Happy New Year, everyone. I’m not into resolutions for the new year because they so often get broken. Instead, I have a wish for 2021: to photograph more lighthouses. Did you know that Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state? The current number seems to be 124. I’ve seen many on the west side of our state, but have only photographed eight. Here are the one’s in my current collection.
Grand Traverse Light is the lighthouse I’ve photographed the most due to my years living outside Northport. Built in 1858 at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, this light, also known as Cat’s Head Point Light, marks the Manitou Passage. The Passage was a treacherous waterway separating the Manitou Islands from mainland Michigan. It’s deemed the most dangerous passage on the Great Lakes due to the navigable channel being only a mile wide and home to shoals, sudden storms, and ship collisions.
Mission Point Light is situated at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, which divides the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay. I’ve photographed this light often since moving to Traverse City four years ago. It’s surrounded by woods on three sides with the fourth open to the north end of West Grand Traverse Bay. It’s a great place to visit for a summer picnic.
Point Betsie Light is one of my favorites to photograph due to the striking red gambrel roof on the lighthouse keeper’s house next to the white lighthouse tower, and its location among the Benzie County sand dunes.
The Frankfort Light is the one I go to when it’s windy. Located on the north breakwater in the Frankfort harbor, it’s great to photograph the big waves when the winds are high. I’ve had to wear glasses and use a protective filter on my camera because the winds also kick up a LOT of sand on the beach.
Old Mackinac Point Light is the last lighthouse I’ve photographed from the Lower Peninsula. Located at the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, this light was the first attempt to mark the western entrance to the Straits and protect mariners from the dangerous shoals nearby. When the Mackinac Bridge was completed in 1957, the need for the lighthouse was eliminated because the lights on the bridge at night became a much better navigational aid.
My current favorite lighthouse is the Crisp Point Light, located on Lake Superior in a very remote area between Munising and Whitefish Point. The stretch of coast between Whitefish Point and Grand Island, just north of Munising, has become known as The Shipwreck Coast, and it was only 17 miles northeast of Crisp Point that the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during a violent storm on November 10, 1975. The day I took this photo, Lake Superior was wild with winds and high waves.
The Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light is located at the northeast side of Presque Isle Harbor in Marquette, Michigan. It is an automated light marking the offshore end of the breakwater. When conditions are safe, people walk the break wall out to the light.
The Marquette Harbor Light is located on Lake Superior in Marquette, a part of the UP. It is a challenge to photograph due to the rocky shore and scrubby trees surrounding it. Regardless, the light really stands out due to its hot pink coloring.
So, during 2021, my hope is to travel to more of Michigan lighthouses and photograph them for this blog. Again, let's hope 2021 is a better year for our State and Country.