Keweenaw Moon
Eagle River, Michigan
April 1999

Rarely do I get frustrated with the Pasty Cam.  It's a Kodak DC-260 with fancy features like adjustable shutter speed, time lapse settings, image capture size, etc.  But early this morning it was inadequate to record a breathtaking sight out our window overlooking Lake Superior.

Here in the Keweenaw Peninsula we are blessed with both a sunrise and sunset view of the big Lake they call Gitche Gumee.  Over at Bete Gris (pronounced "bay degree") you can stand on the sandy beach at dawn and catch that first tiny, glowing speck which rapidly balloons into a flaming fireball rising out of the water.  On a clear evening at sunset, here on the westward shore, often we've sat on the dunes and witnessed the disappearance of that burning ball.  As it sinks into the lake, our family has this tradition of making a sizzling sound (tssszzz!) as the last glowing ray slips into the water.  We imagine the whispy red streaks of vapor rising from the horizon as the smoke of this dying flame, extinguished for another night.

The side of our home which faces the lake is all picture window without any curtains. Nestled in a stand of pines on a grassy hill above the dunes, we enjoy a full time panoramic view of Superior. This morning, just after four o'clock, I was nudged awake by moonbeams drifting into our bedroom.  Actually, the nudge was from our dog Casey,  who sleeps next to the bed and wanted me to get dressed and put her out.  As I sat up and looked across the lake, there was this awesome orange half moon, slightly tilted back, lingering just above the surface.  A shimmering glow draped across the water, marking a path from the shore to the spot where mister moon was about to go down. (Or "minner moon" as the kids used to call it.)

Down the spiral stairs from our bedroom, I fumbled in the dark for the Pasty Cam, let Casey out the front door, turned on the coffee pot, and stepped to the dining room window.  I started snapping shots with various time exposures and zooms.  Normally the moisture in the atmosphere prevents a clear view of the moon setting into the lake - it usually just disappears into the haze.  But here it was, touching the surface, a giant orange rock with its own seas and craters clearly visible, perfectly framed between the birch trees on the dune.  However, the digital view screen of the Kodak revealed that the Pasty Cam coudn't see very well in this low light.  The moon was half submersed as I gave up, put down the camera, and poured a cup of coffee.  As the rest of the family slept, I watched this beautiful light slip away until there remained on the horizon just the faintest star-like twinkle.  In two seconds it was gone.  Tssszz

In a couple of months we begin our fifth year on the Internet.  It's all been made possible by an old folks home in the Copper Country where they enjoy making pasties, being with friends, and watching sunsets.  The last couple of years it has evolved into a daily feature known as the "Pasty Cam".  We receive hundreds of emails from people across North America and around the world who share our love for Michigan's Upper Peninsula, telling us they appreciate the effort. We certainly appreciate the encouragement.  It does take a lot of work to present new pictures every day.  ...and sometimes the best shots just can't be captured.

Charlie Hopper
Still Waters Community Elders Home
The home of  Pasty Central
What a Great Lake... photo by Jonathan Hopper, 7/21/98
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