Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Last visit to Illinois Beach State Park

with 25 comments

Wave Crashing Against Lake Michigan Shore 7988

Two months ago today, when we made our last visit to Illinois Beach State Park, we explored an area farther north than where we’d stayed at the Illinois Beach Resort. The highlight this time was a small stretch where the waves coming westward on Lake Michigan crashed against the shore and shot straight up. The water surged so quickly that as a photographer I adopted a strategy of setting the camera to a high shutter speed (in this case 1/2000 of a second) and taking lots of pictures in the hope that at least a few would capture the action. This one gives you a pretty good feel for what was happening.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2016 at 3:57 AM

25 Responses

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  1. I still can’t get over the clarity of the water, or the colors. Shown the photo and asked for a location even a few months ago, I would have chosen the Caribbean over the upper midwest. And I do enjoy seeing water stopped in mid-splash. Given the shape of these splashes, I’d be tempted to call them peak waves.


    August 14, 2016 at 6:41 AM

    • This was the best that Lake Michigan looked during our stay. At other times the water was dark and unappealing. These were also by far the best waves we saw, and the only ones that made a booming sound as they hit the beach. You could say the high-speed photograph is a peek at peak waves.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    • In the next comment Melissa said this this is the prevailing color of the lake.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 9:05 AM

  2. It actually looks like this most of the time~ we were having unusual stormy weather when you arrived. I like this photo very much. It makes a nice bookend of the one I got from the winter, when the waves crashed up like this and then froze.


    August 14, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    • I might even endure some winter weather to see the waves actually frozen, not just frozen via camera magic. Can you point us to a photograph of yours showing frozen waves?

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 9:04 AM

      • I just had to have the memory wiped off my phone, as a virus had invaded it, so I’ve lost all those photos. I’ll remember to brave the elements this winter for fresh shots to share with you.


        August 14, 2016 at 10:01 AM

        • Oh, I’m sorry to hear about that virus and your loss of pictures. It’s one new risk modern life has brought us. Good luck with new images this coming winter.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 14, 2016 at 11:03 AM

          • Thank you. I’m already busy re-filling my phone/camera with new images to paint and draw this winter. In these dog days of August, when I’m so tired of being hot, I think I’ll embrace winter. Hah! That never lasts for long 🙂


            August 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

  3. Quick on the trigger there camera cowboy.

    Jim Ruebush

    August 14, 2016 at 9:47 AM

    • Yee haw! Actually I’d say steady on the trigger: I had the camera set to burst mode, so that by holding down the “trigger” I took bursts of about 5 pictures a second.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 11:01 AM

  4. In all the years I lived in Illinois (born, raised, and went to UC there), I never knew of this park. Quel dommage!

    Susan Scheid

    August 14, 2016 at 11:04 AM

    • You can still undo the damage (< dommage) by making a homecoming visit. I wouldn't have known about the place either except that Melissa mentioned the Illinois Beach Resort,which is right in the middle of Illinois Beach State Park, as a possible place to stay:


      We took advantage of the Senior Special Package and stayed five nights: "Escape to Illinois Beach Resort with this package Sunday through Thursday and receive a $40 dinner voucher, a $15 breakfast voucher, a souvenir gift bag, local tourist information and your standard double guest room for two starting at just $109 plus tax. Prices may fluctuate depending on the time of the year that you choose to stay. This value-packed package is available exclusively to our mature guests 55 and over. Please call 847-625-7300 for more information."

      We wondered how good the food in the resort's restaurant would be, and were happy to find it was excellent and came in large servings.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 11:17 AM

  5. What fun!


    August 14, 2016 at 5:24 PM

  6. Splash!

    jane tims

    August 14, 2016 at 5:39 PM

  7. What a gorgeous aquatic symphony!

    Ariana Vincent

    August 14, 2016 at 5:57 PM

    • One thing I know, because of the location on Lake Michigan, is that this wasn’t a symphony in the key of sea.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 14, 2016 at 6:43 PM

  8. Awesome Mr Schwartzman .. Love the colours!


    August 15, 2016 at 3:27 AM

  9. The splashing wave reminds me of one of those fountains that blasts a wall of water in displays. Pretty amazing the way different waves create different forms as they fly into the air. Timing is everything.

    Steve Gingold

    August 17, 2016 at 3:42 AM

    • You know how difficult it can be to grab a picture of something that happens so fast. That’s what the high-speed shutter setting was created for, and I certainly made use of it. Many of the pictures came out blah, but a few caught the moment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 17, 2016 at 8:28 AM

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