Driftwood: A Story of Trees, Water, Storms and Time

This winter was long and harsh, with high winds and big storms.  Lake Huron froze early and stayed frozen until March.  Once the ice left an unusual amount of driftwood remained on the beaches and in the water.  Where did it come from?  How far had it travelled?  Impossible to know.

This image was taken on May 9, a half-hour before sunset.  Most of the driftwood had been returned to the water and the smaller pieces picked up by people walking the beach.


Three weeks earlier this is what that same beach looked like.  The large tree in the water is constantly tossed and turned by the waves, and the rest of the wood and debris has mostly disappeared.


Late in the evening, a silver shimmering lake and a log sculpted by water, wind and time.


The same scene, taken with a longer exposure.  The first a "natural" representation, the one below created to smooth the lake and sky and give a more serene and minimalist look.  To my eye both images work.


A different beach, again photographed late in the day.  The evenings have been cloudy with storms ever present on the horizon.  The light is hard to catch.


A closer shot of the three logs, buried in sand under the water, and projecting up.  Hard to know how long they'll keep their positions before the sand shifts or the next storm takes them out.


The logs, despite their weight, are hurled together by water and wind, ending up as interlocked forms.  To lift these logs is impossible; only the changing water levels, pushed by winds and storms, can toss them around and shift the configuration.


White, smooth, and sculpted - and now mostly out of the water - this lovely piece still decorates the beach, hopefully for some time.


Again late on another evening when the skies were dark and a storm threatened.  


Over the three weeks that these images were taken the beach has changed.  The large logs are still there, heavy and hard to move; the smaller pieces are scattered or gone.  The opportunity to find and photograph these natural sculptures is probably over for this year but I'll keep on looking. As always, I am awed by the beauty of the world around me.  And grateful to be able to photograph it.