Shadows and Tracks


Illusion © 2008 Bo Mackison

What creature do you think passed this way? On the sandy beach tucked in front of the Whitefish Dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan. Only the shadows, only the tracks.

It is suggested that the tracks are those of a Great Blue Heron, one who seems to be dragging his feet a little in the soft sand.

Door County, Wisconsin

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. You take the greatest pictures. I was thinking about you today as my wife and I walked through this Northern New Mexican landscape, about what an eye you have, and how I should spend more time with your photos, to see what draws you, and how you select and frame it..

  2. That would make a great print on canvas.

  3. HeyJules says:

    Looks like a heron or crane to me. Look at the size of those long toes!

  4. Gandalf says:

    I love the texture of the sand and the prints as well as the shadowplay. Very nice shot. I don’t know what animal made the prints, but I’d be very curious to find out.

  5. Chris Osborne says:

    This one is wonderful. So full of mystery (because I don’t know exactly what it is) and certainty (because I can at least tell that it’s a bird) at the same time. And the shadows just seem to cross the tracks in the perfect places.

  6. I really like the photo, both for subject and composition! (I’ll bet on a Heron.)

  7. We are thinking heron, too. When we go to the UP in Michigan in October, there is usually a HUGE migration of herons…that is an amazing site…like Jurassic Park! Little dinosaurs in packs!

    In the summer, we see them only solitarily or in pairs.

    Do you agree with heron for these prints?

  8. Beautiful photo! It is one of my favotiest that I have seen in a long time.
    I have never pressed flowers or plants. As a child, I used to watch my father press them and donate them as specimens to the herbarium at UNC Chapel Hill. He had blotters and a belt that tightened around the stack of specemins all between newspapers and blotters and framed wood to insure flatness and pressure. He kept specimens of the same plant and had a large cabinet of them. I can see your point. I could keep them as a contribution to a family archive of some kind.

  9. Absolutely a great photo! The shape of the tracks are an interesting pattern. I don’t have a clue what creature made them. Lovely patterns, light and dark. 🙂

  10. Now this… this would be an arresting business card.

  11. I like this one. the shadows are clear and graphical, the footprints tell a story. Heron seems plausible to me – but I’d like a close look at a heron foot to be sure.

  12. Absolutely great shot! The shadows and footprints are amazing.

  13. Super photo…when I was in elementary, we used to make plaster impressions of prints like this…

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