A Frozen Lake Michigan – Take 2
The last time I was on the shore of Lake Michigan a couple of weeks back it looked something like this:
That was shot at noon on an extremely overcast day with very low, heavy cloud cover. The temperature was below freezing and the windchill was pounding it to way below zero. I lasted about five minutes before I lost all feeling in my fingers and other bits.
Yesterday was an entirely different matter, I got onto the beach just in time to catch the last of the daylight. The temerature was a balmy 31 degrees and their was no wind. If I didn’t have to be at a friends for a meal I would have happily set up the tripod and spent a couple of hours walking and taking photographs.
Yesterday this is how the walk up to the beach looked:
This was shot just before the crest.
And this is the view from the highest point. This is the highlight of any trip to the beach in January because there is no way of knowing what the view will look like until it is seen. It is never the same twice. This time it just took my breath away and the photograph just doesn’t do it justice. I just stared at the vista for about 5 minutes, losing valuable light all the while, just taking this in.
Just so you can get your bearings this is shot from the Southern tip of Lake Michigan looking due North. Water and ice for hundreds of miles. The photo at the top is the view along the beach due East. The Steel Mill now belongs to a company called Mital, who prior to setting up in the US used to only do business in developing nations with poor labor law and worse environmental controls. It is interesting that, under G W Bush they finally decided that US regulation had reached the low point where their scuzzy business model would work.
The picture below is facing North roughly NorthEast:
Those bumps are a mix of sand and Ice. As far as I could tell everything on top was pretty much frozen out to that point and beyond there it got patchy, some ice and some water.
Oh I forgot to mention, there was a really nice sunset out west (which is where sunsets are generally found).
If you look towards the right edge of the photograph it is just possible to make out the outline of the US Steel plant at Gary Indiana – about 4 miles away from where this picture was shot. People here used to like US Steel. Not so much anymore though but that is a subject for another day.
Unfortunately the Chicago skyline wasn’t visible but if it was it would have been just past the right edge of this photograph.
For anyone interested in the technical side of things I was losing the light, It was darker than these images show.
These were shot with a dSLR, my Nikon d40x using the kit 18 – 55 mm zoom (no image stabilization)
A Very slow lens so I had to set ISO at 800
The high ISO limited the post processing options
which was done in Adobe Lightroom.
For real masochists the Exif data for this one (and the rest are similar) here
Seriously though if you want to get into photography it is worth having a look at that link because it will give you an idea of just how much data travels around with your images. It is all contained within the jpeg file itself.
These dogs were not as friendly as they looked, one of them decided to let me know that I was in his domain but as soon as I pointed the camera at him he went quiet, looked a bit confused then they all ran away barking madly. They were friendlier than their owner though.
A quick note about a creative thing that has been bugging me for sometime now. Just about all books that purport to teach photography give the impression that sharpness is the most important thing in a photograph, that every photograph must have at least one area without any fuzziness at all. More and more of us are now beginning to question that and also whether sharpness has achieved its place at the top of the photography hierarchy because it leads to the most bucks for the photography industry.
I cannot begin to describe how hard it is to pull away from this conventional wisdom but here are a couple of photographs with no sharp area. The blurring was done with software but throwing the focus off while shooting is an alternative way. The software approach is really the cowards way as I still have my pristine reasonably sharp copies.
I used the noise reduction filter in Adobe Lightroom with all the sliders set to maximum. (would have gone to 11 if I could).
And a couple for luck!