5 Pure Michigan Locations Perfect for a Postcard

Do you love to capture that picture perfect moment? Every day, our fans share incredible photos from around the state, showing just a small piece of all of the natural beauty Pure Michigan has to offer. As we continue to celebrate spring, guest blogger Shalee Blackmer from The Awesome Mitten shares her five favorite places to photograph in Pure Michigan. 

My favorite adventure is one with great photo opportunities. Lucky for us, Michigan is filled with natural wonders, killer sunsets and beautiful lighthouses creating endless opportunities for photo-ops. The start of Michigan’s most photogenic season is upon us, which means it’s time to break out the phones, cameras and GoPros to capture another amazing summer of memories. There are many postcard-worthy photo spots around the state—but here are just a few to start your summer list.

image1. Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington

Located about five miles north of downtown is one of my favorite places in Michigan, Ludington State Park. After a hike of about 1.8 miles, you will come upon the massive lighthouse that is delicately nestled into sand dunes. With no cars, light crowds, calm waves, and pure beauty, this one place sums up why Michigan is the best place in the world.

Photo tip: Getting far away from the building and up on a sand dune is the best way to capture the moment. Hike north of the beach about 500 feet and take a landscape shot with the lighthouse sitting in the far left of the frame. You will also never regret going for a sunset.

2. Porcupine Mountains, Upper Peninsula

I’m a mountain and hiking girl at heart, which means the Porcupine Mountains are my Michigan heaven. Although it can be quite the journey for much of the state, the Porkies are beyond worth the trek. Fall is absolutely stunning and it reminds me how lucky I am to live in such an enchanting state. We sure have the lakes, but the mountains are just as wondrous.

Photo tip: Summer and fall are the best times for the photo journey. Find cliff lookouts and mountain peaks to take clean shots without other objects interfering. Think of unique subjects for the photos; hiking shoes, wildlife, a tent etc. Tell a story with the photo to bring others along on the journey.

image (2)3. Turnip Rock, Port Austin

At the tip of “The Thumb” is a rocky shoreline and natural landmark known around the world as Turnip Rock. It requires a three-mile kayak journey from downtown Port Austin and is best to do on a calm day. Saying the trip was a blast is a complete understatement. The area is absolutely unbelievable.

Photo tip: Jump out of the kayak and wade in knee-deep water to capture the perfect shot. Shooting from a low point will capture the rock and the trees on top in one frame. Try your best to make sure nothing else is in the shot or background (even other people).

4. A Michigan beach sunset, Everywhere

image (1)Sunsets are a Michigan selling point and my all-time favorite thing to watch. My best locations for shooting are Caseville, Manistee, Beaver Island and Sleeping Bear Dunes. I think we all can agree when I say a Michigan sunset is the best medicine from reality.

Photo tip: It is important to know that clouds are good. A sunset with clear skies will have no uniqueness. Clouds will give the photo character and the best colors usually come after the sun has set, so don’t give up too early. Shoot from creative angles with creative subjects. A footprint in the sand or your sunglasses on the beach can create a story rather than a photo.

5. Tulip Time Festival, Holland

image (3)Hollands Tulip Time Festival is an annual tradition that takes place every spring. Thousands of tulips bloom and make the fields dance with colors, life and beauty. A windmill placed amongst the tulips makes visitors feel as if they have been transported to a fairytale from the Renaissance era.

Photo tip: Get low. A picture from close to the ground will capture the entire windmill and numerous shades of tulips. Make sure the windmill is not in the center and instead place it on either side of the frame. When editing, don’t over-saturate and make the colors overwhelm the picture.

A fancy camera is not needed to capture some of the best moments. At the end, you can create a calendar to reminisce about all the fun you had down the road. Most importantly, have a blast. Create a road trip or getaway with family or friends.

Gear up! Summer is on its way and there is a lot of exploring to do!

image (4) (2)Shalee Blackmer is a 21 year old college student who grew up in the small town of Mecosta. She currently attends Michigan State University as an Advertising student and spends her time exploring the outdoors. Her hobbies include running her own travel blog, which aims to inspire college-age students to see explore on a budget and taking photos to share her story. She enjoys camping, road trips, hiking and cliff jumping and enjoying Pure Michigan beauty.

 

Six Unbelievable Close-Up Snowflakes That Reveal the Magic of Winter

When the first flakes start to fall, we look forward to hitting the slopes, making snow angels and revving the engines of our snowmobiles. Fresh snow gives us the chance to head outside and take in the magic of winter. 

So, the next time you’re out enjoying a snow day, grab your camera and get up-close with what makes Pure Michigan a winter wonderland – snowflakes! Photographer Joshua Nowicki shares his tips for photographing these one-of-a-kind beauties. 

dsc_2412 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

As the snow accumulates over the winter months, it is easy to lose appreciation for the beauty of winter.  As the snow builds layer after layer, I find it therapeutic to take a closer look and enjoy the wonders of a single snowflake.

A little over a year ago, I received gift of a +1, +2, +4 set of close-up macro filters to use on a lens for my camera.  It was snowing that day, and almost immediately, I was outside trying to take photos of snowflakes.  I searched for snowflakes lying on leaves, pine needles, windshields anywhere I could find them isolated or on a dark background.  I was spending a lot of time searching for individual snowflakes and not much time taking photos.  So, I decided that I needed to find a better way to capture my subject.  I tried a variety of different materials to catch snowflakes on, and found that I had the best luck using an old blue stocking cap.  The snowflakes land at angles propped up by the frayed fibers of the stocking cap, and this provides a little separation from the rest of the material.

The macro filters gave me a closer view of the snow than I had ever seen before; but I wanted to get closer.  I was using the macro filters on an 18-55mm lens, and then, I switched to trying them on a 55-200mm lens.  This worked reasonably well, but I felt like I was getting too much distortion in the images that I took.  So, I kept searching for another way.  I could not justify the cost of a macro lens, therefore I kept experimenting.  I finally decided upon using electrical tape to attach one lens backward in front of another lens.  My favorite combination is currently a 55-200mm lens with a 50mm lens.  For lighting the snowflakes, I use an external camera flash and flashlight.  It is not a beautiful set up, but it is an effective one.

The level of magnification that this has allowed me has been astounding.  Details that I never thought I would be able to see in person, I could now photograph.  I have been amazed by the variety of shapes of snowflakes and dazzled by the intricate and delicate detail of each individual snowflake.  As the weather and temperature change, the shapes and sizes of the snowflakes also change.  Two of my favorite snowflake shapes are sectored plates and stellar dendrites.

Every time it snows, I find myself running outside to see what the snowflakes look like. Frequently, I have had to explain to neighbors and people passing by why I am sitting in the snow taking close up photos of my stocking cap.  Many of them chuckled until I showed them the photos I was taking. The next time it snows, before you grab your shovel, take a moment to sit in the snow with a camera or magnifying glass and enjoy one of the true marvels of winter. See their beauty below.

dsc_3080 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_3063 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2820 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_2270 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

dsc_0291 snowflake photo by Joshua Nowicki

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.

Joshua_NowickiJoshua Nowicki is a St. Joseph, Michigan based photographer specializing in landscape, nature, architecture, and food photography.  His photos can be viewed online on Facebook or his website

From Our Fans: 15 Favorite Pure Michigan Memories to Kick Off 2015

With the new year officially underway, we asked our fans to take a moment to reflect on their favorite memories from 2014. After a stroll down memory lane, here are 15 unforgettable Pure Michigan moments from days gone by to inspire your travels in 2015. 

Waterfall watching while vacationing in the U.P. from Sherry Stiles

Vacationing in the UP Sherry Stiles

Seeing the Mighty Mac all lit up on a warm August evening from John Stine

Mighty Mac on a Warm August Evening John Stine

 A trip to Arch Rock while visiting Mackinac Island from Wiona Porath

Wiona Porath Arch Rock

A visit to the amazing ice caves off the shores of Leelanau from Janeen M Wardle

Amazing Ice Caves off the shore of Leelanau Janeen M Wardle

Watching the crackling Frankfort fireworks from Jeanine Offer Krupp

Frankfort Fireworks Jeanine Offer Krupp

 Long Lake Michigan beach days from Mark Titus

Mark Titus Beach Days

Summertime trips to the Farmers Market from Leslie Layton Coslet

Leslie Layton Coslet Farmers Market Frankfort

Peaceful moments spent with nature from MavaMarie Vendervennet

Peaceful Moments MavaMarie Vendervennet

Fishing and a fiery sunset over Brevort Lake from Ben Stefanic

Fishing Brevort Lake Ben Stefanic

Walking on frozen water in South Haven from Jennifer Schoenfield Osborn

Walking on Frozen water in South Haven Jennifer Schoenfeld Osborn

Witnessing unforgettable sunsets from Donna Pratt-Owens

Donna Pratt-Owens Frankfort sunset Lake Michigan

Spectacular fall color viewing at the Porcupine Mountains from Patti Potts

Patti Potts Fall Colors Porcupine Mountains

Plenty of Pure Michigan snow days from Ry Meyer

Ry Meyer Snow Days

The Presque Isle scenery from UP Serenity Photography

UP Serenity Photography Presque Isle Park

Wrapping up the year with celebratory fireworks in Ludington from Todd and Brad Reed Photography

NYE Ludington Brad Reed

Where in Pure Michigan will 2015 take you?