Lake Michigan Light House, South Haven Pier during a storm.

Lake Michigan Light House, South Haven Pier during a storm.
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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken on South Beach at South Haven Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan.
It was a stormy day in late September and we had heard that gale force winds would be hitting shores of Lake Michigan. We drove about 50 miles to South Beach in South Haven Michigan to witness the spectacular waves that occur on the lake during these conditions. The lighthouse on the pier is always a favorite backdrop for photos and that afternoon was no disappointment. Waves crashed the pier and nearly broke as high as the lighthouse itself.
The sky was overcast. Normally the sun would begin to set in the west had it been a bit later on a clear day but today it was totally obscured. I simply used auto settings on my Canon Power Shot and zoomed in on the lighthouse from the beach, not using a tripod. I tried to time shots to catch waves as they broke against it. The wind made it difficult to stand and the sand was blowing in my face. I had a lens cloth in my bag to keep the lens clean from droplets and sand that sprayed.
I used a hand held Canon Power Shot with Zoom lens.
The inspiration for this photo was to try and capture and convey the wild majestic fury of the Great Lakes. It is something many are unaware of and have never seen but is as treacherous as any ocean on earth.
I do very little in post-processing. In this shot I enhanced the contrast and the color saturation slightly. I try to achieve as much vibrancy in the color tones as I can while not making the whole thing look artificial. Usually I use either Picasa or some of the basic parts of Photoshop, which I barely have begun to learn.
In my camera bag
Back when I took this photo I only had my Canon Power Shot. I later bought a Canon Rebel EOS. I pack the 75-300mm lens and the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. Most of my photos are not of Lake Michigan but are of roadside scenes that I find along the way on my bike hikes near my home in Southwest Michigan. I am semi-retired and try to bike as often as time permits and carry my camera to take shots of the land as seasons change. I usually will crop my shots and adjust color and contrast to achieve the best natural look. I am still learning the basics of composing and getting the right settings for proper depth of field and proper focal points on macro shots. Then again, on a bike hike, there isn't that much time to spend.
There was no special secret to taking this shot with an automatic setting and digital zoom camera. However, when you visit a beach during a time of blowing sand, park your car with the front facing away from the wind. The sand clogged the radiator and our alternator. The garage bill was priceless!

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