MICHIGAN CITY | It was a cool day in July last year when Laura A. Niemiec set out to capture the iconic Michigan City Lighthouse.
“I took the photo as a cold front was moving through. Hearing cold front on the news doesn’t make everyone happy, but to me it means big waves on Lake Michigan and possibly a great photo opportunity,” Niemiec, of Michigan City, said. “It was definitely worth it that day. It’s one of my all-time favorite shots.”
Niemiec’s photo was recently named Most Artistic in the 10th annual DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology’s Historic Preservation Month photo contest.
The contest features subjects that are at least 50 years old and photographed within the last two years. Niemiec’s picture placed second in the LaPorte County Historical Society’s contest before being sent down to the statewide competition. The contest is judged by representatives of the DNR, other preservationists and photographers.
“My photograph is currently on display at the LaPorte County Historical Society Museum,” she said. “They have some of the entries from the county contest on display as well as some photographs of current and past winners of the state contest.”
The lighthouse’s age makes it a great photo subject, Niemiec said.
“I don’t think many realize it’s 110 years old. Another reason it’s an iconic photo subject is because it’s steadfast,” Niemiec said. “Over the past few years, I’ve been out photographing it in all kinds of elements from extreme winds brought on by cold fronts causing waves to batter and crash over the 50-foot structure to the arctic tundra of winter when temperatures drop way below zero while Lake Michigan freezes around it. Its strength just impresses me.”
With a background in business management and aircraft electrical and environmental systems, Niemiec has been shifting her hobby into a career since leaving her “day job” in March to concentrate on her business, Lanie Bella Photography.
“When I graduated and finished my bachelor’s degree in December 2012, I bought myself a Nikon D3200 as a graduation present and have been hoping to one day turn my hobby into a career ever since,” she said. “I have never taken a photography class. I just learn as I go. If there is something I don’t understand, I’ll put in time to read up about it or get advice from fellow photographers.”
She recently has been viewing America through her lens travelling to 19 states since March 31 on a photography road trip.
“I drove down Route 66 to Santa Monica, Calif., then came back the northern route. After a week back home, I drove down to Charleston, S.C., and back followed by a trip up to Holland, Mich., for the Tulip Time festival. I’m currently working on getting all of those photographs edited and up on my blog,” she said. “I’ve always loved photography, capturing moments and beauty to share with others. I try to capture the world how I see it and I love seeing how others view the world around them.”
For more information, visit www.Laniebellaphotography.com or www.in.gov/dnr/historic/3994.htm.