2. Franklin Scenes (Cont.)
Taking a break for the evening at Frankfort provided a good opportunity to get to know another region of the state. It is a beautiful area, and mineral-wise, is known for a slag 'throw-away' called 'Frankfort Green', used in jewelry. The ice on the ponds will keep us from any collecting this early in the season, so time to do some 'touring'. 

We were fortunate to find lodging at the Harbor Lights Resort, which sat adjacent to the lighthouse at the entrance to Betsie bay. It was 'off-season', but all the other lodging in the city was booked for some reason. Still, this lodging was what we were looking for, so were happy as clams.

Walking the beach revealed lots of the same markings of early season timing...

...small ponds full of ice, and a bay coated with surface ice all the way out to the entrance to the channel. Deeper water cleansed the ice, but the protected inlets had some time to go before calling a spring arrival.

Looking in the viewfinder revealed an interesting item. There, to the extreme left in the first image, and in some subsequent panoramas, there was
something peeking over the jetty, back out there in the lake....

Zooming in revealed what appears to be a mountain of ice just outside the breakwater...is this what I think it is? It is now too dark, but the morning will have better vantage points for viewing.

There appears to be something floating in the water out there beyond the jetty, and it appears BIG.

The next day arrived with brighter viewing, and warmer sun. I was anxious to find out what I saw the night before.

A quick change to a 300mm lens answered the question

It was an iceberg.

It was a composite of smaller ice-flows being compressed together in the cold currents and wind. Not large by Atlantic Ocean standards, but it would be a bitch to hit at night in a cold lake. It dwarfed the largest boats in the marina nearby.


Much of the rest of the day was spent touring the area, and getting ready to go to Traverse City. There was a surprise in store, however, and it requires a bit of background. My wife and I lived in Maine for a few years before coming here for a new job, and we discovered a lot of Maine's back-country in hikes for Geocaching and camping. One thing that we had always wanted to photograph there was a Loon, which as it turns out, was harder than it sounds. We had taken four or five photo expeditions to find them, and hiked quite a few trails in search of the bird. We caught a few glancing shots, but were disappointed that we didn't get one up close and personal.

Fast Forward.

I (apparently) completely ignored the rest of the bay while positioning to get the best shots of the iceberg, when my wife grabbed my shoulder, 
pointed down to the water in another direction, and inquired "What is that!??!"

There appeared to be a pair of birds, diving in the bay just below our position. Cormorants?

NO! The white crest immediately identified this as our photo-prey!

Screw the iceberg. The 300mm was already mounted- all I needed was some patient birds.

Or hungry ones...as it turns out.
This Loon kept diving, and then emerged with a boatload of grass and items from the bottom (left 1). He kept bobbing his head into the water, then raised up with a surprise! A crayfish! (below center). At this time, he had a VERY LARGE claw clamped firmly in his mouth, but he kept popping his head up and down in the water, and emerged with the claw-less crayfish (below right).
By this time, the crayfish is not having a good day at all. The Loon kept manipulating his meal, with its tail flapping in the breeze. A few more maneuvers continued for the best position for a meal...(below, right).
    One last toss....                                                                          And Dinner is served!!!                                          He then looked into the camera '...Got CheeseCake?"
Coming up: The Forza finally comes out of hiding!