Leafless trees, snow, and midday, midwinter shadows
give parts of this photo the look of a hand-painted map.
At the top-left (NW) of the picture is a blue sliver of Lake Michigan, beyond the Leelanau Peninsula. The top-right features Torch Lake, with Elk Lake below it. The tip of the Old Mission Peninsula, running down the middle of the photo, is almost exactly half-way between the Equator and the North Pole. Because of its latitude, the entire Great Lakes region enjoys four well-balanced seasons.
In the bottom-left corner is the village of Interlochen, with its internationally-known school of music and the arts. Its name means “among the lakes”; nearby Duck, Long, Dubonet and others are covered with ice.
The Boardman River flows from east to west along the bottom of the frame, then north through Traverse City and into West Grand Traverse Bay.
Bowers Harbor on the Old Mission Peninsula, and nearby Power Island in West Grand Traverse Bay. Unlike the water, the area’s sprawling cherry, grape, and apple orchards are green-free for the season.
It’s January, and ice is beginning to accumulate in the larger inland lakes, as well as the shores of the bays. Even so, people swim every year on New Years Eve and SCUBA divers brave the cold even when the water is fully frozen over.
This photo was taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station during Expedition 22 in 2010.
Original (raw) image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center.