I had a busy photographic summer, starting with a June trip to the West Michigan town of Ludington, MI with members of the A2 Shutterbugs Meetup and then ending with a September trip to South Haven, MI with a new friend from that first meetup. The goal of the first trip was lighthouses and sand dunes; for the second, the South Haven light. I can’t believe it has taken me five months to post some of the images, but maybe these summertime images will warm us up as the late fall chill creeps in.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse
We started our meetup sojourn at the “Ludrock” summer festival in Ludington to pass the afternoon. Then, as evening approached, we hiked a mile and a half north along the beach to see this 112-foot lighthouse. We took some sunset and late evening shots of the lighthouse, but I prefer this earlier and more distant shot from the south. The structure to the left of the light, showing at the horizon, sits on a light steel structure and is a bit of a mystery to me, but I think it houses a fog horn. Learn more about this light.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse
This light has an interesting history, as related to me by volunteer guides at the entrance. Built of red brick in 1874, it was difficult for ships coming across Lake Michigan to see the tower in the daytime because of the dark woods behind the tower. So, they painted it white. Then, as lumber companies stripped the West Michigan woods of lumber to help Chicago rebuild after the great fire of 1871, the white tower became hard to see against the light sand dunes. So, they stripped the paint, leaving the red brick tower we see today.
Well, that’s what the guide told me. Wikipedia tells the story slightly differently.
In my post about climbing Koko Crater from March of 2015, I referenced it’s 1048 steps as equivalent to climbing the stairs of 3 or 4 lighthouses. Twenty years ago, or so, we took our daughter up a few lighthouses on Lake Huron – I could have sworn they had three- or four-hundred steps. I was only off by a factor of four! This lighthouse has 130 or so steps, and the guide said that it had the most steps of any lighthouse in Michigan.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Finding a small group of bleached of tree trunks on these West Michigan dunes was a pleasant surprise. With harsh late morning sun, the brightness of the silver-gray trunks and sand made it possible to not over-expose the sky, resulting in that smooth pastel blue.
Now, with the sun almost directly overhead, the sand washes out allowing isolation of my fellow photographers in retreat from a busy 24 hours of shooting.
South Haven Light
I returned to West Michigan in late September with ambitions to photograph the South Haven, MI lighthouse, only to discover that it was shrouded in scaffolding and tarps while under repairs. In this long exposure after sunset, the lighthouse is inside the cylindrical structure at the end of the string of white lights.
West Michigan Beach at Covert, MI
And, to close things out, here is a serene view of Lake Michigan looking west toward Chicago and Milwaukee.