Videographer captures northern Michigan winter

Snow and Ice: A Northern Michigan Winter from Jason Whalen on Vimeo. Jason Whalen strapped on his snowshoes, loaded his camera equipment onto a sled, and set out for the snow-covered wilds of the north coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to capture the icy beauty of its winter months. “I’ve always seen pictures of the frozen waterfalls, and ice caves there, but never had the chance to go myself before,” the Lansing-based videographer said, “I had a free weekend, so I went up there to record them so that others could share in the experience. I think more people respond to video than still photos.”

Whalen’s video odyssey took him to the Eben Ice Caves near Marquette, Mich. and then to Lake Superior’s coast to film ice floating on rolling waves.

Photo Friday: The beaches of the Indiana Dunes

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Although Kathleen Stachowski now resides in Montana, the Great Lakes, and Lake Michigan in particular, will always hold a special place in her heart. Born and raised in Michigan City, Ind. near Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Stachowski’s life has always been tied to the dunes and the lake. Her childhood was filled with family trips to the lake and the dunes, seeing it then as a place of both wonder and solace. “The dunes had a truly wild feel in those days and not many people went there,” she recalled.

Muskegon and White lakes reach cleanup milestones

Cleanup efforts at two Michigan Areas of Concern, Muskegon Lake and White Lake, have reached important milestones, according to the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. The Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 26 lifted Beneficial Use Impairments on both lakes pertaining to fish consumption, allowing local residents and anglers to fish these lakes with fewer restrictions. Recent studies by Grand Valley State University on the lakes revealed that fish there did not possess higher concentrations of PCBs or mercury than fish in lakes that were not listed as Areas of Concern. Both lakes remain subject to the same fish consumption advisories as the other lakes in the area.

Photo Friday: Hungarian Falls freezes over

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A February snowshoeing trek to lower Hungarian Falls, near the town of Hubbell in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, revealed the 50-foot cascade to be largely encased in ice. Water could be heard trickling beneath the frozen surface, running into the winter-diminished Dover Creek and out into nearby Torch Lake. Photos by Julie Dau.

App tackles water waste

A mobile app developed in Kenya and aimed at tackling water problems there could have applications elsewhere, including the water-rich Great Lakes region. The app, MajiRipoti, recently won the 2012 Nokia DoGood Hackathon competition. It allows users to report water theft and water and sewer pipe leakages to Kenya’s Water Service Providers. Its developer believes that similar citizen-based technologies will be useful in tackling water availability problems in other areas of the world, as well. “What prompted us to work on the application was the frequent water shortages we are experiencing in Kenya, as well as the major problem of burst water and sewer pipes,” said Douglas Injugu, head of operations at the Synacor Consortium, the company that developed the app.

Sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Gulf of St. Lawrence, the outlet of the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean, is building toward its annual peak accumulation of sea ice, according to a recent photograph captured from NASA’s Aqua satellite. According to NASA, each year, the amount of frozen seawater, known as sea ice, in the Arctic Ocean builds from September through February or March as surface air temperatures drop below freezing. As it reaches the peak of its expansion, it begins to form in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.