images of the March 2015 Northern Lights spectacular explosion and encounters I've had with several kinds of wildlife native to our area.  The calendar sells for $11. 

I'm looking for feedback too so don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions or problems.  I'm at

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Young Sailors Catch the Wind

It's no secret that Northport has a high concentration of retirees.  That doesn't mean, however, there isn't a strong community commitment to our young people.  One successful endeavor aimed at our youth is the popular and productive Northport Youth Sailing School.  I headed over to the beach to check out what they might be up to.  I'd tried photographing the Wednesday night races the evening before, but they'd been cancelled due to small craft advisories and too much wind.  Safety first!

As I came upon the beach, I could see the young sailors were readying the new fleet of Optis for their afternoon sails.  And with the wind still being still quite strong, I imagined they would be facing some challenging waters.

Out first were two young girls in an Opti named Babe.

One sailor sat on the boat's side controlling the tiller and heeling out when she needed to; the second sat lower in the boat.

Two boys were out next in their Opti, 20/20.

What were they feeling?  Fear, exhilaration, fun?

The two boats eventually joined up out in choppy Northport Bay...

and practiced the skills they'd been learning in the classroom and on the water.  Sometimes they came into close contact!

Fortunately, instructors were always near by with their Zodiacs ready to give instructions and help when needed. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bay a couple older youth were out in a Laser Pico.

They too experienced the challenge and fun of sailing in choppy waters and strong winds.  Both heeled in the Laser, a much quicker and responsive boat.

Coming about in these conditions was especially demanding, but it looked like all the students had a good time and honed some new skills about sailing in windy seas.