Superior Mirage

Superior Mirage 
 While hiking on some dunes near the shore of Lake Michigan, I captured the Michigan City East Pierhead lighthouse from the Central Beach area, a bit more than 2 miles away. The land on the horizon to the left of the lighthouse is over 30 miles in the distance, and generally cannot be seen from this vantage point. Thanks to Google Earth, I determined the land in the center of the image is actually north of Bridgeman, Michigan!

When conditions are perfect, a superior mirage forms, making the land past the curvature of the earth visible, but upside-down. While this mirage was not as perfect as I've seen them, a portion of the land closest to the water is upside-down. In the past, I've seen the entire object in the distance upside-down - including all of the buildings in the Chicago skyline. 

 Because of the optics of a superior mirage, objects that are normally past our view can be seen hovering over the water, forcing plenty of double-takes by visitors to the beach.


Backlit Fiddlehead 
 Each Spring, I look forward to visiting the woods, the prairie, and the wetlands to watch life "wake up." One of the more interesting things for me to find are fern fiddleheads. Late April and early May are the best time to view them as they are all opening up at the same time, and they often fill the shaded areas of the wetlands. 

Generally, Cowles Bog is a great spot to find ferns, right at the end of the boardwalk through the wetland. This is the spot I generally pick in the early spring. This year, I decided to check out the dune ridge trail, near Kemil Beach. I remember plenty of skunk cabbage and ferns located in a small area next to the trail adjacent to the wetland. Sure enough, there were plenty of ferns emerging.
 The evening sunlight filtered through the budding trees and illuminated the fiddleheads at a low angle, and sometimes from behind. There are so many stages of unrolling, from a disk of white hairs to seeing the first small fronds curled up inside the tightly wrapped spiral. They're always facinating to me. Soon, these fiddleheads will become 18 inch long fern fronds that cover the wetland floor.