After our first night under the stars I went back to the hotel, arriving around 5:30 a.m. ready to get some sleep. Unfortunately most of the hotel housekeeping staff, whose laundry room was across the hall from me, were arriving as well. And don’t even talk about the family with three kids who were in the room next door.
I gave up on napping and drove around a little bit looking for barns. And as the afternoon wound down I went out to the lake to see what kind of sunset was going to happen.
And to people watch.
Both were fun, but I was really waiting impatiently for the skies to darken again.
My friend and I were meeting at Esch Beach at midnight where we hoped to shoot the Milky Way amongst a stand of tall, dead trees. It seemed promising.
It turns out that on a warm Friday night the beach is a busy place. Lots of people sitting next to lots of fires which lit up the trees with a bold, red glow. OK then. We’ll just consider that our light painting and work with it.
While we were shooting the trees we listened to the group of people sitting right behind us discuss what we were doing. “Are they taking pictures of the Milky Way?” “IS that the Milky Way up there or just a bunch of clouds?” “Do you think I can get it with my phone?” “Look how cool that looks on the back of their cameras!”
When we moved off, closer to the beach, to see if there were northern lights (my friend was getting alerts for the lights on her phone) over the lake they were all standing up pointing their phones to the sky.
Made me smile.
And guess what? Though we couldn’t see anything but darkness out over the water, the cameras told us otherwise. It was my first time ‘seeing’ the northern lights. I was pretty excited.
Then more carloads of people began to arrive, so we decided to drive back to Point Betsie and try to get some more Milky Way images. The night was young. The air was warm. The lake calm. No time to waste!
No one was out on the beach at Point Betsie, and I shot my favorite house in the dunes again.
Then we walked up closer to the lighthouse, for a different angle.
It was pure magic and I loved being there in the warm darkness. I took a few images and then just sat down on a piece of cement in front of the lighthouse and watched the sky and listened to the gentle waves.
We didn’t mean to stay out all night again…it just happened. And when we finally left it was hard for me to say goodbye to my lake.
Lake Michigan is special no matter the season or circumstance. The lake under the stars?