Otter Creek Sunset – A B&W Photo Challenge

Eliza, who shares a similar love for the outdoors as me, and who lives in a similar place but different country invited me to join a black and white photo challenge. Since It’s all in good fun, and since it’s so windy out, I’ve decided to play along. At least once. There are rules, as with any contest/challenge, but I’m not playing by them ;) So, new rules: if my post inspires you to try your hand at a black and white photo when you might otherwise opt to see the world strictly in colors, link it up to this post. If there are multiple participants, I’ll post a future blog shouting out my favorites. Or something.

Without further ado, here’s the photo – perhaps the only one, perhaps just the first – that I chose to convert to black and white. I originally shared it on FB and Flickr in all its peachy sunset-y glory, but decided it had nice enough lines to lend itself to B&W too.  I posted larger versions of each below, which can be further embiggened via a click if you like.

What do you think?

Otter Creek - B&W Otter Creek Sunset

Last Call and a PT Update

Heeding Petey’s I’m getting cold signals, we trekked back to the car and got him snuggled down in his blankets with a bowl of kibble and some water. Pup sated and stowed, we hit the road meandering through the Leelanau countryside as we made our way to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

By the time we arrived, the world had gone all blue and gold – kind of like that dress only far prettier.
warm and cool palette

Despite its warm color, the sun no longer held much heat, and at the very tip of the peninsula, we were utterly unprotected from the blustery breezes.
out standing in its field hahahaha

Though captivated by the glistening shards of ice and the duo-tone palette, we were cold.
rose ice

We couldn’t quite bring ourselves to leave though. I’d take my last photo, and then Tony would ask where I was going. “Just over to this piece of ice.” You know. That really cool one that’s obviously different from all these other really cool ones.
me as Vanna

I’d finish with my cool ice only to find Tony wasn’t by my side, nor was he walking back to the lighthouse grounds.
ice shards in last light

So it went, until the sun made its last call, and then dipped below the horizon. Still I wanted to stay, but my nearly frost-bitten fingers – like the wind – cried Mary Mercy.
last light


 
I meant to talk to you all last post about my knee and PT (not to be confused with Petey, ahem, Siri). Great news: I’ve been going for one-hour sessions twice a week, and I’ve incorporated as many moves as I can into my at-home workouts. My knee pain isn’t entirely gone, but it’s mostly gone, and when I do feel it, it’s much less intense. Notably, there are times when I move in a way that I fully expect to feel pain, but don’t. That’s my real benchmark for improvement. I have one more appointment on Wednesday, and then a running analysis so that I can start bringing that back into my life. Henceforward (which is a word; I checked), you may call me a PT Evangelist :D

Ice Is Nice!

Good news, Everyone! It’s officially the month that we transition to spring, and daylight saving time is just a week away. Oh wait, that’s not news. You guys all knew that. How about this: we have tolerable temperatures in our forecast! Now that’s good news!

Lest you think I’ve been melodramatic about the weather, here’s a brief history: Since we moved here in 2010, the average high in February has hovered in the 20’s. This year we averaged a high temperature of 9.6F, and almost half of the month had days with double-digit-below-zero lows – including several days near -30F. That’s cold, friends. Not fun to try to walk a dog in.

Thankfully, the past two Saturdays (and Sunday this weekend) we have been blessed with seasonable temperatures. Because it has been so brutally cold, the 23F we played in over the weekend felt positively spring-like. I suppose a 50-degree swing upwards will do that ;)

snow on the ice

We weren’t the only people out basking in the late winter sun. Tony and I headed up the Leelanau coast yesterday just to see what things were looking like, and ended up joining a small crowd out on the lake.

Yep, way out on the lake.

Occasionally, we’d cross a place where the snow had blown clear of the surface. Because the water below is so deep, it mostly looks dark green as you look through the ice, but you can see bubbles frozen in the ice that is probably two feet thick.

The crazy cold has at least been good for something ;) That thick ice out on Lake Michigan is probably strong enough to drive on, but offshore winds have piled some of it up in incredible luminous blue-green masses.

people for scale

With the blue skies and blue ice, it was a photographer’s paradise.
me-on-ice

Some of the ice is clear, some of it is crackly, some of it is milky, some of it is all three of these things, and all of it is spectacular. It is also incredibly slippery.

A couple of icy vignettes. I included my hand (touching the same ice) after each one for scale.


Enough other mammals had trekked on the surfaces that it was a Petey paradise, too.

I had grand designs on a coastal sunset, but we had been out in the wind long enough that the Little Pete Dog was starting to act cold. He wasn’t shivering, but he was being a pull-monster on his leash, and he was half tucking his tale. We might be foolhardy at times, but we’re not dumb ;) We packed it in, but did not call it a day. (More ice coming soon!)

A Day in the Sun

I think everyone in the mid-to-northeastern portion of this country was looking forward to the “warm” temperatures expected on Saturday. Tony and I certainly were, so we planned a day of outdoor activities. We started out with a pre-lunch walk around Traverse City, and then headed over to the coast.

Petey was thrilled with that ball of ice

When we first arrived in Empire, a light snow was falling, and the skies were dull. But, it was in the 20’s (I think we got all the way up to 23F!), so I wasn’t complaining. I left Petey with Tony for a bit and struck off to areas best not to take him.

That tiny speck in the left photo is me. The right image features a pretty melt puddle

After about twenty minutes, we regrouped. And then the sun unexpectedly popped out. It was magical. I hopped back to a couple of my favorite views, and remade the images to stitch into panoramas.

Some pancake ice in front of Empire Bluffs
Empire Ice-2

A super cool iceberg, more pancake ice, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes
Empire Ice

The afternoon was wearing on, but the clouds continued to allow interludes of sunshine, so we decided to drive south of Empire for a bluff hike.

Empire Bluffs Trail-2

The trail is a local favorite, so despite having snow up to our hips, the path is well-worn and quite walkable without snowshoes. We passed several folks along the way – all smiling their appreciation for the gift of the moment. I looked up at one point at a couple of young kids trekking in our direction. I considered taking their photo, but didn’t. I immediately regretted the decision, when I heard one of the boys say our names to his friend. Completely by chance, we had run into our good friends out in the middle of nowhere, and their five-year-old recognized us before we did him!

Jim, Lisa, Jess. Little ones not pictured; they had better things to do ;)
chance friend meeting

After catching up for a few moments, Tony, Petey and I continued to the overlook. I have dozens of photos of this view, and I make more images with each visit. It’s a familiar view, yet it’s always surprising in its beauty and always different, if only subtly.

Empire Bluffs Overview

As we rounded the last curve, laughing at the guard fence buried in snow, the clouds again broke. Dramatic rays of sun spilled onto Lake Michigan, and I stood agape.

Eventually, I managed to contain my enthusiasm, and we began the journey back to the car. Like the view at the overlook, though we had just passed through, the woods was different – and so was I. After a confining bout of brutally cold weather, it’s impressive just how rejuvenating a few hours outside in the sun can be.
Empire Bluffs Trail

Autumn Is Over

Last winter didn’t end until May. That’s right – the fifth month of the year. Summer wasn’t warm, and felt more compressed than normal, and fall was beginning to feel that way. Or I worried that it might.

Last weekend, on the Old Mission Peninsula


But really, we had a spectacular fall. The colors lit up, and decorated the landscapes in vivid autumn hues. We had chilly days, and we had warm days. We found ways to enjoy all of them – even the blustery almost-winter days like yesterday.

Yesterday, at the Point Betsie and Frankfort Lighthouses


Today, it seems, the weather’s clock has officially ticked over to “winter.” While I’m not thrilled with the rigmarole that is getting dressed for a simple outing, I’ll enjoy these coming days as well. I hope you do, too.

Earlier today