Point Betsie is one of my favorite locations in Michigan. It’s located just south of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and north of the village of Frankfort. It boasts one of the most extensive light stations in Michigan, which has been lovingly restored in recent years and is a popular destination for tourists.
I had driven up to submit a photograph for an art exhibit that was to be part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the lighthouse. As luck would have it, it was a beautiful early summer day. The sun was warm, there was a fresh gently breeze off the cool lake, and lovely white clouds were scattered across the sky.
Budding photographers are often urged to seek out the warm soft light near sunrise and sunset for their photographs. I’ve certainly taken my share of photos at these times, but I find the dictum too restrictive. I believe you can take beautiful photographs in all kinds of lights. You just have to take the right photographs.
The mid-afternoon sun was high in the sky casting intense light on the scene. The light created too strong a contrast between bright highlights and deep shadows for a successful photograph of the lighthouse. But my spirit was lifted by the beauty of the day, and it was this feeling that I wanted to capture.
The front of the lighthouse is armored against erosion by a sea wall and concrete apron. I set up my tripod on the edge of the sea wall and used a wide angle lens to capture the expansive scene. I included the steal buttress to add interest to the foreground and lead the eye to the horizon.
Polarizing filters have their greatest effect 90° from the sun. With the sun overhead my polarizer enriched the color of the sky and water on the western horizon.