Bitterly Cold Lighthouse Photo
The recent news of the massive snowstorms hitting the Midwest and Northeast made me think of this photo from a year ago.
In early January of 2022, I saw that Michigan was going to get hit with a winter storm — ice, snow, high winds, the whole works. I did what any sane photographer would do — get in the car and head north! Although I like a warm evening with a good sunset, I’m just as happy with a freezing cold wind blowing in my face as I try to steady my camera and take a picture of snow and ice. In fact, the ever-changing winter landscape is a lot of fun to photograph. No two winters are alike, and ice and snow can change a landscape overnight.
As I drove north, the weather continually got worse. By the time I reached South Haven, there were near whiteout conditions and we were only going about 30 miles per hour. I pushed on to Grand Haven, another hour north. As I arrived, the snow slowed down, and I headed to the state park to check out the lighthouse. I was pleased to see a fresh coat of snow, plus some ice on the lighthouse. I decided to check into a hotel, then come back for sunset.
As it got closer to sunset, I decided to drive to the north side of the channel and photograph the lighthouse from there. Arriving on site, I was excited to see lots of snow and no footprints — a photographer’s dream! Unfortunately, it had clouded up and there was no sunset to speak of. As the light dimmed, I found a composition I liked with the lighthouse, a frozen railing, snow, and a tree with some ice in it:
I rather liked how the lights from the catwalk were reflected in the water, and they bounced around a bit on the waves. The railing and paths were covered in ice. I wish there had been more ice on the tree, but I’m not going to get greedy. Did I mention it was cold? It was cold. And windy. But very much worth it.
Currently I’m in New Mexico photographing vintage motels along Route 66. There will be a lot of content coming from this trip.
Of all the lighthouse photos you’ve shared, this one has to be my favorite. The play of light on the water, the twinkling lights on the way out to the small building, the low glow of red light, the snow—just sensational. Thank you for sharing this scene.
Thanks! I take a lot of lighthouse photos and don’t share too many. This is also one of my more recent favorites, though. I plan to do a lot of winter travel to lighthouses in the next few months. Maine in January 2023 is already booked!