This is Michigan?

Michigan sand dune pictures

Michigan sand dunes (aka. Mars) – polished smooth by the winds from Lake Michigan

Normally when I am showing photos from various places around the state, and I come to images from a unique spot, say like Pictured Rocks, I often get statements of “This is Michigan?” from people who have lived here their entire lives.   For some place like Pictured Rocks, I suppose I can understand because not a lot of people venture up to the middle of the Upper Peninsula.   Well, I had my own “This is Michigan?” moment when visiting Silver Lake Dunes, and yet it is not as far away and remote as Pictured Rocks.  I should know better that this state still holds some gems I have yet to uncover.

I have not seen very many images from here like many other spots photographers like to visit.   I think perhaps it may have earned a reputation of being cluttered up with dune buggy tracks, or trampled by dune climbers like so many other spots.   However, in off season, when the nearby town is closed for the winter, you can easily get the feeling you may be on another planet… Mars immediately comes to mind.

Below is a more typical Lake Michigan shoreline and the dunes most people are familiar with.   Dune grasses, sand, and the lake.   Quite a contrast considering these two images were made only about an hour and a half drive from each other as far as location.

Lake Michigan shoreline pictures

Lake Michigan shoreline; dune grasses, sand and beach

For me it was quite refreshing to still be able to have a “This is Michigan?” moment.   I hope I will continue to have many more of them in the future.


  1. Great catch on that first one. It’s a challenge to time dunes just right to get them with no tracks. Hats off to you for finding out that the town closes down during the off-season and the dunes are pure at that time.
    David Leland Hyde recently posted..Running With The Bears Marathon Postcards FundraiserMy Profile

    • Thanks David. Although it is a mirage to think that civilization is so far away, it is nice to be absorbed by the fantasy for just a moment.

  2. You’ve made me want to explore more of North Carolina. I’ll bet that there are many hidden gems here as well. I love your dune shots. I, for one, would have never guessed that it was Michigan.
    Paul recently posted..The insufficiency of wordsMy Profile

  3. I hear people say that it’s a small world but, in fact, there is a lot more to it than folks realize. I’ve had a “This is (fill in the blank)” moment right here in New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, South Dakota and so on. Excellent images.
    ken bello recently soft where!!!My Profile

    • So true Ken. I am constantly reminded of how little we all know and places practically in my own backyard. Thanks as always!

  4. Mark, if I hadn’t seen the show on TV about these very dunes I wouldn’t have thought of Michigan. They are pretty remarkable and you did a great job capturing some of the beauty and mystery of the place. Very nice and I’m expected returned visits from you. ;-)

    In a slightly related topic…the older I get the more I come to understand we are only limited by ourselves whether it comes to finding and photographing the uniqueness of our local states, traveling to places on our bucket list or simply learning a bit more about ourselves. I don’t think you get any particular wisdom with age…if you’re lucky you just learn how to cut through the bullshit and focus on what’s important. :-)
    Earl recently posted..From the enjoyment zoneMy Profile

  5. Another awesome image, Mark. I spent some time this morning at one of the local nature areas I frequent and of course discovered some new photographic opportunities. I think that happens each time I’m out there. Along with Earl we do expect more!
    Monte Stevens recently posted..Walking with our MuseMy Profile

  6. I have been up to Pictured Rocks twice and never would have believed that the stone really looks like it does had I not seen it with my own eyes. The dunes are gorgeous. Makes me wonder why my wife moved away from Michigan to marry me LOL!!!!

  7. Beautiful images, Mark. It’s always nice to discover something new that’s practically in your backyard. I every once in a while have a, “Is this California?” moment, and it’s always very exciting when I do.

  8. Really love both of these images but think the ones of the dunes is my fave, like you said very Mars like :)
    Ben Tucker recently posted..Reflections of the Lake District November 2012My Profile

  9. There is nothing quite like the joy of discovery. It is the best part of the child within that persists.
    Anita Jesse recently posted..I Brought It on MyselfMy Profile

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