Between Storms

At some point this afternoon, I checked the radar. Not for any reason; just out of curiosity. What I saw prompted me to send a warning message to a friend. A nasty line of storms had arrived on our doorsteps without so much as a peep. We didn’t have any storm warnings, so I did what any reasonable person would do you’d expect me to do.

Black and white storm scenes

The rain began to pitter-patter as I arrived at the hilltop. I stayed just long enough to capture a few shots of the wicked clouds, and then headed back home. The torrential rains weren’t at the house yet, but having driven through them moments prior, I knew they were on the way.

Thankfully, the storms weren’t severe. At least not around here. Up near the Mackinac Bridge, things looked dicey (on radar). The sun didn’t come back out to play, but patches of clear blue dotted the overcast sky for the remainder of the afternoon. Today was a Petey-puppy “camp” day, so I took my camera with me when I went to pick him up this evening. As another system of storms approached, one long tendril stretched, leaving a patch of threatening clouds in its wake.

The next round of storms has arrived. I can’t decide whether I should have been out to chase the lightning, or been glad I didn’t soak my camera.

All That Glitters

morning walk
My morning walk with Petey is always a treasured time. Some days it’s windy; others it’s still. Some mornings we walk amid a quiet drizzle or – gasp! – an even quieter snowfall. This morning we walked under a light fog pierced by sunrays.

All that glitters-7

Alas, I only had my phone with me, so I missed some of the moments I’d like to have captured, Snap Happy Gal that I am (yep – shameless plug and silliness all in one!). Knowing that the morning fog is fleeting, I contented myself with catching other transitory moments instead after we’d returned home. After all, an ephemeral dew glistened upon every blade and leaf under sunny skies, visibly shouting at me to snap photos before evaporation restored the magical morning tableau to mundane grass and weeds.

I’m glad I listened. The day emerged beautiful and warm, but rather prosaic after all.


Between storms yesterday afternoon, we took Petey on a couple of small adventures to nearby natural sites. We stopped first at the Seven Bridges Natural Area. It’s been over a month since I visited, and I am always surprised at the differences. Mounds of goldenrod, asters, and ragweed – of course – surround the entrance. My last visit (which I somehow missed blogging about), the area was heaped in marsh marigolds. And whereas the pasture out back was verdant and dew-coated, yesterday it was crackly and brown. Different, but still lovely.

After meandering in the meadows and splashing in the river, we hopped down the road a few miles to Rugg Pond. It’s one of my favorite places around here in the fall. Friendly trumpeter swans always float gracefully nearby (there, but not pictured), and the hardwoods surrounding the water blush all shades of beautiful. If you look closely in the photos below, you can see the tips of the oaks doing just that.

We hiked along the pond’s edge and back into the woods under skies that couldn’t decide whether they’d rather be bright and cheery or dark and stormy. Petey sniffed everything at least twice, and especially enjoyed places where other mammals had obviously been at work.

I especially enjoyed the nascent fall fungi. Or maybe they’re still late summer fungi. Can you spot the edible (fruity, chewy) chanterelles? Can you identify my favored composition for mushroom photos? ;)

Do the maroon oak leaves and red/orange/yellow fungus signal fall’s arrival, or just the end of summer? Regardless, there’s no denying fall is on its way. We will not discuss what comes after that.
Fall Transitions

A Sometimes Early Riser

It’s not often that I’m the early bird. Night owl, absolutely. But when you stay up late like we do, you don’t tend to race the sun in the morning. When I do happen to be awake early in the morning, it’s almost always because we’ve got early plans…or I woke up early and found the sights out our upstairs windows too inspirational not to grab the camera.

Last night, I knew we had a chance of northern lights, so I was watching my online feeds to see if I should venture out with my camera. Around midnight, we started the bedtime routine with our furry house companions, and decided we’d let our text messaging service alert us if the solar storm ramped up. After all, we had plans for some routine maintenance on the car in Traverse City around 10:00, so our usual 9:00am wake time wasn’t going to cut it.

Sometime shortly after 4:00 Tony’s phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, but it woke us up enough to check on the aurora alerts. As luck would have it, the storm was expected to surge in about 50 minutes. I grabbed all my gear – including layers because it was 45-degrees! – and headed for Torch Lake.

I huddled on a bench on the south end of Torch for over an hour, capturing over 100 images of the dancing northern lights. Normally I’d be disappointed in any cloud cover, but I actually quite like the little bit of color the Alden light pollution adds (Alden is the little town on the right side of the image whose marina lights are painting the photo orange). As the storm wound down, I packed my gear, and headed back to bed.

One of the first photos I shot
aurora 8-28 beginning

A photo about halfway through the set
aurora 8-28 middle

The last photo before I called it quits
aurora 8-28 end

And while I very much enjoy these aurora photos, I can’t help but wish I had played my usual night owl; despite the storm intensity being greater around 5:00am, there was more of a light display in the hours I slept through. I’m still happy with these. These are enough :)

15-second time-lapse. Please ignore the way oversaturated image that youtube created for this. Link to the same video on Flickr follows for those who can’t view youtube. Enjoy!


It rained yesterday. Not very long, but heavily. Piles of sand and detritus litter the erosion-prone parts of the hillside out back. More of the roadside washed away, but I don’t think the county intends to beef up the pavement on that stretch of road.

A Walk in the Park-pano

Before the storms rolled through the air hung thick with humidity and the continuous groan of distant thunder. After, they felt much the same, only hotter with the addition of afternoon sun. How did we ever live in Miami? I wondered. Where every day in the summer was at least ten degrees warmer, but with the same humidity and sunshowers. But then, how do I live here now, with our relatively cool summers and everlasting winters?

By the time evening arrived, some of the air’s moisture had soaked into the ground, and the temperature dropped back into my (current) comfort level. Even as we strolled sedately around the park under vivid skies, I lamented not having my camera perched over the lake.

Are we humans ever satisfied? Sometimes I think not, but I’m working on it, this recognizing when I have enough :)