Spring on Leelanau Peninsula

Spring on the Peninsula

During our recent time in Traverse City, we decided to head to Leelanau State Park for sunset. We were a little early for sunset, so we headed out to the Lighthouse at the tip of the Peninsula. The clouds were really interesting at this point in time, but looking at this photo, you can see movement in the clouds. A little closer to sunset, we headed up to an overlook that looks over the dunes and the bay below. This would be an amazing spot for sunset if the sun was in a different spot in the sky.  According to The Photographer’s Ephemeris, the middle of June would be a great time to photograph the sunset at this spot. So, we continued on towards the beach and by this point, clouds have rolled in and the sun could only be seen in the opposite corner of the beach, so this shoot was kind of a bust but I was able to get this kind of interesting, reflective shot from the beach near the lighthouse. The moral of my story, not every shoot results in breathtaking images. Sometimes, you have to just relax and enjoy being outside and try another time.

Above I mentioned The Photographer’s Ephemeris. I recommend TPE to every photographer! You are able to put your pin at a photos spot on a map and it shows you where the sun and moon will be in the sky at any given day.  Obviously it can’t tell you what the cloud cover will be like, you’ll need your favorite weather app for that, but the web app is free and there is mobile app for when you are on the go. It was integral to planning our Chateau Grand Traverse shoot from a few weeks ago.

For more information about Leelanau State Park, visit the Michigan DNR. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

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Wine Tasting in Northern Michigan

Chateau Grand Traverse at Sunset

Back in November I wrote about Bourbon tasting in Kentucky. This past weekend we did a beverage tour that is much more my speed: we went wine tasting. Old Mission Peninsula extends into the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan extending out from the popular tourist town of Traverse City. The interesting thing about Old Mission Peninsula is that it lies on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, which is an ideal climate for growing grapes. Interestingly, Bordeaux is also on the 45th parallel.

Nine wineries make up the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail (although when we were there, I learned there are a few more wineries on the peninsula that for whatever reason aren’t on the wine trail) and on this trip we visited four of them: Chateau Grand Traverse, Bowers Harbor, 2 Lads, and Peninsula Cellars. Chateau Grand Traverse was founded in 1974 and was the first commercial winery in Northern Michigan and was the first Michigan winery to grow European grape varietals (Riesling, Chardonnay, etc.). Of the wineries we visited, Chateau Grand Traverse had the most extensive wine list and I liked that you could deduct your tasting fee from any purchases made in the tasting room. Chateau Grand Traverse offers a free tour that showcases their history as well as the wine making process. If you’re visiting the area, I highly recommend you check it out. We also loved Bowers Harbor, which is another one of the older wineries in the area, with the first vines being planted in 1991. Their wines are sophisticated and the tasting room is cozy. With the $5 tasting fee, you get to keep your glass. 2 Lads Winery is one of the newer wineries and its modern architecture really makes it stand apart from the others in the area. They have a smaller selection (you get 5 tastings for $5 and they tell you to basically choose the one you don’t want) but they were all complex and sophisticated.  Peninsula Cellars was the last winery we visited and it was the one we were least impressed with. It is housed in a historic schoolhouse and has a unique feel to it, but the tasting room was small and when a bus pulled in it got crowded. I wasn’t impressed with their wines at all, they were mostly too sweet for me. Overall, Chateau Grand Traverse and Bowers Harbor remain our favorites. We also liked 2 Lads and it will probably remain in the rotation with Chateau Chantal (which we didn’t visit this time but we have in the past) but we will skip Peninsula Cellars.

This photo of Chateau Grand Traverse was taken at the roadside park that is on the road right in front of the vineyard and tasting room. We got lucky that there was a stunning sunset that night. I had my tripod pointed toward the bay but when the sun poked out and illuminated the vines and the rooftop, I swiftly picked up the entire tripod and snapped a quick shot knowing that I was probably going to have to straighten in post processing. When I got back to my computer, I realized that this rapid-fire shot, was one of my favorites of the evening.

To plan your wine tasting tour of Old Mission, visit WineriesofOMP.com and OldMission.com. Please, explore the region responsibly. There are many tour companies in the area, but TraverseCityTours.com was the cheapest I could find. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Spring is in the Air

Apple Blossoms

Its officially spring and its starting to warm up around here. It may just be about time to come out of hibernation! While looking through my Lightroom library for a photo for today’s post, I realized that I haven’t taken a single photo in March (insert shocked emoji here)! I realize the month is not over so I’ve got work to do this week!

This photo was taken last spring during the Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan. Windmill Island Gardens is a sight to behold in spring with tulips as far as the eye can see, an authentic, 250 year old Dutch windmill, and beautiful flowering apple trees. Of course, during Tulip Time, you will also see wall to wall people. Immediately after snapping this photo, someone came up to me and asked to take their picture with their smartphone. Its funny, when you seem to know what you’re doing when it comes to photography, people trust you with their electronics. Just because I can use a DSLR, it does not mean I know how to operate your smartphone camera or your weird point and shoot.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

#igtravelchallenge April (Snow) Showers

April (Snow) Showers Towards the end of the #igtravelchallenge for March I was given the prompt “Its still winter here”. I was very happy to announce that it was spring in the lower peninsula. Well, just a few days after that post, I was celebrating spring break in West Michigan. One morning, towards the end of the week I woke up to this. It was beautiful so I had to go out and take some shots, but it was also freezing and I was not happy about that. Especially because The Weather Channel recently announced that March, April, and May were supposed to be unseasonably warm. Does this look unseasonably warm to you? I am happy to announce, that Mother Nature has realized her mistake and we are back to the beautiful spring weather I was expecting!

About the Photo:
This was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, handheld.

Date Taken:
April 2, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!