Harrington Beach offers, for me, two primary photo opportunities.
- Lake Michigan itself
- The beach
There are also nature trails, a quarry lake, and a small pond.
The Lake – with the wide angle lens
The wide angle zoom works great overlooking the lake, and is frequently used on calmer days.
There are times where the clouds can make or break the total image, with the lake playing a supplemental role. This lens does a great job of bringing these elements together.
With Harrington Beach closer to my home than Kohler-Andrae State Park (located north of Harrington by about 20 miles), I’ll often to to Harrington Beach for the expansive lake scenes. Though there are days I’ll catch both, for different purposes.
The Lake – with a short telephoto
The 70-200, on the other hand, is employed when the lake is rough.
Imagine the high, rolling waves, crashing on shore over the near-shore sandbars. The wind whisking the white tops off the distant waves, allowing the spray to disperse downwind.
With a blue sky overhead, the power of each wave becomes so impressive.
The Beach – macro lens
The beach is its own ecosystem. A slow walk on the beach, looking down at what is present, offers macro opportunities within just a few feet.
On the days and times that I am visiting Harrington Beach, most others are not. With the exception of few gulls, the beach is mostly vacant, with but a few other visitors.
What treasures can be found?
Perhaps there are a few pieces of driftwood, placed without regard by the waters of Lake Michigan.
Feathers are often found on this beach. Some are soft and downy-like, others more mature. If I want to shoot feathers on the beach, this beach is the first I’ll hit.
Sand grains or rain drops captured by the feathers – often go unnoticed by those just walking the beach – stand out during the “macro” excursions.
In winter, the ice shelf builds up and out from the beach into the lake, and as it extends, it creates “ice volcanoes”. The incoming waves come under the ice shelf, break through a small hole in the overhead ice, and the water spouts out that hole. The water then freezes as it drains away, and eventually over time, a small volcano is created. The shoreline is often lined with many of these temporary volcanoes each winter.
Harrington Beach State Park is located about 35 miles north of Milwaukee off I-43 and Hwy D, at Belgium, in southeastern Wisconsin.
The park is in a rural setting, on the western shore of Lake Michigan. There is perhaps a mile of Lake Michigan beach, as well as numerous hiking trails, and a small campground.
In-season hunting, occurs in the park, though not on the beach areas.
Harrington Beach State Park requires either a daily or annual entrance park sticker. Neither are that expensive, with the annual being the best buy if you’ll be visiting other state parks/forests.