Seagulls And Sunrises

This land belongs to the gulls
And the gulls to their cry
And their cry to the wind
And their cry to the wind
—David Gray


Michigan City. It’s a town of about 30,000 people, nestled in the northwest corner of Indiana, across the bottom of Lake Michigan from Chicago. My family has vacationed there for upwards of 20 years, and in that time feel like I’ve exhausted just about every local photographic subject. Except recently, I’ve discovered two (sometimes overlapping) themes that seem to present different opportunities every day—seagulls and sunrises.

So here are a few snaps I’ve taken this summer. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them. (As always, you can click on the thumbnails for a larger view.)

Sunrise On The Beach, Continued

Woke up, peeked through the blinds, and all I could see in the sky was red.

Checked my phone: 4:58 a.m. Plenty of time to get down to the beach for some pictures before we had to finish packing and clean up. Threw on some clothes, grabbed my camera, and hustled down as fast as I could. By the time I got there, most of the original red in the sky was gone, but I still managed to capture a pretty cool sunrise.

After the sun was comfortably up, I looked up the beach; it looked like someone was out walking their dog. But that was a very big dog … I attached the zoom lens, and surprise, it was a deer, two deer, THREE deer, frolicking on the beach and answering my wishes from yesterday. I snapped a few pictures before they hustled back up into the dunes. But then, a few minutes later, two more deer came down to get a drink. Maybe it was two of the original three, I don’t know, but it was sure a nice sendoff to end my vacation.

All in all, I ended up shooting about twice as many pictures this morning as I had all of the last week. Some of the highlights are below: you can click on the thumbnails for a larger view.

Oh yeah, and it was a beautiful morning … the first one all week, and we had to leave.


Sunrise On The Beach

IMG_2793I had hoped that a vacation—six days at a beach house on Lake Michigan—might rekindle my interest in photography. Away from home and my deeply ingrained habits, and in a place with abundant natural beauty if you’re willing to look for it, I should be able to relearn the joy of capturing interesting scenery with my camera. I had even planned to spend a morning hiking in Indiana Dunes State Park, a few miles down the road, figuring there would be plenty of photo opportunities there.

Unfortunately, however, about 95 percent of the time we’ve been here—today was our last full day—the sky has been mostly or completely overcast. Several of the days have brought rain, and several others brought persistent fog: low, muting clouds that sucked the color and contrast from anything you could see.

Let’s just say the camera stayed in its bag most of the time I’ve been here.

But I decided that this morning, clouds or not, I would get up early—sunrise is the best time for pictures around here (anywhere, really)—and go to the beach for some photos. Once again, however, the pickings were slim. We’ve been coming to this beach house for two decades now, so it feels like I’ve shot just about everything there is to shoot around here. I was hoping, actually, to catch some deer in the overgrown scrub in the dunes between the road and the beach, but no luck. I was able to focus on some dune grass with the beach in the background, as you can see above, which, I guess, is better than nothing.

While at the beach, though, I did indulge in another tradition I used to follow, but had neglected the last couple of years—a sunrise swim. (OK, with the cloud cover, I have no idea when the sun actually rose. We didn’t even see it until 4 in the afternoon.) The air temperature was somewhere around 60 degrees … but it turned out the water was about the same; it wasn’t uncomfortable at all to get in. (Even though, when I dipped my toes into the same water 10 hours later in the relative warmth of the afternoon, the water felt frigid.) Of course, I had the beach to myself at that hour. The clouds may have owned the sun, but I owned the beach.

I may not have produced much in the way of interesting photography this morning or this week, but I did get a few moments of communion with Lake Michigan, so that’s something. Next time, we’ll order up some blue sky.