Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 12

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 12
January 23, 2014

“Crisp” would be a word for my pilgrimage to Lake Michigan today. Wow it’s cold! And sunny! And the fresh air: surprisingly welcome.

Beyond the harbor where the ice is white, the lake is deep blue today.

An article this morning said that over 60% of the Great Lakes is frozen. This is good news for us and for the lakes because the ice cover prevents evaporation that lowers the water levels. 60% ice coverage has not been common in recent years. Last year it was 30%.

Unfortunately, the ice is not good for Great Lakes shipping because ships are getting stuck in the ice. I am going to guess that will make products more expensive, or else that people will make less money on product shipments this year. It’s better for our water though, which to me seems very important.

One of the benefits of walking is that I get to do some thinking. This coming semester I’ll be teaching a course on ‘photography as a research tool’. My thoughts have been occupied by ideas about observation and investigation; and how photography is not only a way to record, explore, and communicate. It’s also a means to find out about things.

The other day in this series I wrote a little about differences between observation and looking.

There’s looking, and observing, and seeing and watching. All of which are slightly or significantly distinct from one another. There’s also thinking; and applying thinking to looking.

It’s going to be a fun semester wandering around amidst these topics.

The tiny floes of ice from yesterday are more broken today. And yet somehow they also seem thicker or more interconnected; the water beneath them more viscous and powerful. As I knelt to listen, the snapping and crackling from yesterday was there, more prominent.

And I heard something else: moaning, wheezing, a low whining cry.

I looked out over the lake. The ice was slowly rising and falling in response to swells in the water beneath, and it looked every bit like a lung breathing. I stayed and watched until my phone shut down frozen and my hands hurt.

And I thought damn, it’s cold! And I headed back.


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