CraneFest

CraneFest

On This Date: Photo taken 10/9/2010

Big Marsh Lake is more marsh than lake. Sandhill Cranes live there.

Michigan Audubon and the Battle Creek Kiwanis host CraneFest every October at the Kiwanis Youth Area by Big Marsh Lake, near Bellevue, Michigan. Joan and I attend most years. The hosts also make the crane viewing area available on subsequent weekends in October and November; we sometimes instead/also make it for one of those weekends.

Imagine hundreds of raucous, tall birds in a single location–overhead, or at “rest” in the swamp.


Workshops. An art fair. A book sale. Food. Birds, of course. And probably things I’ve forgotten.

It’s this weekend. You should go.

Number of pix taken on various October 9ths: 398 [a few are by Joan, of me helping with the sidewalk project]
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 10
  • 2 Stars: 85
  • 3 Stars: 204
  • 4 Stars: 88
  • 5 Stars: 11

Gate

Gate

On This Date: Photo taken 9/30/2014

This gate, on Bunker Highway north of Eaton Rapids, blocks access to the remnant right-of-way of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway (aka New York Central) branch that ran between Jonesville and North Lansing. It’s across the road from the factory/warehouse complex that was built by the Michigan Peat Company in, I think, 1904.


About 30 years back I got curious about the diagonal boundary of my apartment complex. This led to a personal research project to trace the LS & MS branch to North Lansing. I discovered obvious remnants all along the line. Bridge abutments in Dimondale. An old depot in Springport. Still active rail lines in south Lansing. Property lines here and there that made no obvious sense. And an odd complex of large buildings north of Eaton Rapids.

I eventually found an explanation for the large buildings on Bunker in W. Scott Munn’s delightful The Only Eaton Rapids on Earth. Munn considered the Peat Company a fraudulent enterprise; others considered it a failed experiment. At this distance it’s hard to tell. Both interpretations may well be true.

I’ve discussed this before, and have posted a number of photographs of the Peat Company complex.

Number of pix taken on various September 30ths: 97
Year of oldest photo: 2007

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 2
  • 2 Stars: 9
  • 3 Stars: 68
  • 4 Stars: 18
  • 5 Stars: 0

Empire Bluff

Empire Bluff

On This Date: Photo taken 9/26/2009

Photo taken from south of the dune, at Esch Beach. I usually photograph this hill from the beach at Empire Village, on the north side.

I posted a similar photograph in 2009, shortly after I took these.


There’s a fairly short trail on the top of the bluff, running from a parking lot atop the hill to a boardwalk along the dune’s face. It’s an excellent, though somewhat hilly, walk through old orchards, leading to a fine view of Lake Michigan and the neighboring dunes and beaches.

The Air Force used to operate a radar station atop Empire’s dune. In 1970 the Army posted me to a similar facility in northern California. This gives me a completely imaginary tie to Empire, and warms my heart. The view from Mt. Tam may–or may not–have been better.

Number of pix taken on various September 26ths: 886
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 53
  • 3 Stars: 527
  • 4 Stars: 266
  • 5 Stars: 39

The Sun Rises Over Lake Huron

The Sun Rises Over Lake Huron

On This Date: Photo taken 9/2/2012

Sunrise is not the main reason we stay on the waterfront in Saint Ignace, but it’s one of the reasons.

Notice the hotel’s fake owl on the right edge of the photo. We think it was supposed to keep the gulls away. It didn’t work.


The Great Lakes shoreline changes, sometimes in ways you wouldn’t expect. The water’s a lot higher these days than it was five years back, so the beach now ends about where those chairs were.

But there’s more. It appears that the rising water’s completely eroded the small peninsula that used to extend from the hotel’s beach into the Straits. We didn’t expect that.

Number of pix taken on various September 2nds: 533
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 1
  • 2 Stars: 65
  • 3 Stars: 380
  • 4 Stars: 81
  • 5 Stars: 6

Cooley Bridge

Cooley Bridge

On This Date: Photo taken 8/18/2013

Since the Cut River Bridge is temporarily out of commission, I thought I’d point folks to its near-twin on M-55, across the Pine River near Wellston.

2013 was chaotic enough that we didn’t actually plan vacations. For our August vacation Joan said to “Find us a cabin by a lake.” Discovered that cabins by Lake Michigan cost about the same as hotel rooms near Lake Michigan, which ruled that out. Began thinking about cabins elsewhere. Eventually I remembered Wellston.


In 1965 and 1966 I spent most of August in Wellston, at Northwoods Cabins, with the Loy Norrix High School Cross Country team. We ran.

Sometimes we ran to this bridge.

Yeah, Joan and I stayed at Northwoods Cabins. But we didn’t run. Except maybe to cross M-55, once or twice.

Number of pix taken on various August 18ths: 1264
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 85
  • 3 Stars: 992
  • 4 Stars: 175
  • 5 Stars: 12

Revision History:

Stump

Stump

On This Date: Photo taken 8/12/2008

Since we pass by Hartwick Pines State Park most times we head north, in 2008 we decided to make it our August destination.

The park’s famous for its tall pines, one last stand saved from the loggers by the daughter of a logger to honor her late husband. When I was a kid the stand featured The Monarch, Michigan’s tallest tree. The Monarch’s died, but the remaining trees are still impressive.


The park could just as well be famous for its stump fields, a different testimony to Michigan’s natural resources.

Number of pix taken on various August 12ths: 526
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 0
  • 2 Stars: 77
  • 3 Stars: 321
  • 4 Stars: 105
  • 5 Stars: 23

Sturgeon Point Light

Sturgeon Point Light

On This Date: Photo taken 8/9/2016

On Lake Huron, a few miles north of Harrisville, Michigan. Or a rather more miles south of Alpena.

Joan’s taking a photograph of this boat.


We visit and vacation on Lake Huron all the time. But both Cheboygan and Saint Ignace are on the Straits, and Port Huron’s actually south of the Lake–that leaves a lot of Michigan’s sunrise coast we’d never seen. So last year we decided to try somewhere between.

I’d done a bit of scouting in October of 2015, so we reserved a campsite at Harrisville State Park.

Had a fine time. We might well do this again.

Number of pix taken on various August 9ths: 577 [includes 2 by my brother]
Year of oldest photo: 2006

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 2
  • 2 Stars: 90
  • 3 Stars: 318
  • 4 Stars: 150
  • 5 Stars: 17

Richard’s pix were of a pretty butterfly.

The Upper Falls

The Upper Falls

On This Date: Photo taken 8/1/2003

I don’t always do baseball on the first of August.

In 2003 we were camped at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The campgrounds are downstream, near the Lower Falls. We spent much of the vacation away from the river, exploring parts of the park most people don’t notice.

The water was low in 2003, and the Upper Falls were kind of lacy, with less color than usual.


Yup. Two photographs for this project today. I’m considering a third.

This photo’s framing is fairly representative of my habits. Someone else, shooting from the same location, would find a different framing–and a different photograph.

That’s good. Life would be boring if we all took the exact same photographs.

Truth told, most Upper Falls photographs are fairly conventional. This is partly a consequence of the park’s design, but it’s more because the falls live in a gorge–itself a constraint.

Number of pix taken on various August 1sts: 1505
Year of oldest photo: 2003

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 3
  • 2 Stars: 94
  • 3 Stars: 1220
  • 4 Stars: 178
  • 5 Stars: 10

Old Reliable

Old Reliable

On This Date: Photo taken 7/14/2016

People think of #2 Shafthouse as Quincy Mine, but it’s only the most prominent in a large collection of buildings, many of which are damaged or missing. The shafthouse is now part of a museum complex on the site of the former mine, run by the Quincy Mine Hoist Association. It’s a key component of the Keweenaw National Historical Park, which celebrates Michigan’s copper mining heritage.

A year ago–a dull grey day, as you can see–we decided to leave our Fort Wilkins campsite and visit the mine. It was an interesting visit, and we got some good photographs. Definitely worth the trip.


Two photographs today. Just because.

Quincy was one of the world’s great copper mines, producing ore from 1844 through 1945 (or 1931, or about 1970–sources vary, probably for good reasons, though the last date’s likely a stretch).

When I was younger the shafthouse was a rusty thing, but the Association restored it around 1990. I toured the place shortly after the restoration with a railfan group, part of a very interesting fall weekend looking at mining museums and remnants of the Copper Range Railroad. Our visit a year ago was far less ambitious.

Number of pix taken on various July 14ths: 647
Year of oldest photo: 2005

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 2
  • 2 Stars: 59
  • 3 Stars: 448
  • 4 Stars: 125
  • 5 Stars: 13

Stockade

Stockade

On This Date: Photo taken 7/11/2016

Fort Wilkins was built in the 1840s to keep the peace between the copper miners and the natives, who’d recently signed away their rights to what we call the Upper Peninsula at the (first) Treaty of LaPointe. The peacekeeping turned out to be minimal and the fort was largely abandoned after a couple years.

The Army briefly reopened the post after the Civil War, evidently just because they needed a place for soldiers to finish out their terms. The Army’s like that.

Wilkins is a godforsaken place, at the extreme end of the Keweenaw Peninsula, out in the middle of Lake Superior.

Wilkins is a beautiful place, at the extreme end of the Keweenaw Peninsula, out in the middle of Lake Superior.

It’s all a matter of perspective.


Another way to describe the location: Fort Wilkins is at the extreme northern end of US-41.

I first visited the fort in 1965, and find my way up there about once a decade. It’s a wonderful place to stay for a few days. I’m reasonably sure I don’t want to live in the adjacent town, Copper Harbor, though.

And a new “camera” note: On this date in 2015 I took my first iPhone 6+ photo. As usual, it was of Taffy, catching rays in the picture window.

Number of pix taken on various July 11ths: 1323
Year of oldest photo: 1999 [my last visit to Tiger Stadium]

How I Rated the Date’s Photographs:

  • 1 Star: 4
  • 2 Stars: 111
  • 3 Stars: 1039
  • 4 Stars: 158
  • 5 Stars: 11