California Dreamin’ on a Winter’s Day

Total Shots taken 217
Number of 5 star ratings (5* yield %) 6 (10 %)


Most of the time, Lake Michigan is calm – a huge expanse of teal blue on a bright sunshiny day, or of gray-green on overcast days.  In contrast, on winter days, strong winds come in from the east and the waves crash vehemently against the shore. On those days, there is a good chance that water at the 57th Street Beach will be prime for surfing. And so it was this day. I saw surfers from the perch of my lakefront window, quickly packed my camera, and headed out to the gray wintry day – 25 degrees F, winds 35-45 MPH; wickedly cold, but not raining or snowing!

By the time I arrived at the beach, the surfers had decided that the waves weren’t good surfing waves, so they left. Well, I love the crashing waves and white caps in the lake, so I stayed, walking along the shore.   Much to my surprise, though, there was a para surfer at the other beach, the 63rd Street Beach! In my opinion, only someone dreaming of California coastline could come out in this winter weather to surf (or para surf).


  • Crashing Against the Shore – These waves seem ferocious as they crash against the shore in this southern view. I adjusted this image to highlight the foam, and the clouds in the sky. The sand almost looks golden.  If you look closely in this image (and the next), you a see the tiny outline of buildings on the Indiana shoreline.


  • Rocky Shore – I love this inlet – in spring and summer, it is a great spot for friends, lovers, and families to enjoy the waterfront.


  • Para Surfer  I first noticed the colorful parachute in the sky. It stood out in the gray sky, and I excitedly walked towards the site. I didn’t know how long he had been out there – and I was assuming it was a “he” at this early stage, since most of the winter surfers have been male – I knew it was too cold for him to stay out there long. I was more than ¾ mile away from him – much too far for the good, clear, close up images I would have loved to have. So I did what any intrepid photographer would do. I walked a few feet, took a few shots, and walked a bit more, all the while hoping to get a lot closer before he left.



  • Caught  In The Act — While I didn’t get as close as I wanted, I did get a chance to see the para surfer perform  some acrobatic moves, one of which I caught  here, and an up close look at him in action in the water.


  • In Black and White – Did I say it was a gray day? I liked this image, but it looked more “blah” until I changed the color scheme to black and white. I thought the crashing waves and overcast skies, seen through the surrounding trees made for a wonderful image.

If you are familiar with images included in my other posts, you may have noticed that these images are markedly different in tone – they were edited to bring color to an otherwise gray day, and to emphasize otherwise flat portions of the image. I am stretching out and trying new features in my post processing software – you may see more experimentation like this from me, as I really try to find that photographic “voice.” Send comments, and let me know what you think!

One thought on “California Dreamin’ on a Winter’s Day

  1. Continue. You seem to be on the path to finding that voice. I particularly liked the black and white, the golden sand, and the beach house. There was something that drew me into the pic. Thinking about what that ‘thing’ is….

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