Miner’s Beach Lake Superior

We arrived on the southern shores of Lake Superior in Michigan and set up camp in a town named Munising. After doing a little research I found out there was an interesting waterfall somewhere on Miner’s Beach where the water falls onto layers of sandstone before sliding into the lake.

Since I didn’t know exactly where it was, we left our campsite a couple of hours before sunset to allow enough time to drive there and find the location before the sweet light came.

Except we took the wrong turn and ended up way off track. Finally we backtracked and found the beach, but we were about an hour later than I wanted to be.

The beach was a gorgeous white sand almost like Mexico. The trail led us to the middle and I didn’t know which direction the waterfall would be. A couple approached the trail head from one end of the beach so I asked them if there was a waterfall down there. No.

Since my elderly dog could not walk very fast, I went off by myself in the other direction on a trail above the shore which appeared easier to traverse than walking in the soft sand with all my photo gear. This was one of those occasions like when you are in Las Vegas and you just want to go to the hotel next door and it looks like it is right there, but after you walk for half an hour you are still not there. But it looks like if you just go a little farther …

So I went a little farther and a little farther and the sun got lower and lower and I walked faster and faster. At every turn it looked like the end of the beach was going to be at the next turn. Finally I was there, and yes there was a path down to the beach, and yes there was a waterfall.

I had only enough time to snap off about ten frames while constantly looking over to see the position of the sun. I had go back or I would be on the narrow trail in the dark. Returning to the parking lot, I walked as fast as I possibly could with all my stuff and was completely exhausted by the time I got there. My legs ached the next day. It was worth it.

I made this image using my Singh-Ray 4 stop neutral density filter to filter out enough light to allow the long shutter speed which blurred the water.

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16 Responses to “Miner’s Beach Lake Superior”

  1. Chris Nitz says:

    Love the lighting and long exposure. I totally want to play in the water here!

    • Anne McKinnell says:

      Thanks Chris, I wish I had time to play in the water too. I really wanted to go back, but we were in a rush to get to the Maritimes where we are now. I hope to go back someday now I know where this magic waterfall is.

  2. Russ Bishop says:

    This is beautiful Anne. Such a unique cascade.

  3. Beautiful capture! I’m curious have tried cropping in on the waterfall? Might be able to get 2 for 1 out of this shot.

    • Anne McKinnell says:

      Hi Chris, yes, actually I have another version where the background in the distance turned out to be too out of focus (I used f/8) and so I created a sort of panorama out of it (there is another waterfall just above this one that is not visible in this photo). I should try another crop though, thanks for the suggestion! I always appreciate the feedback and suggestions.

  4. Len Saltiel says:

    This is terrific in every way Anne. Great composition, color, light and blurred water.

  5. Mark says:

    Anne, you found just the tip of a major section of coastline that is one of my favorite spots in Michigan – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. If you manage to go back, it is really great to explore from a rented boat or a kayak. Surprisingly as many times as I have gone there, I still have not photographed the falls at Miner’s Beach. :-) Glad you enjoyed yourself and got a classic photo from there.

    • Anne McKinnell says:

      Hi Mark, I just looked at your site again and you really do have some beautiful images from that area. I would love to spend some more time there and get to know the place. I had such limited time and I hate feeling in a rush when I’m photographing. Thanks again for your comments, much appreciated!

  6. Donna says:

    Anne – I only discovered your site today, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Two years ago 3 of my friends and I planned a photo trip to Michigan. We called it the “lighthouse tour”, and in 10 days in October saw some of the most magnificiant scenery I had ever seen. Miners Beach was on the cover of Outdoor Photographer magazine shortly before we left, so that was a must see. I think it was the most beautiful landscape I have ever photographed. Agree, it’s a bit tricky to find the exact location. We also took the high trail. :) I am enjoying your blog and tales of your travel immensely. Already discussing with my husband the idea of doing the same. Thanks for the inspiration and the nudge with the eight things you’ve learned. Looking foward to reading more. Your images are breathtaking!

    • Hi Donna, thank you so much for your great message. Your lighthouse tour sounds amazing!! And in October too it must have been beautiful with all the changing colours of fall. I’m so glad you found my blog and I do hope you and your husband consider doing a trip. No one ever regrets it. Thank you for your very kind compliment :)

  7. Nancy Bisbey says:

    What a fantastic story and to find it just in the nick of time. I wish there were a person in the shot, it is hard to tell how large the falls are. I am putting this spot on my bucket list for sure, and I will be sure to bring my camera! Thanks for sharing your experience~

  8. Dorsey Davis says:

    Anne, such a funny story. That is exactly what happened to me the first time I ever photographed this beautiful little falls. Now that I know where the parking area is it isn’t more than a couple hundred yards from the falls. I have been photographing in the UP for over 30 years. One of my favorite places in all the world. Spring and fall both provide awesome photo opportunities and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is just the tip of the iceberg. Hope you can get back there sometime. I know I will be.

    • Hi Dorsey, I hope I make it back there someday too! We were trying to outrun the heat wave when we were here otherwise we would have liked to spend more time. Thanks for your visit and comments.

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