Michigan is a bizarre and beautiful place. It's the only U.S. state made of two peninsulas, each carved by ancient glaciers and now immersed in their memory. The sprawling Great Lakes give it the world's longest freshwater coastline, and every inch of its land lies within six miles of a natural water source. It's teeming with unique wilderness, from rugged mountains and virgin forests to sand dunes, patterned bogs and untamed islands.

These landscapes look especially cool in winter, when rivers freeze, snow strafes beaches and ice encases trees. Throw in stars and northern lights over serene glacial lakes, and a glimpse of wild, wintry Michigan is like a slap in the face from Mother Nature's mitten.

That's the kind of eye-opening experience captured in a new time-lapse video by Chicago photographer Eric Hines. Titled "Seeking Michigan (Part 1)," it's a stunning tribute to the state's natural beauty — in winter as well as other seasons — that Hines has been working on for the past year. Check it out below, ideally in high definition and full-screen mode:

Virtually every frame is spectacular, but if you can't spare the full 142 seconds, must-see highlights include a snowy waterfall scene at 0:22, lake-reflected stars at 0:59, aurora borealis at 1:05 and a beachfront blizzard at 1:38. Yet as impressive as all this footage is, Hines suggests on Vimeo he's still far from finished "Seeking Michigan."

"Sleeping in the back of my car, walking through forests at night, getting lost on dirt roads, and driving for hours on end around this gorgeous place has been an incredible inspiration to me," Hines writes. "So much so that I decided one piece just simply wouldn't do it for me. The goal for me in this project is to continue to see new, special things about Michigan, and share my experiences with the viewer."

Related time-lapse videos on MNN:

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