Tag Archives: Good Hart

Photostock 2013 – Lake Oneal and The Birchwood Inn

I don’t recall if I regaled you all with the saga of my stuck rental car. I had heard from some other folks at Photostock about Lake Oneal, which they said was absolutely beautiful, but really needed to be photographed in foggy conditions. Something was mentioned about the road to it being challenging, but that kinda got lost in my memory at the time. On my last day at Photostock, I decided to drive around on my own and take some photos. I had stopped in the general store in Good Hart and the owner gave me a map of Emmett County and marked a number of photogenic sights on it. I headed out, map in hand, stopping at the boat launch in Cross Village to get my shots of Lake Michigan. Carrying on, I saw the road to Lake Oneal marked on the map. At the end of the road there was a symbol for a boat launch. I thought, “how bad can the road be if there’s a boat launching ramp at the end?”. So, naive as I was, I drove back there. The road had some sandy spots in it, but nothing I couldn’t navigate around in my Ford Fusion. Then, at the very end of the road, there was a tall uphill, and on the downslope to the parking/unloading area, a VERY sandy stretch. I managed to get down the slope fine, so I figured I could follow the same track back up. NOT. I tried, several times, and ended up getting the car stuck on the side of the road. Long story short, two and a half hours and $300 later, my car was back on a hard surface road.

The Sandy Uphill
The Sandy Uphill

While I was stuck there, in the bright beautiful sunlight of a fog-less afternoon, I decided I would take on the challenge thrown down by the other photographers of getting a good shot of the lake with no fog. Here are the results:

Bridge, Oneal Lake
Bridge, Oneal Lake

The bridge is over a sluice/runoff drain for the lake. Judging from the stands of dead trees sticking out of the lake waters, the lake was an artificial lake. Why it was created I’m not sure, but I’m not about to complain.

Oneal Lake
Oneal Lake

Here you can better see the snags of dead trees reflected in the waters. Other than the leaden white sky (there was a little overcast, but still bright sun), I’d say challenge met.

These next two photos are of/at the Birchwood Inn, our headquarters for Photostock. The first one is of some magnificent clouds we had one evening. The roof of the annex to the inn is just visible at the bottom.

Clouds, Birchwood Inn, Evening
Clouds, Birchwood Inn, Evening

The last photo of this post is the Birchwood Inn’s patio illuminated by the full moon. This was I believe the night of the “super-moon”, but late enough it no longer appeared larger than normal. But it sure was bright and beautiful.

The Birchwood, Moonlight
The Birchwood, Moonlight

All the black and white images were taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E, on Ilford Delta 400 film. The color shot was from my iPhone. Which was my lifeline to getting un-stuck, but barely – signal at Lake Oneal was so bad, I kept dropping my calls to AAA. So two words of caution should you ever want to visit Lake Oneal yourself – ONE: bring your own 4-wheel drive/offroad vehicle, preferably with a bumper-mounted winch, and TWO: a satellite phone would not be a bad investment. I watched two different 4wd vehicles go up that hill, and both had trouble, although one fared better than the other. The first one was only technically 4wd, because his front transfer case was acting up and so the power was only going to the rear wheels. His knobby tires and high clearance were what enabled him to get out. The other one spun and sputtered and wallowed through the sand but made it out in one pass.

Photostock 2013 – St. Ignatius Church, Good Hart

Here are the promised photos of St. Ignatius Church and the cemetery next door. St. Ignatius Church as it currently stands is the third structure to have been erected on the site, the oldest of which was the French Catholic mission to convert the natives in the 1700s.

St Ignatius Steeple
St Ignatius Steeple
St Ignatius, Trees
St Ignatius, Trees

Today, the churchyard contains mostly 19th and early 20th century burials of Polish and Scandinavian immigrants. The churchyard is famous for the white wooden crosses for grave markers.

Crosses, St. Ignatius Cemetery
Crosses, St. Ignatius Cemetery

Here is a close up to show the tin markers with the names and biographical data on the crosses.

Joe King Odganicki
Joe King Odganicki

The church no longer has an active congregation, but is maintained by a local organization for its preservation.

Photostock 2013 – abandoned buildings

Although these houses are familiar to Photostock participants from years past, I figure most of my readers have never seen them. The first building is across the intersection from Moose Jaw Junction, a roadside restaurant and bar near Larks Lake. The property is for sale, should anyone want a total tear-down.

The Slumping House, End View, Moose Jaw Junction
The Slumping House, End View, Moose Jaw Junction

A different view of the building:

The Slumping House, Moose Jaw Junction
The Slumping House, Moose Jaw Junction

This house is/was a little cabin across the street from the St. Ignatius church in Good Hart, Michigan. Pictures of the church and its cemetery will be forthcoming in another post. From what I hear tell from past Photostockers, the cabin used to be far more intact than it is now and they have watched it deteriorate into this condition over the last half-dozen years.

One wall of the house is essentially gone, and you can look inside the structure through it. I would NOT attempt to enter, as there is a considerable debris field on the floor of the lower level, making for a prime residential facility for wildlife of the four-legged and no-legged varieties. You can see the remnant of the staircase through the opening in the wall, though. The texture of the wood and the coloring of it reminded me a bit of Bodie, the California gold-mining ghost town in the Eastern Sierra.

Hanging Stairs, Good Hart
Hanging Stairs, Good Hart

This is a view of the debris field and the remaining structural walls of the house. Amazing how the light level balanced between inside and outside- no HDR or even burning/dodging required to preserve interior and exterior detail alike through the window frame.

House Interior, Good Hart
House Interior, Good Hart

Here is a view of the end of the house, showing the whole of the structure.

Collapsing House, Good Hart
Collapsing House, Good Hart

All shots taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E on Ilford Delta 400, developed in Pyrocat HD developer at 1:1:100 dilution.