Monday, December 12, 2005

Fall colors in Traverse City

OK, I'm guilty...I haven't posted here in a while. I've been a bit busy with some other things around the house, so I haven't had a whole lot of time for photography lately, and when I do have the time it's mostly been unexciting stuff to write about (just more picking out, working on, and framing prints).

However, one thing worth writing about (which I should have posted about a month ago) was a fall color trip. The last weekend of October, we took a trip up to Traverse City to get some shots of the last weekend of peak fall color.

The first day, we left home early to begin the 4.5 hour trip up to Traverse City. Once we got near the area, we diverted onto some smaller back roads to get a better look at some of the scenery. A few pretty sights, but nothing spectacular. Once we got into Traverse City, we stopped for lunch, and then started a trip up the 16 mile long Old Mission Peninsula.

At the tip of the peninsula is Old Mission Point Lighthouse. We stopped here for some pics. It was difficult getting any good shots of the lighthouse at this time of year, since the sun is so low (as you can see in the first picture below). The first surprise here was how low the water level of the lake is. The lighthouse is supposed to sit just off the edge of the water, and then there is supposed to be a very shallow (about 1-2 foot deep) sandy and rocky bar that extends out about 400-500 feet. However, this year the water was so low, that entire bar was exposed. In the following picture, I'm a little more than halfway out on the bar. You can just barely see the lighthouse nestled in the trees.

From that point, the water should have appeared to go right up to the tree line, but not this year. Here's a better look at the lighthouse and also a cabin near the lighthouse.

After leaving the lighthouse, we headed back down the center of the peninsula (we came up the west shore) for a different view. There were some pretty sights, but the best were from the vineyard of Chateau Chantel. I got the following shot before heading inside for some free wine tasting.

After getting back to the city, we checked into our hotel, went out for dinner, and then hurried for a drive around Lake Leelanau before the sun set. We just winged it, taking random roads here and there, and got some nice shots from that drive.

By now it was getting dark. We went to the beach to see if there'd be any sort of sunset color, but the sky wouldn't cooperate. So, we headed back to our hotel and called it a day.

The next day we slept as long as we could, but we were up early, and because of the time change, that made it even earlier. And with the short days, the sun comes up so late. We didn't want to get anywhere too early, so we sat around for a few hours before heading out. We took a drive towards the Lake Michigan shore. Along the way, we saw a really cool looking red barn:

Then we took a drive through the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We went here last year in the spring, but it was quite a different sight once all the trees are colorful.

We then headed home down the shore, stopping at a few lighthouses along the way, and got a few nice pictures.

We found this nice little lake view in Empire:

This is also were we saw the Manning Memorial Lighthouse:

The waves were really breaking at Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse:

There was some painting and restoration going on at Point Betsie Lighthouse, so we couldn't any good shot without scaffolding getting in it.

Finally, we hit the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse:

We didn't want to get home too late, and the day was getting short, so we headed home after this. It was a nice enjoyable trip.

I plan to put up a few more updates this week. A few photos of mine won a contest. I'll post about that tomorrow. I'd also like to share my experiences repairing my Sigma flash, and finish writing up the instructions on building my display panels (I got them half written up 2 months ago and never finished). Hopefully those 2 will make it up later this week.

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