Tag Archives: landscape photography

Sunflower Fields

One of my favorite things to do every August is visit the sunflower fields that bloom between Acme and Elk Rapids. This is the first and only sprawling sunflower field I’ve personally had the pleasure of perusing, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. Should you find yourself in Northwest Michigan during the month, it’s well worth a visit!

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Empire’s Sublime Winter Scene

A couple of Saturdays back we ditched household chores in favor of a trip to Empire when that elusive sun made an extended appearance. The pine needle debacle of Project Un-Do Christmas could wait – we knew we needed to remedy our sun deprivation.

Thus, out we went, happy for a reason to break out our long-neglected sunglasses along the way. (It’s the little things!)

At Empire, the beach was already sprinkled with about 10-15 other folks and the scene was surreal. Kids were crawling in and out of caves carved into the thick, massive ice formations built up along the water’s edge. Clouds intermittently descended and receded, offering up dramatic skies that beckoned you out.

Jim and I did our typical bit, taking turns exploring the beach while the other kept Jackson and  Chance entertained at the playground. (FYI: You can get pretty decent speed going down the slide in snow pants.)

Once I finally convinced myself the beach was “safe” to venture out onto after watching about 14 other people successfully make the trek, I was off cresting mini ice mountains at a snails pace until I could finally peer into the water.

It was there that I finally got a sense of just how still the water was. Pancake ice floated gently on the barely breathing lake. The revelation of something so calm in such a harsh environment was almost jarring. (In a really good way.)

As the sun gained momentum slicing it’s way though the veil of clouds, we decided a winter hike up the Empire Bluff Trail seemed in order. (Which meant swapping our beach scene for one from a perch high up on the bluff towering over us. Viewing from both vantage points is a great exercise in perspective!)

We’ve yet to pull the trigger buying snow-shoes, so we hoofed it up the trail old-school (in our snow boots). It took us just over half an hour to make it to the top with the 4 year-old and the pup. Several other groups joined us, one offering to lend a hand with a family photo.

It’s pretty remarkable how much more snow and ice we’ve gotten this year. You can see the much longer ice shelf in this recent picture (on the left) compared to a similar image of the same place taken in January 2012.

More images taken atop the bluff…

Though it quietly killed me to leave before the sun actually set, we had little ones to get back to the car before the sun and temp sank. The pink glow of the clouds through the branches on our way down would have to suffice. I’ll still mark this one down as my favorite winter beach excursion to date.

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Taking Stock of the Day

It’s been a roller-coaster ride these past two weeks, full of random things I’ll play catch up on at some point in the not-too-distant future, but today… today was a much-needed return to (our version of) normalcy.

There were macro shots in the morning…

An Elk Rapids excursion this afternoon…

And downtown tree-lighting festivities this evening.

I found solace getting back behind the camera and into nature, Jim savored the intensity of the Winter landscape (and a gigantic  margarita), and Jackson was elated to glimpse Santa and catch the Christmas spirit. We spent time with some of our favorite people, ran into more of the same, and capped the night off with a tour of Christmas lights.

It’s late, so that’s the abbreviated version, but today was sublime. One of those days that makes it hard to narrow down your answer to the question we pose to Jackson (and ourselves) every day:

What was your favorite thing about today?

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