Pronounced Mackinaw, the Mackinac Bridge was finished in 1957, and it connets the lower and upper peninsulia of Michigan.
It’s just about 5 miles across, and once a year, on Labor Day, they close one side of it to traffic and let people walk across. I’ve done that once, and it was amazing.
This past week I booked 3 nights at the Straits State Park which is located just over the bridge, on the UP side of the water, hoping to practice some night photography. I booked three nights because you just never know about the weather. Would there be a clear night to shoot? Or would we have cloudy skies and rain?
I has lovely campsite, a grassy spot right on the beach with my own private path down to the water. That, of course, aforded me numerous opportunities to run out there and shoot an image. Or a dozen of them.
The first night I was there was clear, and after messing around in the evening getting some shots I set my alarm for 1 a.m. and went for the star and bridge combination. As I figured, the lights from the bridge washed out most of the stars, but I had a nice warm night playing around with settings, so I didn’t mind. And I figured I’d have a couple more nights to try again.
The next day was another beautiful clear morning. I wandered down to the shore, noting the family of geese that had slept there and the freighter going under the bridge. All of that was fun, but I was planning on traveling up to Whitefish Point to see if I could get some more interesting night photography in. So I headed out.
That ended up being a story in itself. Though it was 85 and muggy on the Straits, it was 58 and pouring rain up at the point. So no night photography there! I headed back down to my campsite, and found this:
I was so glad I didn’t miss this, glad that it was cold and rainy where I had intended to spend my evening. The fog was so beautiful.
And then the sun began to set. I could tell this was going to be spectacular.
And I wasn’t wrong.
We all sat out there on the beach until the last bit of pink light faded and the fog rolled the rest of the way in. No night photography for sure, but I didn’t mind at all. And in the morning we woke to this:
So much fog I couldn’t even see the beach! So I headed out to find something interesting somewhere else. As soon as I left the park the fog lifted, it was hanging around over the water, but the rest of the penninsula was warm and sunny. But that is also another blog post.
When I got home I had one last chance to try for the pretty lights on the bridge. You’d think I had enough images of the Mighty Mac (and I did have several hundred) but you’d be wrong. I hadn’t quite got the one image I had in my mind.
You know the one. The one people line up on beaches on both sides of the Straits to see every clear summer night.
When I got it a smile spread over my face. I’m sure the others on the beach didn’t know why I was giggling. But I did. When you get the one, you know.
And in the morning, to say goodbye, the bridge again cloaked itself in fog just so I could get one more artsy-fartsy image. Because she knows I’m always looking for that special shot.
Such a fitting way to say goodbye. For now.