Light on the bluff in Saint Joseph, Michigan.I love the winter in Southwestern Michigan.  Yes, it can be quite cold, but it is also exceptionally beautiful.  I possibly spend more time outside enjoying walks and taking photos in the winter than I do during the hot summer months.  

In fact, my love of the cold is partially to blame for me having not written a blog post in a while; I have just been spending too much time outside.

TSunset along Lake Michiganhe transformation of the shoreline of Lake Michigan is astounding.  Layer upon layer of ice covers everything.  The trees, rocks, and even blades of grass are encased in ice several inches thick.  When it is cold and does not snow, the ice is crystal clear and shimmers in the sunlight and almost seems to glow during the colorful sunsets.  When the snow falls, everything is transformed again in a blanket of white, and the individual details disappear. 

Silver Beach County ParkWhen I walk along the lake at Silver Beach County Park and look out at the icebergs and ice shelf, it is hard to believe that just a few months ago the beach was full of swimmers, sunbathers, and volleyball players.  Interestingly, however, on winter days when the wind is right, the waves are perfect, and the ice cooperates, you may still find some of Southwestern Michigan's dedicated surfers out enjoying the lake.

As I walk along the lakeshore, I am inspired to take a seemingly endless number of photos: the mountains of snow and ice, patters of snow and sand, snow covered sculptures, the icy lighthouse, animal tracks in the snow, crashing waves, etc. 

This year, I havSnowflakee also been making an extra effort to look even closer.  Seeing tiny snowflakes and ice crystals through my camera lens has been captivating.  The variety of shapes is amazing and the way that the types of flakes change depending on weather is fascinating.  Recently, every time it snows, I find myself running outside to see what type of snowflakes we are getting. 

On warmer days when the ice starts to melt a little, I find it equally mesmerizing to be outside with my camera.  Looking at tiny pools of water, drips from icicles, and the trees and plants emerging from the ice and snow are a source of endless fascination.   

When I am inside, I find myself sitting near the window with a cup of coffee thinking of where to go next.