My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

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.

Cut River Bridge facts

Cut River Bridge facts

Then the bridge itself.

Cut River Bridge

Cut River Bridge

And, a few of the views from the parks on both ends of the bridge.

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

Cut River Bridge scenery

If only I had timed my trip better and gotten the full color of fall. ūüė¶

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.

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

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.

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

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.

Freighter passing the St. Helena Lighthouse

Freighter passing the St. Helena Lighthouse

The height of the roadway of the bridge at mid-span: approximately 200 feet (61 m) above water level.

Freighter coming out from under the Mackinac Bridge

Freighter coming out from under the Mackinac Bridge

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.

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac 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….

St. Ignance sunset

St. Ignance sunset

…and photograph the bridge at night, when it is all lit up.

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge at night

Mackinac Bridge at night

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge

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.

My vacation in the UP, the highlights

My vacation in the UP, Sunrise, sunset

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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17 responses

  1. I love the second and third shots of the bridge after you crossed I-75 the first time. Simply beautiful! The rest of them were good, but those two lit up by the sun are simply stunning. What a beautiful bridge.

    September 30, 2013 at 1:53 am

    • Thanks! I think that the night shots would have been better if I had focused on the composition rather than learning a new technique, but one has to start somewhere.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:14 am

  2. And everyone said “Look-there’s another one of those crazy photographers running in and out of traffic again.” I had to laugh, because I was doing the same thing yesterday. It was worth it though, and I see that your efforts were rewarded too. Great shots!
    250 feet of water depth is deep! Is it part of a lake that these bridges cross?

    September 30, 2013 at 6:24 am

    • Thanks! The Bridge, as every one calls the Mackinac Bridge these days, is at least the unofficial boundary point between lakes Michigan and Huron.

      September 30, 2013 at 8:17 am

  3. plantsamazeme

    The shots of the Mackinac Bridge at night are beautiful! We are planning a trip up there next month, it looks like the tree color could be just right.
    ūüôā

    September 30, 2013 at 8:21 am

    • Thanks Chris. Every one was saying that the colors are late this year, you should hit the peak!

      September 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

  4. The Bridge at night is one of my all-time favorite sights!

    September 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    • It’s one of mine too, thanks.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:19 am

  5. Because of your fine pictures, I had to go and look at a map to find out where the bridge was. You have a beautiful part of the world for your holiday.

    September 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    • Thanks! I knew I should have included a map.

      October 1, 2013 at 1:23 am

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  9. What a stunning part of the country. I’ve never visited Michigan, but your images make me want to go. Loved the bridge images.

    October 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    • Thanks, I like the one that I ran across the highway to get, but I think that I can do better with the night shots.

      October 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm

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