Pure Michigan

The last time I flew in a small aircraft I was reciting the Hail Mary, my head was tucked between my legs, and I was fearing for the worst. This time around was different, it was sheer ‘bliss’.

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My family is from Michigan and Northern Michigan is our home base. The 4th of July week is a special time for us, and everyone tries to make an appearance. This year we were short two family members out of 31, next year will be better..

I hadn’t planned on flying high this day, but my nephew called early, he had an open seat with my name on it. I was up and at’em, in the car and on my way within seconds … the perfect morning.

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We took flight at approximately 7am. Thin clouds were hovering the ground, a look I liked …  The body of water you see is Lake Michigan, and across the way is the City of Petoskey.

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Our route took us north, passing over Nub’s Nob Ski Resort. Nub’s is hands Kieferdown the best ski area in the Midwest. It offers 53 ski slopes, and trails, on 3 separate peaks. The staff is exceptional from top to bottom, east to west, and north to south. Nub’s loves to boast of their fresh homemade food, an award winning lodge, and the most highly decorated snow making and snow grooming crew in the Midwest. I can attest to all of the above.

We continued north towards Mackinaw City. By car the drive takes a good hour or so, but as Kiefer flies … minutes!

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Inland Michigan is rural, hilly, green and lush. Dotted throughout the countryside are wonderful little restaurants, all with their own unique ‘up north’ ambiance.

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The Big Mac. Impressive view? I’d say!  The body of water you see is the Straights of Mackinac, the narrow waterway separating the U.S. State of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula from its Upper Peninsula. Bella !

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We then banked to the right and followed the Eastern shoreline south towards the Point Nipigon area. The second photo is of Nipigon….

I have relatives in Nipigon, if I’m wrong, I’m sure I will hear …

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The next spectacular view,from my perch, was of Little Traverse Bay, the City of Harbor Springs, and the mile long peninsula, Harbor Point. In other words, my Heaven on Earth.

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The pilot had us, my mother and I, in the air for just about an hour. I couldn’t have asked, or dreamt, of a better way to start my day…  Thank you Kiefer!

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My Summer of Bliss …

Blissfest. I started to tell you about this event before, but my site prematurely published, so here we go again…   Bliss-5

This very cool festival is a three day musical romp in the woods, the woods of Northern Michigan. “Blissfest” has been around for 34 years and it only gets better. This musical event is organized, clean, friendly, and a throw back to the 60’s. Let me show you:

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Bliss-18. Bliss Fest 2014-5

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bf-5‘Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers’ is the band that I followed. I’d like to represent them in Chicagoland, they are that good!

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BlissThe food at Bliss is also good. Mostly fresh, some organic and some gourmet. All of the meals go well with a side of mushrooms and a brownie for dessert… can’t have it any other way!

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bf.bf-2. Pete, is that you??

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…..Bliss-3

 

 

 

 

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Blissfest is rated number 5 in the country for ‘family entertainment'(so I was told). There is a main band shell and two other stages that are hosting music at all times, 4 kiva’s, and several spots for children to play, paint, and dance. I neglected to show you that side of Bliss because I wanted to capture the ambience. I hope you could ‘feel the bliss’.

We, family and friends, are already planning for next year. We have two campsites, a 10×10 tent, carpets, tye-dyed boundaries with beads, two large coolers, plenty of blankets, chairs and tables, lights, cameras, and action….  What do you say? Wanna go? 

 

 

 

 

Planes, Trains, and …

Automobiles ….

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Cars and more cars. I am surrounded by mechanics, geeks, oil, and gas !   I rank second to a Viper, and third to a Challenger. The gal my boys fancy has a chassis, an axel, a pair of headlamps, and a tail pipe, how can I compete?    I should have had a clue when my husband presented me with my very own license plate, personalized with our initials. It was our first Valentines …..

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In my family cars aren’t just a way of life, they breathe life. ‘Our’ cars are treated like royalty. They are pampered and spoiled, scrubbed and bathed, dressed and diapered. Their palace resides behind our hut. In this manor every hook has a tool, every screw has a drawer, and every nook has a tranny.  My boys to men are serious !

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Now lets fast forward to 2014.

The drive to SLU, where my son will be attending college, is a monotonous drive. En route there are two car dumps, I mean depots, that we must stop and see … every time.  My well oiled boys circle each and every buggy, they hem and they haw, then they circle again. It’s nothin’ but fun !

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So you ask, what about poor me? Well, not wanting to see the art of the hand-written note fall to the wayside I have started a note card business using my photos. I also want to emphasize the importance of manners. Remember, manners can open many doors…   Well, after handing my son card after card of blueberries or watermelons to express his gratitude, I decided to make, for him, his own personalized stationary. I photographed other focal points, but for this post I felt the deer in the ‘headlight’ look was fitting.

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Now I thoroughly enjoy our visits to these dealerships, it’s an hour or more of sheer delight. These two automobile establishments have something to offer each of us. Perhaps it’s an old muscle car, a dilapidated Ford F50, or some rusted-out, fallin’-off, beaten to hell front fender. What ever the draw is, remember, ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’,  and a simple ‘thank you’ is long remembered…

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Summertime, and the living …..

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… is easy

The Blue Light Special …

What is this Blue Light ?  I have heard about it but have never taken advantage of it, until now …

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“The blue hour is the period of twilight each morning and evening when the sun is a significant distance below the horizon and the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue hue. This effect is caused by the relative diffusability of short blue wavelengths of light versus the longer red wavelengths. During the blue “hour” (typically the period is about 40 minutes in length), red light passes straight into space while blue light is scattered in the atmosphere and therefore reaches the earth’s surface. Because of the quality of the light, this period is treasured by artists. Photographers call it “the sweet light.”  wiki

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The images above were captured around 9:50pm in Northern Michigan.  I did not add a tint to these scenes, they are truly blue photos taken during the ‘blue hour’. When photographing for the richer tone, keep the direction of the sun at your back. In the evening shoot to the East, and for the morning light shoot to the West.

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The two above images were taken around 5:20am … again, no color added. Not sure I fancy the hue, but this ‘hour’ can produce stunning images.

In English culture the term was used to describe the period of inactivity and uselessness a drinker encounters when pubs and other licensed premises have closed after the lunch-time session (typically 3:30 pm), but have not yet opened for the evening session (typically 6:30 pm). The blue hour has now been largely abolished in England, Scotland, and Wales in favor of all-day opening…. just a fun fact.

Capturing the blue hour requires a steady platform and a longer exposure than normal daytime photos. While many cameras now include image stabilization (VR) either in the camera body or in specific lenses, most of your blue hour exposures  will be long enough to require an actual tripod, … right up my alley. Because of the fading light strength, and a smaller aperture to capture the detail, your exposure will be seconds long.  Some of the water in my images look as smooth as glass, that is due in part to the length of my exposure.

Because I usually shoot with a fixed lens, (one focal length), manual focus, and on a tripod, the VR,(vibration reduction switch), is of no use to me. However, I do have a couple of newer telephoto lenses with the VR feature. Here is a tip worth its weight in gold …  When using a tripod ALWAYS turn the VR switch off. It is counter-productive, and your lens will adjust regardless. The out come is a photo less than sharp. I had to learn this the hard way, I thought it was my eyes. Perhaps you can tell in a few of the above shots where I forgot to turn the VR switch off …. typical and frustrating on my part.

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Wedding Inspired …

 

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My post today was inspired by the most beautiful flowers I had ever laid eyes on. Last weekend I attended the wedding of my niece and was captivated by the thousands and thousands of ‘wedding white’ flowers. Yes, all white. Who would have known how beautiful a lack of color could be.

I started this shoot with the intent of capturing only the anemic in color, but that just wouldn’t do. After one of the whitest winters in years, I couldn’t resist a palette that was rich in hues.

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The Calla Lily is a Southern African plant which has a white funnel-shaped spathe exposing a yellow spadix.

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All of these images were taken with my 40mm micro lens, a lens that I have neglected. Glad I gave it another shot!

I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know the names of some of these flowers, although I did when I was shooting them. After I cropped these images I hadn’t a clue as to what they were. It’s amazing what the naked eye can and cannot see. The up close and personal sheds light on a totally new world where only Horton can hear a Who. Recently I joined The Garden Club, perhaps it’s time to brush up on my blossoms.

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Ahh, the Rose  …  any of the wild or cultivated, usually prickly-stemmed, pinnate-leaved, showy-flowered shrubs of the genus Rosa.  Bella !

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“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,

our whole life would change”   buddha  

 

…………………………….  flowers-10

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Uno Mas …

 … or dos mas butterflies to show …..

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….. win, or place .

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