McLain State Park

Superior Self Portrait

Last summer, during our road trip, we made a stop in the Keewenaw Peninsula on at McLain State Park. The park had breathtaking views of Lake Superior and allowed you to view both the sunrise and sunset over the water, but it was in desperate need of repair. In my campground review, I mentioned that the bathhouse was the worst of the whole trip and the fact that the park had a bizarre layout due to the fact that the old campground road virtually crumbled into Lake Superior. Well, as I began planning our camping adventures for this summer, I noticed McLain was not open for reservations. I did some digging and learned that the park is beginning a major renovation this spring. Well, it seems like someone at the DNR must read this blog, because the first phase of the construction is going to focus on all of my complaints.  The plans include a new bathhouse as well as 30 new campsites and a new road throughout the campground. I am very excited for the renovations and will have to make reservations once its all complete.

About the Photo
I posted a similar photo shortly after our road trip and once I set up for that shot, I realized, it would make a great location for an epic self portrait. Sometimes, its fun to put yourself in the landscape to give it perspective.

Camera Gear
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens on a tripod

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. For more information about the construction plans for the park, click here.

2016: Year in Review

The Big Spring

At the end of last year, I made the goal to go at least one place I had never been before and I think I accomplished that and then some. I explored many parts of my home state that I had never visited before. I explored many of the towns on the Lake Michigan shore. I traveled to the northern tip of the Upper Peninsula. I spent some time exploring the Sunrise Coast along Lake Huron. In the fall, I headed south and explored Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail.  I discovered a few places that I can’t wait to return to and one or two that I would like to make annual visits to.

I feel like I took some of my best photos this year. All that exploration gave me needed inspiration for my photography. I did some more portrait work and even shot my first wedding this fall! I learned a lot about lighting and have been dabbling with off-camera flash (Chris is still the expert in this, but I’m learning). I really put my focus on Instagram this year and it has been great to see some of my photos get over 100 likes. Its almost unbelievable.

On a personal note, I lost my beloved 18 year cat, Ebert this fall and that has been so hard. Months later, I still get teary eyed thinking about him. A few months ago we adopted another fuzz ball, Roary, who we are training to be an Adventure Cat and take with us on our various adventures. If you want to see pictures of him, I’m always posting photos of him on Instagram with the hashtag #roarymowers.

I hope that 2017 will bring more improvement in my photography. I would like to upgrade from my entry level gear this coming year. And of course, I hope to continue exploring. I wonder what new place I was discover next year. Stay tuned to the blog to find out!

Thanks for stopping! 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.

Fort Wilkins – Protecting the Copper Country

Fort Wilkins B&W

During our summer road trip, we spent a day at the tip of the Keewenaw Peninsula, in Copper Harbor. One notable site in Copper Harbor is historic Fort Wilkins. I’ve visited a few forts in my travels from Fort Michilmackinac in Mackinac City  and Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West to Castillo de San Marcus in St. Augustine and there was something about For Wilkins that felt different. There are no stone barricades meant to keep enemies from invading. The buildings of Fort Wilkins look like small houses. This is because this fort was not built for war, but instead to assist the law enforcement in the Keewenaw. When copper was discovered in the upper peninsula, it was anticipated to bring lawlessness and chaos like the gold rush in California, but the miners that came were well behaved. When The Mexican American War broke out, the soldiers moved down to Texas and the fort was abandoned. After the Civil War, it was reoccupied to serve as a place for soldiers to serve out the rest of their enlistment. In 1923, the fort and nearby lighthouse became a Michigan State Park.

About the Photo:
With this photo, I was trying to go for an old-timey postcard feel.  This is a single RAW exposure, edited in Lightroom. I tried a bunch of different presets and none of them really did was I was trying to do, so I converted it to black and white and then did color and contrast adjustments until I got the photo you see above.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 28, 2016

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.

Kitch-iti-Kipi

Kitch-iti-Kipi
Kitch-iti-Kipi, AKA “The Big Spring” is the largest freshwater spring in Michigan. When I heard about this place, I had to add it to our road trip. Yes, it added a few extra hours to our longest driving day, but the view was unlike anything else I’ve seen. The only way to see the spring is by large raft that is maneuvered onto the spring by a wheel that propels the raft along a rope across the spring. An interesting fact about the spring is that the water is always 45 degrees so even in the dead of winter, it does not freeze. In fact, when it is cold, the fish congregate in the spring because it is warmer than surrounding waters.

About the Photo:
The spring was very difficult to photograph. It was a dreary, rainy day when we visited so the sky in my pictures was unusable. The above photo the best one I got and I actually took it on my phone and did a little Instagram editing.

Camera Gear:
iPhone 6

Date Taken:
June 27, 2016

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. To plan your visit to the springs, visit the Michigan DNR.

Epic Michigan Road Trip: Recap

McLain Sunset

Wow! I can’t believe this summer-long blog series is coming to an end. What am I going to write about now? Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on this epic trip, I wanted to give you a little recap and share some of my favorite things from the journey.

Favorite Campground: Straits State Park lower campground, St. Ignace. You just can’t beat that view! And that was the bathroom I now measure every campground bathroom to. I would love to make a trip to Straits an annual occasion!

Favorite Tourist Attraction: Soo Locks Boat Tour – Its one thing to watch the Locks from the viewing platform its another entirely to get to ride through them!

Best Natural Wonder: The Big Spring (AKA Kitch-iti-kipi) – This was a really tough decision, but I have never seen anything like this before. The water was so calm and such a unique color! It was breathtaking!

Best Sunset Spot: McLain State Park Campground – unobstructed views over Lake Superior and benches to watch it from. Not mention you can also catch a sunrise here.

Best UP Pasties: Lehto’s, St. Ignace – This is a no-frills restaurant that serves one thing, pasties. You can get them hot or chilled or frozen to take home. They also sell canned soda and they have picnic tables outside if you decide to eat them there. They stay warm awhile so we enjoyed ours in Manistique. If you’ve never had them, you can even order them online and they’ll ship them to you!

About the Photo:
Our second night at McLain we were able to catch this fabulous sunset. This is a big deal at this park and people flock towards the water to watch it. After the sun went down, most of the people went back to their sites, but the sky was not done with its show! Lately, I have noticed that the best colors seem to come out after sunset! Don’t rush off after the sun goes down, you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit len, on a tripod

Date Taken:
June 28, 2016

Thanks for stopping by and for following along on my trip! 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.