Categories: "Michigan" or "Allegan State Game Area" or "Allegan Forest" or "Jordan River Valley"
February is coming to a close and with it the 2014/15 snowflake photography season starts to wind down. Ironically I've had few opportunities to photograph snowflakes in the past few weeks not because winter is fading and things are warming up, but rather because it is so cold that Lake Michigan has almost completely frozen over. As the ice cover grows on the lake there is less lake effect snow.
Here's a handful of snowflake photos, most from today but with two from last week. All were exceedingly small and were photographed using a 50mm lens reverse mounted on over 350mm of extension - one very gangly set up! Click on the images for larger files.
Here's an image that still speaks to me - the full moon setting over the South Haven, Michigan, lighthouse:
I made this image back in 2002 and of course on film. Got up early to get to the beach on time, and set up the camera and tripod on an ice dune along the shore, south of the lighthouse. It was -12F (-24C) - i.e. damn cold! - and a steady breeze blew off the lake. I loaded Kodak E100S (if I recall correctly) into my trusty Pentax Pz-1p and shot 3 rolls of film before the cold overwhelmed me. Back at my car I dropped my keys, and actually had a hard time picking them up and getting my fingers to work them into the door.
Another photographer showed up shortly after I arrived. Like me, he had watched the moon rise/set times on an online almanac and picked a time close to dawn when the conditions would be right for this kind of shot. (You need to shoot the moon in twilight if you want to balance the lighting between the moon, and the earth here below.) He had driven up from Indiana, considerably farther than my short trip. I don't remember his name, but we grabbed some hot coffee and breakfast at a nearby fast food joint.
The ultimate irony: the extreme temperatures were just too much for the Sigma EX 70-200 f2.8 lens I was using. When the lens chilled down the aperture opened up and would not close. In fairness to Sigma the temperatures were far below the stated operating range for the lens. So, when I picked up my film from the lab I was horrified to see that all of the frames were just blank - all but the first 3. So, here is one of three...
Lighthouses are not a subject matter that I seek out much these days, but I enjoyed photographing them in the past. I came back to this image as part of a project to rebuild my archive galleries on this website -which you can find here:
This winter has been mild here, but with one dark gloomy day after another. None were darker than the winter solstice, which was heavily overcast. I visited some remote coners in the Allegan forest, trod over fields where the berry vines seemed to reach up and snag my boots; and skittered around the edges of the most impenetrable corners of the forest. I sought something that did not want to be found, that bristled, threw up obstacles and pinched the trees together to make a barrier- "go away leave me alone."
I brought a film camera and a couple of rolls of Tri-X, pushed to 1600 to compensate for the gloom...
Click on the image for a larger file.
Pentax Mz-S, FA 28-105 f4-5.6, Tri-X @ 1600, HC110 dil B.
I took a stroll through some of the back roads of the Allegan Forest today, enjoying the winter woods and some icy puddles…
(Click on the image for a larger file.)
A vehicle had gone down the two track sometime earlier in the morning and had broken the ice on some of the puddles - and thr broken ice on these “crunchy puddles” proved to be one of the most interesting subjects during the walk.
Oak leaves encased in ice:
An interesting fern ice pattern:
And lastly some pine needles in slushy mud:
This scene was so stunning I did a U turn and pulled over to take out the camera. It was a bit past dawn but the early morning sun filtering through the autumn foliage was pretty remarkable - be sure to click on the image to see a larger view:
Pentax 6x7, SMC 67 55mm f4, Portra 160. Shot on October 17, 2014.
Earlier this week… Under overcast skies I tramped into the Allegan Forest. The naturally dark overcast day felt all the more heavy deep in the woods, with the tall oaks still holding their leaves and casting shadow even in the dim light. The small poplar saplings, just starting to turn yellow, caught my eye. Here’s one:
Click on the image for a much larger file.
Pentax 6x7, Takumar 105mm f2.4, Portra 160. A couple seconds of exposure.
When I visited the Allegan Forest on Tuesday, it was an overcast day with flat light. When I returned there this morning the tree was basking in a ray of direct sunlight - though filtered as the last bit of morning fog burned away. So here is a more luminous, less subdued take on the scene (click on the image for a larger file):
Pentax K-3, DA 16-45 f4.