A ride on the S.S. Badger; Ludington photography

One of the things I absolutely love about living in the Ludington area is our carferry and railroad heritage.

Riding the Badger is a summer ritual for me. Earlier this week I took a trip across the big lake with my friend and photographer mentor Ron Muszynski. It’s kind of a tradition for us to take a couple days and explore either Wisconsin or northern Michigan sometime during the summer. The trips usually involve lots of picture taking, deep conversation, good food and a little geocaching.

It seems everybody on board the Badger has a story to tell. They are typically on the ship on some sort of an adventure or for work.

One of the most unique adventurers was Nigel Blandford from Manchester, England. Nigel is taking the summer off of work to bicycle the northern United States. His route is from New York City to San Francisco.

He started his trip on May 20 and plans to be done on Sept. 2.

His trek across Michigan was along the Pere Marquette Trail, basically U.S. 10, ending in Ludington. “It was absolutely gorgeous,” he said about his trip so far. “The hospitality of the American people has been just wonderful. If I find myself without a place to stay, people will just put me up for the night.”

He said he found Michigan to be beautiful. “It started out flat on the east side and then the further west I started seeing nice lakes and forests. The people in the United Kingdom could learn a lot about small towns in America. Almost every small town has a library, a post office and a general store. It’s really nice.”

Nigel is employed by Mersey Forest (www.merseyforest.org.uk/) and his employer was generous enough to let him take a sabbatical for the summer, he said.

To follow more of Nigel’s adventures, check him out on at


Besides Nigel, I talked to Dave and Carrie Wood of Custer Township. They, their four children and Carrie’s mother, were on their way to visit family in Minnesota. It was the first time the kids had riden the Badger and they were making the most of it.

Marc and Linda Anderson of Pere Marquette Township were taking the motorcycle across to visit their son in northern Illinois. After that they planned on heading up to northern Wisconsin into the Upper Peninsula and then back down to home.

Aaron Pugh of Hamlin Township was on his way to Appleton, Wis. on business. Aaron installs insulated blinds and has accounts at several motels in the Appleton and Green Bay area. He uses the Badger for transportation because it’s a convenient way to travel across the lake, he said.

Ron and I also talked with Mark and Marsha Wynja of Melvin, Iowa. They and their 14-year-old triplets had been in Ludington for a graduation open house.

Many years ago Marsha and Marie Pleiness of Ludington became friends during a 4-H exchange trip. Because of the S.S. Badger, it’s only an 8 hour drive (and 3.5 hour ferry ride) for Marsha to visit her childhood friend.

Brenda Schuchardt of Hart was traveling with her 10-year-old son Christopher. They were on their way to visit Brenda’s mother-in-law in northwestern Wisconsin.

“We usually take the Badger over a couple times a summer,” Brenda said. “It’s fun and a great way to travel.”

The trip also included several Ford Model A’s and their drivers who were on their way to a show in Oshkosh, Wis.

The Badger is more than just part of the Ludington scenery. It is part of the lifeblood of our community. It is an extension of U.S. 10 and takes travelers to destinations far and wide. It not only carries cars, motorcycles and bicycles, it also carries semi trucks with freight.

When we were returning on the early Wednesday morning departure, I counted eight semi-trucks coming off the ship in Manitowoc. Then, five semis, including three carrying long wind-turbine parts (destined for Canada) were loaded.

The Badger is also responsible for dozens of jobs and millions of dollars in our community. Lake Michigan Carferry, the ship’s parent company, does business locally with printers, food service, contractors and many other services. The passengers stop at our restaurants and in our stores.

In a day and age when everybody wants to get some place faster, it’s nice to sit back on board a historic vessel and relax. It’s nice to know that by riding the ship we are helping the Ludington tradition of carferry service survive.

– Rob


Ludington photography



Morgan; Ludington High School senior pictures

In the world of photography, not everything is as it seems. Morgan is a high school senior at Ludington High School. She was on the cross-country team, which took up a good chunk of her fall. By the time the season got done, the temperatures dropped. However, she wanted some outdoor pictures, including the beach. So, on a brisk fall day we headed outdoors and created some wonderful pictures around Ludington, including beach pictures. Though the temperatures were in the upper ’40s, Morgan was a trooper and did great. Us Michigan people are just pretty tough when it comes to the weather!

Vacationing in Paradise, aka Michigan’s west coast. Pentwater family photography

Erin and Patrick say they like to take a vacation near Lake Michigan every year. But this year the southeast Michigan family discovered Paradise, the shores near Pentwater and Ludington. A family vacation is a wonderful way to create memories, investing in a family photograph is the way to preserve those memories for years to come.

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Still time for family beach photography

The official end of the summer season is here, but there is still plenty of good weather for family beach photography. Actually, fall is our favorite time of the year; the cooler temperatures mean crisper skies and more beautiful light. However, time is limited. Call or email today.


Cruising on the SS Badger – Lake Michigan Carferry Photography

The carferry and Ludington are symbiotic. The SS Badger is the symbol of our town and what it is known for. I will admit, I, like many others in our community, love the carferry. Even more so, I love the heritage of the carferries in Ludington (and anywhere along Lake Michigan). As a kid, I got to ride on the SS Badger, SS Spartan and SS City of Midland. In the ’70s those were the remaining three carferries to operate out of Ludington.

So, naturally as a photographer I take any opportunity I can do ride the big boat, as I did today. I am working on a project for Lake Michigan Carferry (the Badger’s parent company) to help promote the ship’s importance to Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis. Currently the Environmental Protection Agency is mandating the Badger stop dumping coal ash into the lake. To stop doing so means the ship stops operating. LMC has until the end of next year to come up with a solution. While the company is working on a solution (and a pretty darn good one at that) it needs more time. As a community we need to do everything we can to encourage our lawmakers to extend that deadline and save our economy!

Here is a sampling of some of the extra photos from Monday’s trip. I will post the project once it is completed, which should be soon.

– rob