Thursday, October 28, 2021



As is typical, Traverse City folks have decorated their yards in earnest for Halloween!  It was great fun photographing the scary (and not-so-scary) displays throughout the area.  It was amazing to see all the hard work, creativity, and technology that went into these exhibits.  Enjoy!



Thursday, October 21, 2021



I always look forward to photographing the fall color season, but this one seems unusual.  Either the fall colors are late inland for mid-October, or they’re going to be less vibrant.  Still, I’ve been out photographing what color I can find.  Until early this week, many of those days were gray and cloudy, and some were even rainy.  So much affects the color change:  temperature, light, and water supply.  I guess I’m going to have to wait a bit longer to see how the color season shakes out. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021


Last week Tuesday, I drove north with a couple friends to the Mackinac Straits area.  We hoped to see some fall color, have a good lunch, shop a bit, and visit another lighthouse.

The forecast was for sunny skies, but we were accompanied instead by gray clouds and fog most of the trip.  When we arrived at Mackinaw City, the bridge was busy as usual, but you could see neither of the towers through the fog.


 I drove further down the beach, hoping to catch a better view of the bridge.  While the anchorage piers supporting the suspension section of the Big Mac were visible, the 500-hundred-foot-high towers were still inaccessible to view.  So we moved on to have lunch and do some shopping.


  In my quest to see more Michigan lighthouses, I hoped to visit the McGulpin Point Lighthouse, which is about three miles west of Mackinaw City.  The light is set on a promontory known as McGulpin Point, which is also near the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.


 The Lighthouse was built in 1869 and serves as a navigational aid through the Straights of Mackinac.  It’s a true lighthouse with the tower attached to the lighthouse keeper’s living space.  


The lighthouse has undergone several renovations since its origin.  A new, historically accurate lantern and railing were installed in 2009 after being made in Onaway by Moran Iron Works.  When the lighthouse is open, visitors can climb the winding stairway to the top.  Imagine the views from there!


 The red metal roof is also a new addition, but the brick is mostly the original Cream City brick, made from clay found near Milwaukee and a favorite of the the U.S. Lighthouse Board of that era.


 The light keeper residence is now a museum and gift shop.  There is also a Discovery Trail that you can walk and learn the history of the lighthouse and area through cultural docents, such as the McGulpins, Native warrior Nissowaquet, and fur trader Charles de Langlade.


 And want to extend your visit to the Lighthouse and area even longer?  You can stay in the McGulpin Point Cottage, which has one-bedroom overnight accommodations right on the grounds of the museum.


 As for seeing a little fall color?  There wasn’t much, just an occasional patch along the roadway as you see here.  Still, it was a good day with friends.


Thursday, October 7, 2021



We’ve had many beautiful fall days of late.  Last week Wednesday was one one of them and I couldn’t resist the pull for a drive to Empire to visit the beach there.


 I felt myself relax as I pulled into a parking spot and watched the calm, beautiful blue waters of Lake Michigan.  It was a Not-A-Cloud-In-the-Sky kind of day.  Ahhhh…


 The beach was quite busy with about a third of the parking spots filled.  There were many bicyclists too.  I watched a man and his black Lab enjoying the water on a paddle board and tried to imagine Gracie and I doing that.  LOL.


 At the far end of the parking lot stands a small lighthouse.  I’ve always thought it wasn’t a real lighthouse, but just for show.  Lots of folks like to get their pictures taken in front of it.


 A plaque on the Lighthouse reads “In Memory of Robert H. Manning  Dedicated in 1991.”  It got me wondering whether there was more to this lighthouse than I previously had thought.  When I got home, I pulled up lighthouse information on my computer. 


 Turns out, the Manning Light is a real lighthouse, the second newest in Michigan.  According to Wikipedia, Robert Manning was a longtime resident of Empire who enjoyed fishing offshore, and often returned from these boat trips late at night. He often remarked to people he wished a lighthouse was in the area to aid in that navigation. Manning died in 1989, and friends and relatives raised funds to build the lighthouse as a memorial. 


 Empire Beach is a great place to spend an afternoon.  Always people to watch.  Lots of activity to be involved in if you want.  Or, in my case, to relax and watch the water.  And the bluffs of Sleeping Bear to the north.


 And the Manitou Islands.  The afternoon was waning and it was time to head back to TC before "rush-hour" traffic began.

As we left the park, I stopped for one last snap of lovely South Bar Lake.  What a nice afternoon it had been!  A beautiful time at Lake Michigan, plus a new lighthouse for my collection.