Featured Photographer – Bob Simmerman

Bob Simmerman has been interested in photography and taking pictures since childhood. Now, 35 years later, Bob says, “[my] hobby has grown into a part time profession and a full time passion. A couple years ago I made the decision to ‘go pro’ and have never looked back. I am constantly seeking ways to improve my technique and I doubt that I will ever be satisfied, all the more reason to keep going. With every session I learn something new and am eager to try new things whether on the camera side or the editing side. I also enjoy looking at the work of other photographers as a source of inspiration and alternate perspectives.” Bob’s photography skills are self-taught with 4-7 photography sessions weekly.

Bob’s equipment of choice:
“I am currently using a Canon 5D Mark II. The lens I use most often is the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. For birding and wildlife photography, I use a Sigma 150 mm – 500 mm – F/5.0-6.3 telephoto lens. For portrait work I like the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Canon lenses. A Vanguard tripod rounds out the gear for a typical shoot.”

Bob’s favorite things to photograph are landscapes, birds, and Northern Lights.

When Bob is not looking through the lens, he is an analytical chemist for SOS Analytical in Traverse City, a state certified drinking water quality laboratory. Bob also enjoys Formula One and NASCAR racing, computer games, movies, and the Discovery ID channel.

When asked how he would describe Michigan to someone that has never been here, Bob’s answer was: “I think that instead of trying to put the beauty of our great state into words, I would show them a picture from each of our four seasons, taken at various locations and let those speak for themselves.”

Bob’s top 5 spots to see in Michigan are:

1. The Big House in Ann Arbor. It has been over thirty years since my first and only trip to a Michigan Wolverines football game, but I will never forget it—a definite must see!

2. Michigan International Speedway—NASCAR isn’t just for the southern folks, another stop on my must-see list.

3. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore…I can’t imagine this not being on any list of places to visit in Michigan.

4. Whitefish Point. While attending college, I made a trip to the Upper Peninsula to help paint a cabin and we passed the idle time by visiting the Point. I was in awe at the power and beauty of Lake Superior, a truly emotional experience.

5. Tahquamenon falls. Simply stunning, and I can’t wait to get back.

To view more of Bob’s photography, you can visit his website at: www.pandoracreations.zenfolio.com


Camping in Michigan

I was raised camping every summer, so it is something that I really enjoy and always encourage people to give it a try if they haven’t done it before; there are so many fun things that go with camping and so many great family memories to be made. Michigan has so many wonderful state parks that offer great camping and beautiful scenery. Now, the Department of Natural Resources is offering a First Time Campers Program to help people try it out. For $20, a program member gets 2 nights at select state parks, a park ranger to help you set up camp and make a fire and Gander Mountain provides the following gear to be lent to you:
tent ∗
tarp ∗
flashlight ∗
lantern ∗
stove ∗
(4) hot dog /marshmallow cookers ∗
(2) fishing poles ∗
*These items are lent to you by Gander Mountain and are to be returned.

This is a great way to try out camping without the expense of purchasing all of the items in the beginning. Check out the First Time Campers Program for complete information.

Golf in Michigan

Michigan is known for its beautiful golf courses among other things. Whether your game consists of Double Eagles or Double Bogeys, you are sure to have a favorite course. Michigan Golf Magazine website has a list of the top 50 public courses in Michigan. So, if you are looking for a place to play, go check out their list.

Michigan Golf Magazine

Is your course on the list? What is your favorite course?

Holland Tulip Festival

The annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland is quickly approaching. Festival dates are May 5-12, but due to warmer-than-usual temperatures in Michigan this spring, the tulips are expected to be in peaking in mid April. The Tulip Time Festival website is encouraging Tulip lovers to “Come Early For The Tulips, Come Back For The Festival!”

During the Festival, there is a luncheon with Governor Snyder (tickets are still available) and the Art in Bloom Competition that is held by Holland Area Arts Council. You’ll also find a parade, lots of music, and Dutch Heritage festivities.

For more information, please visit: The Tulip Time website.

Opening Day

Opening Day is almost here! With all this beautiful spring weather, many of us are ready for our beloved Tigers to get down to business.  We are ready to see how our newest family member, Prince Fielder, fits in.  Only 2 more days and the Tigers will get the party started!

Thursday, April 5, Tigers vs. Red Sox, 1:05



Spring is here

Summer has left us and we’re back to the Spring-like weather we should be having here in Michigan during March. I have to say…I am freezing now after those eighty degree days! This crazy weather is just one more reason that I love Michigan. You never know what you’re gonna get! I know we set some records with high temperatures in March last week. Michigan weather is probably a weatherman’s worst nightmare!

Enjoy these spring-like days ahead…and don’t forget your parka and your flip flops!

Leap Day

Happy February 29th! Yep, that is right…this year has 366 days. Did you know that a person born on February 29th is called a “leapling” or “leaper?”
I have never met a “leaper,” but it sure seems like a cool birthday to have!

But for all of us that aren’t a “leaper” it just means you get one whole extra day to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you each day here in Michigan.

Have a great Leap Day!

Detroit Boat Show

Since the groundhog has made his appearance and cast his predictions for 6 more weeks of winter, I guess that gives you boat-loving people a bit more time to dream of the day when you can hop behind the wheel and cruise around the lake. Check out the Detroit Boat Show at Cobo Center (February 11-19) to help you quench your thirst for summer boating activities.

For a list of boating activities/shows all year, check out: Boat Michigan

For all of you campers out there, do not despair! There is a RV show this weekend too! The MARVAC Camper & RV Show – Novi is February 15-19 at Suburban Collection Showplace.

Check out:Michigan Shows for RV, Boat, and many other shows and festivities around this state.

Michigan’s 175th Birthday

January 26th is Michigan’s 175th birthday! On January 26, 1837 President Andrew Jackson signed a bill declaring Michigan the 26th state of the union.
In honor of this special occasion, here are some facts about this great state from www.michigan.gov.

State Name: Michigan
Name Origin: Derived from the Indian word Michigama, meaning great or large lake.
Nickname: Wolverine State
Statehood: Jan. 26, 1837 (26th)
Capital: Lansing, since 1847; prior to that, Detroit.
State Motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice, which translates, “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”
Flower: Apple Blossom
Bird: Robin
Tree: White Pine
Stone: Petoskey Stone
Gem: Chlorastrolite
Fish: Brook Trout
Soil: Kalkaska Soil Series
Reptile: Painted Turtle
Game Mammal: White-tailed Deer
Wildflower: Dwarf Lake Iris
Fossil: Mastodon

I knew we had a state flower, tree, reptile, etc. But, I did not know we had a state soil! You learn something new everyday!

To celebrate Michigan’s 175th birthday, look around you and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us all! Turn your porch lights on Thursday night so Michigan shines brightly for all to see!

Best of 2011 Photo Contest

The Michigan is Amazing Facebook fan page has a great fan base with many great photographers that share photos from all over the state. There are so many great photos that have been submitted throughout the year that yesterday I opened a Best of 2011 photo contest. There are over 50 amazing photos of this great state in the contest, but there really could have been hundreds of photos included!

If you haven’t already, visit the fan page and browse through the amazing photos from all over Michigan. Voting will be open through Friday, January 13. The winner of the photo contest will receive a Michigan-themed picture frame from a very talented Michigan artist, Scott Snow of Michigan in Metal.