Friday, December 3, 2010







By guest blogger and photographer Mark Lindsay.

October 2010 Storm by Mark Lindsay
Photographically speaking, it has been an incredible year to be in Northern Michigan. The weather has cooperated in making outdoor activities very pleasurable. Lake temperatures were warm enough to get in and stay in. For me it also has been an exciting year to be out photographing the incredible beauty that surrounds us in Northern Michigan.
On many occasions, I found myself not too far from the shores of Lake Michigan, and not to far from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. On two separate occasions I was able to backpack and pitch a tent to allow a few days of walking and wandering as well as taking advantage of some really great photo opportunities. Usually after the fall colors fade, my camera has earned a well-deserved rest. The dust had not yet collected when the weather forecasters started calling for a big wind event in Northern Michigan, especially along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Tuesday, October 26th 2010 was the day the wind began to blow. I was working that day when we lost power at 3:00 p.m. The winds were just starting to gust to over 40mph. The forecasters were spot on when they said the winds would increase and possibly gust to near 80mph. The Mackinaw Bridge had a wind speed recorded at 78mph that day.
The sun rose on Wednesday to clear skies and very strong winds blowing from the west. The skies were blue and clouds were racing. It was about 10:30 am when I decided go to Frankfort and see first hand what the storm was blowing in.
Wednesday is the day I usually take my three kids out somewhere to learn about nature. The week before it was a trip to Port Oneida to learn about local history, but today was going to be a lesson about atmospheric pressures and how they affect the weather as we see it. We loaded into our van in Kingsley and headed 40 minutes to the west to Frankfort.
As we climbed out of the valley in we realized the wind was blowing much harder than it was at our phome. On our way we navigated downed trees and branches by weaving in and out of them. By the time we arrived in Honor the power was out to many businesses. When we got to Frankfort we could see that the waves were incredible even from blocks away.

October 2010 Storm Wave Devours Pier by Mark Lindsay
As we got closer to the beach access at the lighthouse, we realized the sand was drifting in the parking lot like snow, and in some areas the drifts were 16 inches deep and well over 30 feet long. Cars were lined up waiting for parking spots to get a glimpse of the historical, powerful storm. It was 1:00 pm and I was able to find a spot to prepare my camera and its protective lenses against the sands that can easily ruin equipment.
As we sat in the comfort of our van I noticed some photographers already out in the winds. Pushing the door open to exit the van was not only a challenge, it was incredible. The weather forecasters had expected a second, stronger push to come through around mid afternoon.
The photographic conditions were really exciting. For example, the white lighthouse was set against a dark, grayish-blue horizon, a perfect backdrop. The second front brought stronger winds from across the lake, yet the sun was still poking in and out from behind me in the east. As each wave hit the break wall, the sun would illuminate the spray around it.
I was able to get a few good shots before heading out to the less crowded Elberta. It was there on the beach when the higher winds roared across the lake. My youngest and I tried to stand near the beach at a safe distance but the wind literally blew us step by step away from the water. We ducked in behind a cemented sign. The sand was blasting every part of our exposed skin. My son’s legs were red from the sand and wind.
We watched the people watching the storm. It was an incredible event as the storm drew people out to feel its raw power. Everyone was stood in awe. It was almost as if Nature was challenging us, possibly wanting to recognize the near perfect weather she had dealt us for all spring, summer and fall. I was moved by the wind and blown away by the experience!

October 2010 Storm Wave Hits Lighthouse by Mark Lindsay

9 comments:

lisa said...

Just gorgeous!

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