Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top Ten Favorites of 2016

As each year ends, we often look back over the past year and reflect on the big news and sports stories, the people who've died, and make resolutions for the new year.  I too like to review the past year in pictures and choose my favorites.  Often I select pictures because of the experience I had while photographing the topic.  These are my ten favorite images of 2016:

The Supermoon of this past November was heralded as the largest moon since 1948.  Here the Supermoon rises above Grand Traverse Bay during the hour after sunset, known as the "blue hour."

Blossom-time is a  special time in cherry county.  I used this image as the cover of my 2017 calendar.  I like the contrast between the blue sky, the red bard, and the white blossoms.

As a backyard birder, I enjoy watching the birds that visit my feeders.  Here a beautiful Red-Bellied Woodpecker savors a delicacy from a seed cylinder.

Fall color season brings out the leaf peepers, just as spring brings the blossom seekers.  This beautiful yellow tree stands out against a brilliant sky at the entrance to the road up to Braman Hill.

Many of us living in the North Country enjoy sunset watching.  I was lucky to have caught this sailboat as it passed through a brilliant July sunset.

Deer are among my favorite critters to photograph, with spring fawns being a special delight to watch.  I love how this young one flipped its tail as it raced through the woods.

I love Empire Bluffs and especially the long dune grass in several varieties.  Here fierce winds bend the grass nearly flat against the sand.

These fox kits, along with two other siblings, entertained village folk for nearly a month as they frolicked outside their den under a garage on North Shore.

The sunflower farm off M-204 was so striking, the view took my breath away when I came upon it.  I know others were struck by its beauty also because many had stopped to take pictures also. 

My favorite image of 2016 is this sunset photo of the Grand Traverse Light.  I love how the golden light is reflected on both the side of the structure and in the windows.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Lights Send Diverse Messages

Merry Christmas, everyone.  As always, I appreciate your support and visits to my blog.  Karen

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Lights Loved Everywhere

I spent the week unpacking and organizing my condo.  I hadn't touched my camera since the move, but, in the back of my mind, I wondered what I would write about this week.  I had barely left my home, let alone had the time to explore the natural areas I was hoping to visit.  Finally, I asked myself what I would be photographing if I were still in Northport?  It came to me easily then.  Christmas Lights!

So Gracie and I set off on our first photoshoot in Traverse City.  Cruising the neighborhoods not far from my home, I found abundant displays.  Some were fun-loving and bright like this one.

Others were religious and showed the true reason behind the holiday season.

I saw many houses decorated with traditional lighted wreaths and icicle strands hanging from the eaves. 

In other areas, owners had decked out their whole yard with lights on trees, bushes, and fence rows.

At one point, I wanted to turn the car around to take a shot from a different angle, but there were no driveways!  Oh, yes. I remembered in this area of older homes, the garages were behind the homes in alleys.  And they were decorated too!

The folks on this alley must have collaborated because almost the whole alley was festooned with elaborate decorations.

What I learned from my first drive around the city was that expressing the holiday spirit through displays of Christmas lights is a universal one, whether in Traverse City or Northport.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Starting Friday, I will be trading my life as a homeowner in the woods north of Northport for condo living in Traverse City.  I’m ready for a slimmed-down lifestyle, but it’s not without some emotional stirrings.  I will miss the many friendships I've developed here, but am confident we'll work to preserve these meaningful relationships.  What’s not as easy to maintain are the ephemeral moments I’ve had with the critters and landscapes I’ve photographed.  I’m sharing some of my favorites in this week’s blog post.

In the critter category, the fox was one of my favorite subjects.  It would pass by my bird feeders almost on a daily basis for a couple years.

Deer were also frequent visitors to my land.  During the spring, I was lucky enough to watch fawns grow and develop into mature white tails.

Photographing the Snowy Owl on a Christmas Eve afternoon was another peak experience.  I've heard sightings of Snowies happen in Traverse City too so I'm looking forward to seeing them there too.

This young Red-Tailed Hawk was perched on an electrical wire in my neighborhood.  Its eyes and claws creeped me out as to the damage this bird might inflict.

An enchanting evening at Cross Farms allowed me to photograph two Sand Hill Cranes doing their pair bonding dance.

Of course, my favorite critter to photograph is the one at home, Gracie, my three year-old mini-goldendoodle.  She loves to pose for the camera.

On the landscape side of my photography, the Northern Lights are a phenomenon we all enjoy seeing.  This night the auroras were on fire right in my neighborhood.

 Grand Traverse Light was an oft photographed subject of mine.  I love this image with the sunset reflected in the windows and side of the structure.

The Old Mill Pond was a delight to capture on this sunny fall day where the colors were reflected in the still pond waters.

This moody spring shot taken with fog rising on Kehl Lake is one of my favorites too.

Spring blossomtime is another special time on the peninsula.  I used this image on my sold-out 2017 calendar.

Winter brings another kind of quiet beauty, as with this view of an empty swing near Omena Bay.

As you may have noticed, I’ve modified the format of my blog to reflect the changes going on in my life.  I’ll continue to post weekly images on a theme, but my focus will be more on the Great Up North vs. solely on Northport and the Leelanau Peninsula.  Oh, I’ll still return for occasional photo shoots in the village, township, and the peninsula, but I’ll also be exploring new vistas as I get to know my new environs.  As always, thank you for visiting.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chasing a Southerly Sunset

I started out at Peterson Park to photograph the sunset.  I had Gracie with me so preferred to stay in the car for my photoshoot.  Driving up North Foxview, I had a beautiful vista to the south of the sun starting to set over Lake Michigan.

But it was a location I'd shot from many times and, that evening, I was seeking something different.  So I chased the southerly sunset on Leelanau back roads, hoping to get a more head-on view of the nightly spectacle.

Along the way, I'd catch sight of the sinking sun and Lake Michigan through the trees.

As is easy to do on this peninsula, I lost track of the direction I was going in.  I thought I was traveling south, but my car compass said I was heading west.  I was just in time to see the sun dip through a bank of clouds into the Lake.

The afterglow over Lakes Leelanau and Michigan was spectacular.  While the clouds had occluded the sunset somewhat, they also added interest to the pink and darkening sky.

A rosy afterglow on my left accompanied me all the way back home to Northport.  It was definitely a more interesting sunset experience.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Winter Arrives

It was the first Winter Storm Warning of the season.  Three to seven inches of snow had been predicted.

But barely an inch or two actually fell, sufficient to grease the roads and walkways.

The dusting was just enough to brighten the landscape and add to the fall colors that still remained.

The real story of the storm wasn’t the snow, however.  It was the winds.  A few gusts at 57 mph were recorded around Northport, resulting in some snapped off branches and occasional downed trees.

Prairie grasses were laid nearly flat by the high winds.

 Over on Lake Michigan huge waves crashed the shoreline.  Surfers played in the churned up waters on both sides of the peninsula.

The lake was saturated with white caps and gulls riding air currents filled the sky.

Not only had winter arrived, but so had the gales of November.