Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘Lake Michigan

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


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Killdeer Near Nest on Beach 8021B

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 14th we noticed a lot of clutter in one place, as you see in the first photograph. Flitting in and out of that clutter was a bird that I learned is a killdeer, Charadrius vociferus.

The “cage” of dead branches rising from the beach sand obviously wasn’t natural but had been placed there by people. When we got closer we could guess at the reason for the uprights: to mark the killdeer’s nest and keep walkers from accidentally treading on it, given how easily a passerby might take the eggs for just a few more stones out of the thousands on the beach.

Killdeer Eggs 8034

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2016 at 4:50 AM

Last visit to Illinois Beach State Park

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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

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

Hoary puccoon

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Hairy Puccoon at Illinois Beach 7036

One of the most common wildflowers I saw in early June in Illinois Beach State Park was hoary puccoon, Lithospermum canescens. The fringed puccoon I’m used to from Austin, L. incisum, also grows up there, but I didn’t see any, probably because it had bloomed earlier in the spring.

Below is a closer look at the way some hoary puccoon flowers brightened the beach on the overcast morning of June 7.

Hairy Puccoon Flowers Close 7065

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 6, 2016 at 4:50 AM

A northern red, white, and blue

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Sunset Clouds over Lake Michigan 6792

Following a mini-tradition of showing pictures with red*, white, and blue in them to celebrate the Fourth of July, here are a couple of views from the shore of Lake Michigan in Zion, Illinois, on June 5. It was our first evening of five there, and as we ate supper in the restaurant of the Illinois Beach Resort and Conference Center the wind outside picked up and the sky turned increasingly ominous. Below is a mostly upward view in the opposite direction a minute later.

Clouds 6799

* We’ll invoke poetic license by allowing red to shade into orange.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 4, 2016 at 12:01 AM

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