Along the Shoreline in the Winter

A few weeks ago my wife and I flew from Tucson AZ to Michigan to attend a memorial service for her sister. We had not been back to our home town of South Haven in the winter many years now after living in Illinois, and California for over 30 years.

We’ve been there during the summertime when the weather is warm and humid but have avoided going back during the off-season. South Haven is a small 7,000 population town situated on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan about 45 miles directly east of Kalamazoo, and about 100 miles west across the lake from Chicago, Illinois. On the map it is just about where the Van Buren State Park is located. During the summer large yachts fill its port, some as large as 150 feet long and others like cigarette boats, skinny racing boats streak along the shoreline. South Haven has always been a resort town serving both Chicago to the west and Detroit to the east since the depression years of our country. It is the fruit capital of the midwest boasting blueberries, cherries, apples and pears.

Located to the north about 25 miles is the village of Saugatuck. The Paugusset Indians who lived nearby along the Kalamazoo river named the area  Saugatuck which meant “mouth of the river.” The towns history ranges from early 1800s and then was incorporated 1868 and has become a small artist community. The population goes from just a couple thousand individuals to many thousand in the summer months. The sun, sand, and water brings them all here.

The weather this time of year is usually cloudy and cold. It was in the lower 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the evenings to a whole 33 degrees during the daytime. South Haven, our home town has a beautiful beach, pier, and downtown but during the winter everything grinds to a slow crawl. South Haven is a larger community with probably 5,000 in the winter but swells to 3 or 4 times that many during the resort season. Saugatuck closes down with many of the shops only open weekends and weekdays from 11 AM till probably 2 PM.

Cold blustery day at the beach. Thirty-three degrees. (f/4, 1/1000 sec., ISO 80, 9.8 mm, 0 ev, Canon G12)

I took a shot down at the beach. As a photographer…the clouds were wonderful and I could see snow squalls over the lake. Snow fences were up to slow the sand from drifting away from the shore as well as preventing the snow from drifting to huge proportions.

I decided to try some black and white photography up the shore toward Saugatuck and they are quite nice I think. Tell me if you think it looks forlorn and cold. It sure does to me.

Late 1800’s pilings into Lake Michigan with an iceberg in the distance. (f/4, 1/800 sec., ISO 80, 13.8 mm, 0 ev, Canon G12)

Okay…time for one more.

The remains of an old wharf at Oxbow beach. (f/3.5, 1/1000 sec., ISO 100, 30.5 mm, 0 ev, Canon G12)

Okay time to head back to the 80 degree Tucson heat, but first a cuddle by the fire and hot mug of coffee with my sweetie 🙂