location-photo
camera
len
Nikon D800
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED Lens
Shutter Speed
1/6 sec
Aperture
f/16
Focal Length
105mm
ISO
100

Empire Beach view of Lake Michigan & Hills

avatar
@aubrietahope
Resembling a watercolor painting, this beach scene blends hues of light pink, crystal blue and autumn auburn along the shore of Lake Michigan's coastline.

Plan

Overview

Skill level

Easy
Accessbility
Public Location

Hours

Anytime

Fee

Free

Pack

  • Telephoto lens (105mm)
  • Circular polarizer

How to get there

N44° 48' 46.1556"W86° 04' 05.0016"
This image was taken at Empire Beach along the shore of Lake Michigan. Walk to the boat landing and shoot to the southeast to catch the best sunrise light. It's free to go to the beach, but if you park your car in the Empire Beach parking lot, there will be a fee. I recommend taking a car and starting your journey in Traverse City. By car: - From Traverse City, Michigan, take M-72W for 24 miles to the village of Empire, Michigan - Once you reach this small village, continue going straight on W. Front Street for .5 miles which takes you into downtown Empire - Turn Right on S. Lake Street and go 200 feet - Make a left on Niagara Street - Drive .10 mile to the parking lot of Empire Beach township park

Tips

When to go

Best season

October

Best time

Sunrise
Late October is when you’ll find fall colors on the trees. It's also a great time of the year to capture the mist rising after a cold fall morning.
Visit this southeast-facing viewpoint during sunrise. You can get a nice shot facing the other direction at sunset (northwest), so it's interesting to point your camera at either direction depending on the time of the day.

Field tips

When you have a misty morning like this, avoid doing too much with HDR — this was a single image for reference.
If you want to pull back the brightness in the corner of your image, try using a graduated neutral density filter. A polarizer is also nice to make some of the colors pop.
Have a fast shutter speed so that the mist has some definition and texture to it. For reference, I shot at 1/6 seconds in the image.
I would recommend a fairly low shooting angle by the lakeshore to make the water a part of the scene. A low angle will also allow you to incorporate more into your frame.
It’s a nice location to visit at different times of the day. Having some waves on the lake is nice to balance out the shot. Wind direction and wind speed while you're at the great lake is an important composition element, too! Check the weather before heading out to make the most of your composition.

Current weather

Empire, MI
Clear
68o
F
Fri
70o
62o
Sat
68o
60o
Sun
71o
57o
Mon
74o
64o
Tue
71o
63o

Blue Hour

09:26
64o
Mostly Cloudy

Sunrise

10:03
63o
Mostly Cloudy

Golden Hour

24:50
67o
Clear

Sunset

01:35
66o
Clear

Do nearby

There is a lighthouse replica by the boat landing called the Manning Lighthouse, which I suggest checking out.
In the town of Empire is the headquarters for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. It’s a good idea to visit the headquarters and go to the visitors center to learn more about the area.
There are also other hiking spots and beaches in the area.

Locations nearby

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