I learned in the Coast Guard to be “Always Ready” for whatever Lake Michigan threw my way. As an outdoor photographer, being “Always Ready” is still a motto I try to live by. And since a November gale is as predictable as a calm day in July, I make certain I am especially prepared and alert for the arrival of that big November blow. Sure enough, on November 6, 2007, Lake Michigan looked like it was in a Mix Master. I donned my waterproof, insulated clothing, Fuji S5 camera body and 500-millimeter Nikon lens and hustled to the water’s edge. Lying in the sand (and occasionally water) on the Ludington beach, I extended the tripod legs flat and let the occasional wave washing beneath me help bury the tripod solidly in the sand to minimize movement resulting from the powerful northwest winds. After nearly an hour of shooting, at about 2 p.m., sunlight began breaking sporadically through the storm clouds. The resulting “storm light” turned on my adrenaline like a light switch. I was totally engrossed in trying to shoot peak moments of light and wave. I made several images in which the waves totally obscured the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse as they flew over the top of the lamp house. Then came the moment I was looking for—that delicate balance between power and beauty. Mission accomplished.

The Big Blow


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