Constant Bombardment

Constant Bombardment

High winds and waves batter the 108 year old South Haven, Michigan lighthouse. It's been a warm winter so far, and any ice that builds up from splashes like these soon melts.

Most years, ice builds up from windy days in December, and remains until February or March.
South Haven Lighthouse in Winter



Waves crash into the pier of the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouse, shrouding the outer light in a cape of water spray.

The lighthouse is 35 feet tall, at the end of a 1000 foot pier.

A fellow photographer braves the elements to get his perfect shot.
Getting the Shot

70 Foot Splash

70 Foot Splash

A windy afternoon created some big waves on Lake Michigan, and some huge splashes on the St. Joseph, Michigan lighthouse. The outer light tower is 35 feet tall, and this splash is at least twice that height.

While the temperature was in the mid 30s, the wind made the hike to the beach difficult, and standing out on the exposed dune was almost impossible- freezing bare skin in minutes. Next time, I'll bring gloves.

West Beach Snow

West Beach Snow

A fresh blanket of snow covers the Marram Grass growing on the slopes of the sand dunes of West Beach.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Ghost Barge

Ghost Barge

At the confluence of the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Illinois River, in LaSalle, Illinois, a rusted out barge sits in the middle of the steamboat basin, blocking the waterway. Apparently, this is no longer navigable, and it was easier to simply let the barge sit and rust where it was last used. There's another barge a few yards away that is almost unrecognizable, and barely visible in the water.

A rather insignificant end to the canal that ran over 90 miles from Chicago to LaSalle.

Giant Snowball

Giant Snowball

Tired of getting hit by snowballs, Dan gets revenge on his older brother with the biggest snowball of the day. He managed to sneak up on him and get a bulls eye.

Back to the Top

Back to the Top

Boys climb back up to the top of a sand dune to get ready to sled down the snowy face of the dune. Sledding is not allowed at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, I guess they didn't see any Park Rangers around.

At least these kids weren't sledding toward Lake Michigan.

Crossing the Creek

A hiker uses a make-shift bridge to cross the creek running through Illinois Canyon at Starved Rock State Park. One of the last unseasonably warm days in January, just a few days later several inches of snow would cover this area.

To get to the end of this box canyon (canyon that ends in a dead end) you'll need to cross this creek four times as it meanders back and forth.

Lift Bridge Reflections

The Old Burlington Northern Railroad lift bridge over the Illinois River in Ottawa, Illinois on a sunny, unseasonably warm January day. The approach to the steel span is supported by wooden pilings.

Don't Touch

Thorns of a locust tree - beware. A defense left over from the days of the Wooly Mammoth. They're several inches in length and can cover much of the trunk and lower limbs. They will even grow from the roots, preventing animals from getting too close.

Dune Succession

A few hundred yards from Lake Michigan, many different environments can be seen from the top of this dune. Beach, grass, conifer forest, interdunal ponds, wetlands, all within a short distance. This is one of the few places this progression can be seen so close and so clearly.

West Beach, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Windy Dune

The season's first significant snowfall blankets the dunes along the Lake Michigan shore. While it wasn't too windy at the time this photo was taken, it was when the snow fell, bending the Marram grass in the direction of the drifts.

Tiscornia Park. St. Joseph, Michigan

Reflected Color

The colorful, sunbathed canyon walls reflect in the shaded stream running through Illinois Canyon at Starved Rock State Park.

Walking through this canyon is interesting. You need to cross this winding stream at least three times, and the sunlight only hits tiny portions of the ground at a time.

View Through the Ice

A peek at the St. Joseph, Michigan inner lighthouse through the icicles formed on the pier railings. These rails often become completely covered in ice and can be surrounded in ice over 4 feet thick.

Interesting color in the water. The water turned green about 1/2 mile from shore; probably sand kicked up by the waves.

Illinois Canyon In Winter

Yes, winter! Sunday the weather was unseasonably warm in Northern Illinois - in the 40's. No leaves in the trees or flowers on the ground, but Illinois Canyon remains colorful throughout the year. The layers of color in the stone walls bring life to the winter months.

Less than a week later, this canyon is covered in snow. Winter has finally reached Illinois.

Moored and Waiting

Two barges moored using steel cable and tires - yes, tires - big truck tires. The tires act as shock absorbers between the barge and the mooring point. Called "snubbers", they take a bit of stress off of the steel cable when the barge surges and pulls on the cables.

Waiting Snubber

Notice how stretched the group of five tires are. These barges will be unloaded at a company located at the confluence of the Illinois River and the Illinois Michigan Canal's steamboat basin, the end of the I and M Canal. LaSalle, Illinois

Prior to finding this, I noticed a few groups of tires tied with steel cable over an inch in diameter. I assumed they had washed up on the bank, but then I found more tied to the shore. These were probably placed in specific locations just to moor barges waiting to be unloaded.

The Edge of the Fen

Cowles Bog trail runs right along the foot of a dune, right at the transition from Oak savana to wetland. Cowles Bog isn't a bog at all, it's a fen, a wetland with a source of water that is not acidic, but rich in minerals.

One portion of dune progression is easily seen here where the trees turn from Oak and Maple to Birch on the edge of the wetland.

Watering Hole

An interdunal pond tucked away between coastal dunes and a conifer woodland provides water for teams of animals. Evidence of this activity can be seen by the thousands of animal prints in the soft mud surrounding the pond.

Interdunal Pond

On a hike just off the beaten path - following a narrow animal path - I came upon a beautiful interdunal pond. Even though it was only a few hundred yards from a well traveled area, the number of animal prints and absence of shoe prints proved this was not a place often visited by humans.

Dune succession is evident here as the Oak Savanna behind me opened up to this pond between coastal dunes. On the other side of the dune a conifer forest is holding fast, and just beyond is Lake Michigan.

An interdunal pond is a small body of water formed in the "valley" between coastal dunes. The water collects in the low areas and provides a great habitat for small animals as well as wading birds. There are several in this area and many at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Vintage Gas Prices

The Standard Service Station in Odell, Illinois along historic RT 66 has on display a vintage price sheet. It's difficult to imagine prices like this, plus, instead of the common 9 tenths price, it's 7 tenths including tax.

Vintage Gas Pump
An old gas pump stands in front of the service station, and can be seen reflected in the window of the top image.

Starry Night

This piece of driftwood reminded Chris of the painting "Starry Night" by Van Gogh. He found it on the beach during a New Year's Eve walk at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Trees and Roots

A view through trees and roots of the Sag Quarries and St. James of the Sag Bridge Church. A bit of ice on the shady parts of the water are the only signs of winter so far this season.