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The light shines again at South Manitou !

Just got back from a lighthouse trip? Have you just finished photographing every aspect of one lighthouse? Post the pictures here! Lighthouse-related photos are also welcome.

Postby Hersh » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:11 pm


With two re-lighting ceremonies scheduled for May 30th, I had no choice but to plan a Michigan trip around that day. I was able to stay at a friend's cottage in the UP as my base of operations. It was kinda like camping but with a fully stocked fridge and flat screen TV. But I digress.....

On Saturday after the McGulpin Point ceremony in the afternoon I journeyed to Glen Haven to watch something I've dreamed about for a long time, the re-lighting of South Manitou Island Light, my favorite lighthouse.

It was an interesting proposition, witness the lighting of a lighthouse on an island miles offshore from the mainland. But with some big Nikon glass in my bag I was confident that I'd have the best seat in the house for the event. The closest photo I've been able to get to SMI from the mainland is this shot, equivalent to 1,200mm of zoom on my D300.

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While we were waiting for darkness, we were treated to a very nice program by the NPS talking about the lighthouse and the Manitou passage. They also arranged to have a tall ship based in Traverse City come by and add some flavor to the event. It was an excellent touch.

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On this frigid, windy night, the sun was setting behind the island, further limiting the photographic options. But I banged away a few frames as the re-lighting came closer and closer. We were all down on the beach shivering in the wind. Some people took snapshots with pocket point & shoots that almost certainly came out worthless, so I was glad to be set up on the tripod with the aforementioned big glass. By the time it was over, I had a bit of a crown around me looking at my shots on the LCD. (I was glad to show them)

I've watched the sun set over this dark tower too many times. It was exciting to know that that was about to end.

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At the signal from the park Superintendent the honorary keeper at South Manitou would flip the switch, lighting the tower for the first time since 1958. That honorary keeper was Jack Sheridan, the great grandson of Aaron Sheridan, the first keeper of the present South Manitou Light, who lit it for the first time in 1872.

With the clear night, it was obvious that the sky wouldn't full dark for eons after the official sunset at 9:22pm, and with the howling winds it was decided to hit the switch at 9:52 and the Manitou Passage was again lit. It was an awesome moment.

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Mike Hershberger
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Postby Grover1 » Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:20 am


Mike ... Thanks for the post ... even from this far away, along the Atlantic shores of NJ, you had me feeling the anitcipation of the relighting ... I would imagine only part of the chill you felt was weather induced ...

If it can be translated from feeling to words, what is it about SML that made it your favorite?
Believe those who search for the truth ...
Doubt those who find it ...
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:47 pm


Mike, thanks for your fabulous sequenial post showing the re-lighting -- while not my favorite favorite, South Manitou is right up there in my top 10 --almost like being in annother more tranquil universe........

I was out there last August, and it was just perfect shooting weather -- I had plenty of time to knock around the Lightstation and just take a good look at things -- I think those are the times I like best.........

Being from the "flatlands", you know,we can't just drive off to these kind of spots every day -- we always have to trade off a long time of travel for the short time of being there........

Thanks again for the post -- It was almost like being there.......... 8)
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Postby Hersh » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:45 pm


Thanks Chuck, I'm glad you were able to re-live those memories. It's a big deal for me to make it up to this neighborhood, about 4-5 hours usually... But it's sooooo worth it.
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Postby CHUCKX53 » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:00 pm


What we need here is transporters aka Star Trek, or even better, wormholes like Stargate --- It's the 21st century already, where are my flying cars, my robot servants, my vacations to the moon and Mars that we were promised back 40 years or so ago ?

I'm about 120 miles SW of you, so add a couple of hours to that each way for me --- Terry knows, he used to live over by Ft. Wayne, just how much hassle this is, at times.........

But yeah......It is so worth It :D

Keep 'em coming, Mike -- I enjoy all your posts............
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:12 pm


Used to be a 360 miles one-way drive to Mackinaw City for me from Roanoke - just outside of Fort Wayne.

Now it's 20 minutes to Mackinaw City, 1 1/2 hours to Whitefish Point, 2 hours to Leland and 2 1/2 miles to Sturgeon Point.

Come on up - the water's fine.
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Postby Hersh » Sat Jun 27, 2009 7:26 pm


Well Terry, in 9 years when my pension is locked in I may very well join you up in God's country.
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