Ludington Storm2 Comments
I was on the first day of a winter road trip that would eventually cover most of the coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Strong winds and high seas had been battering the shore of Lake Michigan all day long, and now storm clouds were moving in in force. I arrived in Ludington as sunset was approaching to encounter a breathtaking scene.
The actual temperature was hovering in the low teens, and winds were gusting near 40 mph. The wind chill was nearly unbearable. I wear relatively thin liner gloves when I’m shooting in the winter so I can adjust my camera. I could only stand the conditions for a few minutes at a time and even so came the closest I’ve ever been to freezing my fingers. They were numb when I returned to my car but really started to scream as they warmed up.
I set up on a small dune near the mouth of the harbor within the protective walls of the breakwater. The Ludington lighthouse is at the end of one of the longest piers in Michigan, so I mounted my Sigma 70-200 zoom with a 1.4x teleconverter. For this shot I didn’t take advantage of the extra reach the teleconverter provides, but I did for others and I wasn’t about to change my lens in these conditions.
Immense waves were crashing into the pier and shooting nearly 60 feet in the air. From my vantage point they seemed to move in slow motion, so it was relatively easy to catch the peak. Beams of light pierced the ochre colored clouds. Off in the distance birds were tumbling and wheeling in the wind, as if this was most fun they’d had in a long time. It gave me a new respect for gulls.
Because I wanted this shot to be sharp throughout the image, I chose a moderate aperture of f/8 for greater depth of field. The shutter speed of 1/125 second was sufficient to freeze the motion of the waves.