My vacation in the UP, the bridges
While not really nature photos, I couldn’t help but to photograph two of Michigan’s more famous bridges, including of course the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac, and joins Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas.
The other bridge is the Cut River Bridge, which is known as much for the scenery that surrounds it as the bridge itself. I’ll start with a few fun facts about the Cut River Bridge, as provided by an MDOT sign at the bridge.
Then the bridge itself.
And, a few of the views from the parks on both ends of the bridge.
If only I had timed my trip better and gotten the full color of fall. 😦
Now, for the real star of this show, the Mackinac Bridge.
The Mackinac Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan. Opened in 1957, the 8,614-foot (2,626 m) bridge (familiarly known as “Big Mac” and “Mighty Mac”) is the world’s third-longest in total suspension and the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western hemisphere.
The Bridge, as every one calls the Mackinac Bridge these days, is at least the unofficial boundary point between lakes Michigan and Huron.
Before the bridge was built, travelers by car had to use a ferry service that ran between Mackinac City on the tip of the lower peninsula, to St. Ignance, on the upper peninsula. Around the opening day of deer season in Michigan, cars full of hunters would line up for miles to wait for the ferry service.
The Straits of Mackinac are a busy shipping lane, here’s an upbound freighter passing the St. Helena Island Lighthouse on its way towards the Mackinac Bridge.
The height of the roadway of the bridge at mid-span: approximately 200 feet (61 m) above water level.
A few more facts and figures about the bridge.
Height of towers above water: 552 feet (168 m)
Max. depth of towers below water: 210 feet (64 m)
Depth of water beneath the center of the bridge, 250 feet (76 m)
Total length of wire in main cables: 42,000 miles (68,000 km)
The photos so far where all taken from the south, lower peninsula end of the bridge. As I was crossing the bridge to the UP, the sun began to break through the clouds. The view was amazing, but there’s no stopping on the bridge for photos, so as soon as I had paid the toll, I parked in a viewing area on the east side of the bridge. The trouble was, the great lighting was on the west side of the bridge. I could have driven a few miles to St. Ignance, turned around, and come back on the west side, but I was afraid that the light would change before I could do that. So, I grabbed my camera bag, and ran across 4 lanes of I 75 traffic to get these shots as the sun came out and hit the bridge.
I then walked back to my Forester, crossing I 75 on foot again, went into St. Ignance to buy a sub, then came back to watch the sunset….
…and photograph the bridge at night, when it is all lit up.
Photographing the bridge at night was a great way for me to learn how to use the mirror lock up and self timer to prevent any camera shake. That served me well while shooting the sunrises and sunsets from the last post.
This is but one of many posts from my vacation, here are links to the other posts I’ve done so far.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!