I think of myself as a serendipitous shooter: I go out to scenes in all kinds of light – the good, the bad, even the ugly – and I take photos. Sometimes I walk away with artwork worth sharing, and sometimes I just walk away with happy memories. I don’t often stalk a scene for the best light, I don’t think of myself as having a favorite thing to photograph, and I don’t find that I’m predictable (even I don’t know when or where I’ll be heading out to shoot until I get the itch). But, lately, if you wanted to catch me out and about, you’d look at northern Michigan’s west coast lighthouses:
I’ve visited every one of them from Manistee up to Northport (though I didn’t take the camera out), and I’ve been there from sunrise to sunset, and well into the night.
Last Wednesday, I checked the weather and saw something I hadn’t seen in what felt like eons: the possibility for clear night skies. I packed my gear, my cold weather clothes, and food and water, and headed for the coast. I missed the best light in an incredible sunset, but caught the afterglow and the first light of the moon on the lakeshore just south of Empire. While the skies were still cloudy, I headed south into Frankfort to see how the ice was shaping up along the beach. By this time, the winds had died down almost entirely. The water inside the breakwall was very still, the forming ice chattered, and tiny waves sloshed against the icebergs beached on the sand.
I shot a few variations of the scenery in Frankfort, but this mid-range capture is my favorite. I opted for a black and white conversion on this for the added drama. It was a quiet, stark scene, and I feel like the lack of color tells a desolate winter story well.
I left Frankfort, heading back north up the coast, and stopped at a few places along the way as the skies cleared and the northern lights made an appearance. There’s a starry image of Point Betsie (<–linked here) in the gallery above, and there will be more sunsets and night skies from this trip coming soon! In the meantime, feel free to peruse the winter landscapes and night sky galleries in case you missed something cool 😉