Under Sail

A sailboat returns to the Black River after a day's sailing on Lake Michigan. The South Haven, Michigan lighthouse and catwalk guide her into the harbor.

Catching Some Air

Windy days in South Haven, Michigan not only bring out photographers hoping to capture a 50 or 60 foot splash of water over the lighthouse, it brings out sportsmen as well.

Surfers, wind surfers and parasurfers find the area just south of the Black River and the lighthouse perfect for their sport.

Aided by the wind, this parasurfer managed to hit a wave and jump into the air at least 20 feet, and perform a back flip or two before returning to the water.


Water Patterns

Clouds create interesting shadows on Lake Michigan, in the morning sunshine. From the top of this 80 foot tall sand dune, Lake Michigan looks calm, but the high winds of the morning built waves around 10 feet tall, and sent them crashing into the beach.

Rip currents are very strong along this part of Lake Michigan when the surf is high, and as inviting as it appears to enjoy the waves, it's best to keep out of the water on days like these. Even strong swimmers have perished along this stretch of beach.

Dewey Caterpillar

While visiting Oak Park Cemetery in Ligonier, Indiana, I stumbled upon a tiny, hairy caterpillar walking up an old, mossy tombstone. It was a damp day, and this little guy was laden with lots of little dewdrops.

Blue, Green and White

The Michigan City lighthouse seen from Central Beach on a very windy day. The spotty sunlight turns Lake Michigan into a multicolored landscape of curling liquid.

Beneath the Driftwood

A worm's eye view of a large piece of driftwood that washed up on the shore of the Indiana Dunes. A couple of days of high winds kicked up Lake Michigan, and pushed the waves up onto the base of the dunes.

Portions of the beach were totally under water due to the high waves, and the dunes began crumbling into the lake. Somehow, this log was pushed up onto the dune.

South Haven Splash

Another powerful wave breaks against the South Haven, Michigan pier and lighthouse, creating a 50 foot tall splash. This pier is a great place to witness high waves and splashes on windy days. Winters are especially dramatic when the splashes cover the lighthouse with ice.

While I don't care for winter weather, I have to admit I can't wait to see this year's ice.

Watching the Waves

Gale force winds pounded the shore of Lake Michigan yesterday, creating waves large enough to crash over the South Haven, Michigan lighthouse and pier.

High winds were around for a couple of days, so I decided to drive up to South Haven, Michigan after work last night (120 miles each way). I arrived around 7:00 pm, just before sunset, to capture some great waves and splashes. This is a very popular place for residents and visitors to walk - although high winds seem to attract lots more people.

South Haven Wind

We found several people in the water on jet skis, surfboards and kayaks. The high waves make these sports more fun.

In a few more weeks, winds and waves like these coupled with freezing temperatures will cover this lighthouse in ice . While I can't wait for the ice formations, I much prefer visiting this lighthouse with the current temperatures.

Summer on the Pier

A short and scenic walk from the downtown shopping area, the pier in South Haven, Michigan is a great place for a stroll in almost any weather, especially in the summer. The beach is always full of sun worshipers while Lake Michigan and the Black River team with swimmers and boaters.

South Haven is the perfect Great Lakes summertime destination. While I really enjoy visiting in the summer, I love visiting in the winter - even though I hate winter weather. Lake Michigan takes on an alien look when it's frozen, and the lighthouse itself often gets covered in ice.

south haven light north side

There's a dramatic difference between the casual, relaxing summertime image, and the icy winter.

Enjoying the Pebbles

Danny sits in the pebbles and searches for little fossils. We generally find a handful of interesting fossils and geodes on each visit.

This portion of Central Beach is usually under water. It seems a few times each year, this area becomes dry, and you can walk along the shore. It must be when the winds are strong off shore and they blow the water to the other shore of the lake.

Beach Flower

Each summer ,these yellow flowers blossom amidst the Marram grass of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. They are so striking in the sunshine against the deep blue sky.


The Flagship Niagra fires its cannon during the Tall Ships Chicago Parade of Sail on Lake Michigan. Over 20 tall ships participated in the parade, along with countless modern sailboats.

The best place to see the ships is on Navy Pier, but during the parade of sail, the boats were not moored at the pier, so why pay $15 just to walk out there?

Sailing Chicago

It was a beautiful summer day for a sail along Chicago's lakefront. The Tall Ships Chicago festival kicked off this afternoon with a parade of sail. The parade includes 20 tall ships, but dozens of modern, small sailboats ventured onto the lake around the parade.

We walked along the lakefront for a couple of hours (five miles to be exact) to find a good location for photographing the parade. After discovering we could no longer access the breakwater from the DuSable Harbor area, we walked back to Northerly Island where the parade was set to begin. The tiered retaining wall along the shore was perfect - great for seating, and tall enough so people walking past did not walk in front of the camera.

This small sailboat heads out to join the others, with the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse on the horizon.

Windpoint Lighthouse

The Wind Point, Wisconsin shoreline is much different than the Indiana and Michigan side of Lake Michigan - it's much rockier, making it difficult to wade out into the lake for a photograph. The submerged, algae covered rocks are very slippery, and the waves hide the bottom of the lake from view, making the walk out rather difficult.

While I've visited this light station numerous times, I've never been here in warm weather, so the Lake was always frozen - hiding the rocky shore.

Windpoint Wisconsin

There is a small museum inside the old fog house, containing a handful of relics, some beautiful model ships and souvenirs. The area is beautifully maintained with flower gardens and a fountain or two, and the rocky shore is a great place to find fossils and interesting rocks.


While walking around the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, I spotted lots of these insects hovering around the trails. They hover in an exact spot for minutes - as if they were hanging by a string. When you get close, they zoom away extremely fast, then hover a few feet away.

They almost appear mechanical since they are able to stay in one exact spot for so long. I believe this is a Horse Fly, or Hybomitra Epistates. They're a lot of fun to watch.

This one was hovering over the trail through Cowles Bog.

Flat Snake

While beginning the 2 mile walk back from the beach back into Cowles Bog, I spotted this tiny Hognose snake. Looks to be a juvenile (judging by his small size). He was very docile, never even pretended to bite, and didn't try to get away.

Little, Flat Snake

I've never seen one so flat before. I know when Hognose snakes are threatened, their heads flatten almost like a cobra, but this snake was totally flat all the way to his tail.

Maybe my identification is wrong...any ideas?

Six Lined Racerunner

For years I've heard of lizards living in certain places of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and every once in a while, I've spotted one running through the Marram Grass, but I've never been able to get a photograph of one.............until last Saturday.

Walking through the grass, I spotted this little lizard running from clump to clump. I tried to photograph him, but he kept hiding, so I kept him moving for about five minutes. That was enough to get him tired so he was easy to catch.

This particular Racerunner was a juvenile; I've seen them at least twice as large. Lizards are commonly found in the southern United States, but rarely seen this far north. I suppose the unique environment of the Indiana Dunes helps support this population. Other plants and animal species not common to the area have a hold here too, including Prickly Pear Cactus, Pitcher's Thistle, and it's possible there is a breeding population of Rattlesnake as well - I can't confirm that....yet.

Bald Roots

One of the few trees that has managed to survive at the top of Mt. Baldy. The constant wind moves the sand from the lakeside of the dune to the opposite side at a rate of about four feet a year. There were plenty of sailboats on Lake Michigan this sunny Saturday morning.

Early Morning Storm

A severe storm approached the area this morning, making the drive to work a great visual experience. I left early enough to stop and capture the storm front moving in over an abandoned farm in Cook County.

This Morning's Storm

Moments after these images were taken, the winds picked up to around 50 mph and the rain began to fall. The remainder of the drive to work was wet, and not nearly as dramatic as the first 10 minutes.

Common Green Darner

Lake Michigan was as calm as a pond on Saturday morning, with bright sunshine - in stark contrast to the Chicago area which was covered by clouds.

The calm waters allowed us to explore Kintzele Ditch a bit farther upstream than usual. During our walk, we came across lots of wildlife, including this dragonfly, a Common Green Darner. He flew over the stream, dipped into it briefly and then landed on some tall grass. He didn't seem to mind me getting closer and closer, and only moved when I changed lenses and attempted to get within an inch of him.