Lonely Planet Writer

Photographer shares stunning images of the Saint Joseph Lighthouse on Lake Michigan encased in ice

A photographer has shared a series of stunning pictures that show the Saint Joseph Lighthouse and the surrounding structures on Lake Michigan completely encased in layers of thick ice.

Saint Joseph Lighthouse
The Saint Joseph Lighthouse on Lake Michigan frozen over. Image by Joshua Nowicki
Saint Joseph Lighthouse
The South Pier Beacon encrusted in ice. Image by Joshua Nowicki
Saint Joseph Lighthouse
The images show huge imposing icicles hanging from the structure. Image by Joshua Nowicki

Captured by Joshua Nowicki, who took up photography five years ago and now works in the industry, the atmospheric pictures show huge imposing icicles dangling from the structure, making it look like a frozen fairy-tale palace. Built in 1859, the two-storey lighthouse sits exposed to the elements of the Great Lake and was restored recently. “I am a resident of Saint Joseph and love taking photos of Lake Michigan, especially during storms. I knew that with the strong wind, there was a good likelihood of the lighthouse getting a coating of ice from crashing waves. I took some photos from shore and when the wind calmed and shifted, I went out onto the pier to take some more shots standing right next to the lighthouse,” Joshua told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Saint Joseph Lighthouse
The North Pier Lighthouses in Saint Joseph. Image by Joshua Nowicki
The icicles are formed from the crashing waves from Lake Michigan.
The icicles are formed from the crashing waves from Lake Michigan. Image by Joshua Nowicki
A close-up of ice on the Michigan shoreline.
A close-up of ice on the Michigan shoreline. Image by Joshua Nowicki

Capturing the distinctive shots proved to be a daunting experience for the photographer, who ventured out in a wetsuit to protect him from the freezing cold weather. “Getting out to the location is difficult when the ice builds up on it. The height to which it covers the lighthouse truly demonstrates the power of the lake. It can be quite unnerving taking photos with the large icicles looming overhead. It is very unpredictable as to when the ice will melt and large chunks fall off,” Joshua said. Joshua even managed to get a photograph of himself doing a headstand in his wetsuit beside the frozen lighthouse.

Photographer Joshua Nowicki doing a headstand in a wetsuit beside the frozen lighthouse.
Photographer Joshua Nowicki doing a headstand in a wetsuit beside the frozen lighthouse. Image by Joshua Nowicki
The area lies exposed to the elements of the Great Lake.
The area lies exposed to the elements of the Great Lake. Image by Joshua Nowicki
The jagged icicles on the structure.
The jagged icicles on the structure. Image by Joshua Nowicki

The structures featured in the series include the inner and outer lighthouse, the catwalk along the North pier, as well as a beacon on the south pier that is also heavily encased in ice. More of Joshua’s work is available to view on his website.