Photography by Jim Doty

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Thorne Swift Nature Preserve

Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is a little gem in Northern Michigan, not far the charming little tourist town of Harbor Springs. From downtown Harbor Springs, go north on M-119 a little less than 4 miles to Lower Shore Drive and follow the signs. If this end of the road is still closed, go north an additional four miles on M-119 and follow the signs. (M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village is one of the prettiest drives in Michigan and well worth your time.)

Showy Ladyslipper

Thorne Swift has several nature trails that take you through forests, swamps and to the rocky beach. There are almost always several  interesting flowers in bloom from spring through fall. The Showy Ladyslippers usually bloom for a couple of weeks around the 4th of July.  I found a nice bunch when I was there July 1 (2004).

Depending on the time of year, there will be interesting mosses and ferns to photograph. There are insects to photograph too (you will probably want insect repellant for the occasional mosquito encounter). You might see some wildlife if you stay in one place, keep quiet and come when not too many other people are there (early on a weekday is best). When you are done taking pictures in the deep woods, you can head for the beach, catch some sun, and photograph some flowers and the lakeshore.

There is a $3.00 per car parking fee which is quite reasonable and helps provide support for the operation of the nature center. You might consider making an additional donation or purchasing something at the visitors center.

If you are in Northern Michigan, enjoy nature and like to take pictures, Thorne Swift is a very good place to go.

All photos on this page were taken with a Canon 10D digital camera. The orchid was photographed with a Canon EF 28-135mm IS (image stabilization) lens. The fly was photographed with a Canon EF 100mm macro lens and a Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Light. The photo along the shoreline was takenwith a Canon EF 17-40mm L series lens.

July 4, 2004

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