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Mackinac Bridge

At the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Pennisula lies the Mackinac Bridge  (pronounced Mackinaw) that spans the 5 miles across the Straits of Mackinac to it’s Upper Pennisula.  (Ok, for you non-Michiganders, hold your right hand up in front of your face with the palm facing you.  The bridge is located at the tip of your middle finger.  By the way, all Michiganders do this when giving directions!) It is named the Mackinac Bridge for the water it spans.  For the past few years my wife and I have been fortunate to spend several days in the summer with the bridge as the view out our front door.  This year I planned to take a number of pictures of it, both in the light and dark.  One can expect almost any type of weather here in the summer and the weather did varied throughout the days we spent there.  The image above is 6 frame pano.

I had hopes of taking long exposures at dusk.  I was hoping to create that silky water look around the bridge.   Those who know me well will not find the next part of the story unusual.  When packing my photo equipment for the trip, I had put out my Singh-Ray 77mm Vari-ND filter.  I planned to use it to bring down the light levels at dusk sufficient enough to achieve shutter speeds around a minute.  As I set up for the shot above, I found that I had forgotten to put the filter in the bag!  This left me with only the controls the camera offers to achieve the lowest shutter speed possible.  I was aided a bit by the Nikon D4’s lower ISOs however.  The Black and White above was a 15 sec exposure at f-22.

Later the same night, I was able to take a longer exposure (duh, it was darker!).  This time for 30 sec at f22.

The bridge has been in place since the 1950s.  Before it, in order to get your car from one Pennisula to the other you had to board a car ferry.  I know this because I remember crossing these straits with my mom, dad, and sisters hauling a pop up camper.  We generally were headed to Tehquamenon Falls up near Lake Superior.   I would wake up following a 6 hour trip from Detroit to anxiously await in a long line of cars for our turn to drive onto a boat to be ferried across the straits.  Good memories!

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