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Dunes Creek

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Dunes Creek Colors and Patterns 8222

Most people go to Indiana Dunes State Park to see the dunes and the beach along Lake Michigan. That’s why I went there on June 17, but I also couldn’t help noticing and being intrigued by the colors of Dunes Creek close to where it empties into Lake Michigan. I’ve read that the warm colors are due to tannins released by black oak leaves that fall into the creek and decay there.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 18, 2016 at 5:02 AM

Roughly elliptical

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Beach Sand Patterns 8298

If you thought I’d show only one set of patterns from the beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on June 17, you don’t know me well. Here’s another.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 6, 2016 at 4:35 AM

A seagull and its avant-garde shadow

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Seagull Nestled Down on Beach 8243

Click for greater size and detail.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; June 17.


UPDATE: In a comment below, Joan Leacott has identified this as Larus delawarensis, the Ring-Billed Gull (ornithologists now capitalize common names of birds).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2016 at 4:53 AM

Given enough time

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Indiana Dunes with Vegetation 8498

Given enough time and enough freedom from human interaction, the Indiana Dunes gradually cover themselves with vegetation, including trees, as you can see in these views from West Beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on June 18. The image below shows how a pond that had formed in a hollow between two dunes supports rich vegetation around its fringes.

Pond in Indiana Dunes 8489

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 17, 2016 at 4:51 AM

Sunset on the same day

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Chicago Skyline at Sunset Seen from Indiana Dunes 8398

Having glimpsed the Chicago skyline from Indiana Dunes State Park early on the afternoon of June 17th, we went a little further west later in the day and staked out a high place at the Portage Lakefront from which to view what we hoped would be a good sunset. It was.

As in the previous photograph, a telephoto lens made things seem larger and closer than they really were.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2016 at 7:26 PM

Öd und leer das Meer!

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Chicago Skyline Faintly Visible Across Lake Michigan 8185

“Öd und leer das Meer!” are the words that Wagner gives to the shepherd near the beginning of Act III in Tristan und Isolde: “Desolate and empty the sea!”

Lake Michigan isn’t the sea, but it’s so large that from most places along the shore you can’t see the other side. That was true in the photograph you saw that looked east from Zion, Illinois, on a stormy evening. It would also be true in this June 17th view looking northwest from Indiana Dunes State Park, except that the faintly visible Chicago skyline stands proxy for the western shore of Lake Michigan.

The skyline in this photo, though small, still looks larger and closer than it did in reality, thanks to the telephoto lens I used.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 3, 2016 at 4:35 AM

Patterns in the sand

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Beach Patterns with Seagull Tracks and Stone8309

Place:  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Date:  June 17.

Tracks:  Seagull.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 15, 2016 at 5:07 AM

A perennial favorite

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Melissa Pierson: "Lupinus perennis. This is closely associated with black oak sand savanna and fire. If a fire isn't run through pretty regularly, we see sharp declines in numbers of lupine. This is the host plant for the Karner Blue butterfly, which used to be found at Illinois Beach but is no longer. There is still a population of them at Indiana Dunes, I understand."

From June 9 at Illinois Beach State Park here’s Lupinus perennis, known as wild lupine and apparently also as sundial lupine, Indian beet, and old maid’s bonnets.

Melissa Pierson provides more information about the species: “This is closely associated with black oak sand savanna and fire. If a fire isn’t run through pretty regularly, we see sharp declines in numbers of lupine. This is the host plant for the Karner Blue butterfly, which used to be found at Illinois Beach but is no longer. There is still a population of them at Indiana Dunes, I understand.”

Speaking of an association with fire, here’s a nearby scene from the same outing; notice the oaks and lupines.

Burned Tree by Lupines 7568

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 11, 2016 at 4:41 AM

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