Michigan City, IN–Last night, I began my journey of making a photograph at every single lighthouse/beacon surrounding Lake Michigan by the end of 2017.

I am home for the weekend in Northwest Indiana to cheer on my sister at her fourth and final high school swimming sectional meet.

Before 2017 began, I wanted to come up with a few photo projects to explore in 2017 and the first that came to mind was this:

Being home this weekend, it was a perfect time to start my journey. The sectional prelim meet on Thursday and finals meet on Saturday gave me Friday in between the two, to make it happen.

January 2017 has set records for the most number of days without seeing the sun but miraculously, there was not a cloud in the sky all-day Friday. I couldn’t believe it.

The temperature was 17°F and it was 15 gusting 25mph winds: sounds like great photo-making weather to me.

After making the trek out to the pier, I looked up and noticed the half-moon between the grates in the catwalk – *click*.

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With the lack of clouds, it made for a beautiful and even golden light upon the light.

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It had been a couple days of freezing temperatures and sustained wind, so ice was again beginning to form on the pier.

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Solid sheet of ice over the latter half of the pier.

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A few were brave enough to make the trek out to the end of the pier. I was not, but I gladly took their photo from dry concrete.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Back on the beach, I noticed a man walking back along the upper level of the pier. I ran to position the lighthouse in the center  of the catwalk supports and made his photo.

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

These final four though, were my favorites from the visit.

As the sun begins to set and go below the horizon, the reds, oranges, and yellows surface.  I think this  is one of the most beautiful parts of the day, right before sunrise and right after sunset.

Here is the Chicago skyline positioned between the East Pierhead Lighthouse (left) and the East Breakwater Light (right).

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

I couldn’t decide if I liked the idea of a slow shutter (above) or one that froze the motion of the waves (below), so I shot both. What do you think?

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A bit after that, the sunset colors really put on a show, and I had to go back toward the pier for a couple more shots.

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And a vertical showing the ice along the beach:

hi-res/prints: photos.tmahlmann.com

Looking back on these photos from last night has me very excited for what is to come with all of the lighthouses surrounding Lake Michigan I will visit this year.

If you’d like to help me accomplish and support this huge endeavor of mine, I would greatly appreciate your help! You can do so here on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/trevormahlmann.

All the pictures I take personally will remain available for free download and use via Creative Commons but having your support would mean the world to me. You’ll know that you are directly helping me accomplish this.

Follow me on social media for more of these throughout the month!