Thursday, December 8, 2011


Tire by dcclark

Machinery at the Quincy Smelter. My recent tour of the site provided a surprising number of semi-abstract shots, including this steel shot.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wet Steel

Wet Steel by dcclark

Exactly what it says on the tin... er... steel.

Originally found outside of the Quincy Smelter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back of the Cliffs

Back of the Cliffs by dcclark

The Cliff Range is a huge and beautiful series of rock outcrops in Keweenaw County. They jut up abruptly, facing southeast, and gradually slope down to Lake Superior on their northwest side. This was taken from one of the many smaller outcrops on this "back" side of the cliffs -- a typical Keweenaw backcountry view in late autumn. The clearing clouds from a rainstorm let in some beautiful late afternoon sunlight to finish off the scene.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shotgun Stopsign

Shotgun Stopsign by dcclark

A true Yooper "stop ahead" sign.

This one was along the snowmobile trail near Mass City, Michigan. It was also near the Hilton mine, which was my goal of the day.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Rockpile by dcclark

Rocks from deep underground, now piled high at the Trimountain mine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Norwich Bluff at Sunset

Norwich Bluff at Sunset by dcclark

Norwich Bluff was once the site of many early copper mines. Now, it's a rugged and wild place to explore.

I camped at the base of this bluff in the fall, enjoying a terrific windstorm and a bit of rain too. I spent the entire next day climbing up the face of this bluff, through its valleys and ridges, and finding old mines. It was wonderful.

The scale in this photo doesn't necessarily show just how huge the bluff is. Compare those trees at the top with the aspens in the foreground: they really are that different.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Stars over the Lift Bridge

Stars over the Lift Bridge by dcclark

The Portage Lake Lift bridge is a favorite subject, at day and at night. The brightness of the bridge makes it hard to get star trail photos, but I tried -- and got 'em!

Maple and Pine

Maple and Pine by dcclark

A maple leaf on a rainy fall day.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Molten Metal Sunset

Molten Metal Sunset by dcclark

A sunset over Lake Michigan, this Friday, while I was waiting for the lovely Sarah to arrive!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lake Rocks at Sunset

Lake Rocks at Sunset by dcclark

Bedrock poking out of Lake Superior at sunset. These are along the beach near the mouth of the Gratiot River.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Beach Rock Inuksuk

Beach Rock Inuksuk by dcclark

This pile of rocks is one of those curious places that I keep revisiting. The beach here, as you can see, is made of large cobbles -- there's very little sand to speak of. This mysterious pile of rocks stands by the shores of Lake Superior, near the Gratiot River's mouth. You may have seen it before in my wider view of this beach.

Unfortunately, the rocks keep falling -- or being pushed -- after years of staying in place. Each time I visit, I rebuild this inuksuk so that others can enjoy it too.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Chicory by dcclark

Chickory, a lovely early fall wildflower (or weed, depending on who you ask).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Breakers Clouds

Breakers Clouds by dcclark

Wispy clouds behind the breakwater at Breakers -- a popular place at sunset. Just on the other side was this awesome sunset.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wild sunset

Wild sunset by dcclark

Wild sunset clouds and colors -- a true early fall sunset in da U.P.

Yes, it really did look this way -- the clouds moved in just after the sun dipped below the horizon, and really caught the last brilliant rays.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seek Treasure in Ruins

Seek Treasure in Ruins by dcclark

Sage advice.

I didn't place this here myself, but someone decided to "tag" the old Centennial #6 rockhouse in a surprisingly insightful way.

I'm tempted to look for similar things at other well-preserved ruins, but I have no idea if I'll find them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers by dcclark

Purple flowers somehow survive on the bare basalt at Seven Mile Point -- a rugged and beautiful nature preserve on the Lake Superior shore.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fire Wheel

Fire Wheel by dcclark

A Fire Wheel -- a daisy-like wildflower found alongside an old logging road.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sky and Fanny Hooe

Sky and Fanny Hooe by dcclark

The view from the Brockway Mountain "nose", looking towards Copper Harbor and Lake Fanny Hooe. This is a wonderful spot to watch the Copper Harbor fireworks on the 4th of July as well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wild Daisies

Wild Daisies by dcclark

Wild daisies grow in and among abandoned equipment, at the Quincy Mine. Believe it or not, this wheel belongs to a very old cement mixer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Storm's coming

Storm's coming by dcclark

Sunset at Breakers, near Houghton.

I was hoping for a beautiful sunset -- but the storm clouds were still on the horizon. While taking this photo there were thunder and lightning out over the lake.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Safe by dcclark

A long abandoned (and looted?) safe hiding near the Mesnard mine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baltic Tramway

Baltic Tramway by dcclark

The supports of some sort of tramway at the old Baltic stamp mill, near Redridge, Michigan.

This is a bit of a mystery ruin. The coarse sands all around this ruin are stamp sands -- the result of repeatedly smashing copper-bearing rock with giant hammers, to release the copper. The stamp sand is the waste product, and it forms giant cliffs along the beach in front of the old mill. In fact, it is quite a nuisance, as currents move the sands up and down the coast, filling in coves and creating new shoreline. This structure likely helped the mill workers move that sand out away from the building, and dump it closer to the lake shore.

This shot was taken on a hot, humid, and misty day. You'd never know it, but that's Lake Superior in the background!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Looking up to the top

Looking up to the top by dcclark

Another view of the sheaves at the Centennial #6 headframe (seen from below here). The small ladder leads to the old lightening/flag pole at the very top. No, I did not climb the ladder. I didn't even walk around the sheaves themselves -- the metal decking was getting more than a little dodgy, after so many years of neglect.

St. Stefan

St. Stefan by dcclark

St. Stefan's church in Irsee, Germany. Irsee is best known for a large monastery and church, which is built far down the hill from this smaller church. St. Stefan's church is at the very top of a steep hill, surrounded by its walled cemetery.

This is a panorama stitched together from several shots, resulting in a strange effect -- the church doesn't look real to me! Perhaps it's because it looks too small, or I don't believe that something could have this field of view without perspective distortion.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bavarian Countryside

Bavarian Countryside by dcclark

A storm rolling past in the countryside near Irsee, Germany.

I spent a week in Irsee during June, attending a conference on my particular branch of mathematics. I also had an opportunity to walk through the picturesque town of Irsee, which exists due to a local monastery. That monastery is now a conference center, so in fact I was living like a monk for a week! This shot comes from just outside of the monastery, showing the beautiful countryside just out our windows.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Starflower by dcclark

A starflower: a beautiful, small wildflower which blooms in the early summer. This one was hiding in the woods near the Garden City Mine.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bumble bee

Bumble bee by dcclark

A bumble bee pollinating some apple blossoms. I was attempting to get the bee while it was on the petals, but missed -- and got this interesting shot instead.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Sheaves by dcclark

Looking up at the massive sheaves at the Centennial #6.

Sheaves are wheels with a groove, intended to guide a rope. In this case, these sheaves are twice as tall as I am, mounted 100 feet about the ground at the top of the Centennial #6 rockhouse. Thick hoisting cable would run into the building from the hoist (behind me), over these sheaves, and then down the skip road into the shaft (down and to the front).

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let's Roll

Let's Roll by dcclark

A doorway leading into the Centennial #6 shaft house.

The beams overhead (through the door) were used to help move heavy skips (metal boxes for moving rock or people) on and off of the "skip road", heading down into the shaft. The shaft is just below them, behind the fence. There is also a rather dodgy wooden flooring area just in front of the fence, leading into a sump.

These buildings were, for a long time, used as a hangout for local kids. There is graffiti everywhere, and a lot of broken glass. More recently, the shaft house has been used to store wood chips for a furnace!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stairwell Triangle

Stairwell Triangle by dcclark

"There is no royal road to geometry." -- Euclid.

(But there is a decrepit stairwell, apparently.)

Located in one of the City of Houghton's many public parking lots.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Centennial Dry House

Centennial Dry House by dcclark - traveling

Inside the Centennial Mine #6's surface plant. This is one large steel building, including the dry house, shaft house, offices, and miscellaneous space attached to the rock house. This large area is part of the dry house, with lockers behind this set of machines.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Willow by dcclark - traveling

A huge willow tree at the UW-Madison Arboretum.

Walking under it: The Lovely Sarah and the Mighty Maitreya.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Danger by dcclark

A mysterious hole in the ground near the old Belt (or Lake) Mine. There are (as far as I have found) exactly 2 such warning signs around all of "Belt Mountain", and appoximately 3 zillion holes in the ground which should be marked!

This hole was cool, but didn't have much airflow (which would denote a mine with open tunnels). On the bluff above here, there was a water-filled shaft which might have had some relation to this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

South Lake Mine adit

South Lake Mine adit by dcclark

Another in my series of photos from the South Lake Mine. This adit (horizontal entrance) was bored into the hillside. The roof ahead of this photo had collapsed at some point, opening up a large part of the neighboring shaft (seen in a previous photo). As you can see, there's still plenty of snow here -- inside the mine, there's ice!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

South Lake Mine shaft

South Lake Mine shaft by dcclark

Looking in to one of the South Lake mine's many entrances. This is one of the most spectacular open shafts that I've ever seen, although I don't think it was meant to be this way -- notice all of the fallen rock. There are actually two separate openings visible just in front of my fellow explorer, both of which lead in to a rather small mine. There are also many holes into the rock near this point, some of which join these tunnels, other are separate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Looking out

Looking out by dcclark

Looking towards the outside world, from inside the South Lake mine. This is one of the most spectacular open shafts that I've ever seen. It's not just open... it's WIDE open. This is partly because the old mining companies which explored this area liked to drill lots and lots of holes in the ground, anywhere that looked promising. But it's also because those holes have collapsed and combined over the years, forming some much larger (but less safe) openings into the mines.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Middle Hungarian Falls

Middle Hungarian Falls by dcclark

An old favorite: Hungarian falls. The Hungarian falls are actually an extensive series of waterfalls, large and small, expressed along the Keweenaw fault. That great fault makes for some spectacular drops, including this "middle" falls. Despite their huge size, most of these waterfalls are only a trickle during the summer -- but they really come to life during the spring melt!

Previous views of these falls: the same middle falls from a different view (notice the rocks, which are in front of you in this photo), the huge lower falls, the uppermost falls, and a seasonal side fall.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ring on the Wall

Ring on the Wall by dcclark

A ring on the wall of the old Key Mill, at the Centennial mine.

This was at the Centennial #3. Centennial had quite a history: it began by trying to mine the Calumet Conglomerate, which was making the Calumet & Hecla mine (immediately to the south) fabulously rich. Amazingly, the lode ran basically at the property line. Centennial didn't give up... the built full-out mines on two more lodes, before Homestake bought the mine and returned to the Conglomerate in the 1980's.

Homestake must have thought that it was promising... they even went so far as to build a mill (the "Key Mill") at the site, in some more or less featureless sheet metal buildings on the site. Unfortunately, the experiment lasted for only a year or two, and the mine has been shut down (and decaying severely) since then.

The mill was sold and torn down last year. However, not all of it is gone -- random cement pedestals and metal artifacts remain, standing in the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dead Lightpost

Dead Lightpost by dcclark

The Kingston mine was one of the very few Copper Country mines ever to have a parking lot. Most were closed long before automobiles became popular.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Crocuses by dcclark

It's spring!

"Crocus" means "spring" to me. I take a crocus photo every spring, kneeling in snow, getting muddy and cold... because they're just so dang beautiful.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Trust by dcclark

Trust me, this will all work out...

Ruins of the Champion Mine's mill, in Freda, Michigan. Freda was the end of the line, and existed only for the mill. Once the mine went under, so did everything else in town.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dam Beams

Dam Beams by dcclark

The massive support beams at the Redridge Steel Dam.

These are on the downstream side of the dam, behind the massive steel face which once held back water. The only reason that the afternoon sunlight can show so beautifully on them is because holes were cut in the dam years ago, to help drain the reservoir and avoid overtopping!