This is not the first time that I’ve written about this, but I’ll say it again. I love when couples create a wedding for themselves. They create it to be about the two of them and who they are as a couple. They incorporate the traditions that they want to, let other ones go, and build new ones together. This wedding was a creative expression of who Olivia & Abdoulaye are and I couldn’t love it more. It was truly an honor to be a part of the small group that ventured into Hartwick Pines last Tuesday.

Tuesday Afternoon by The Moody Blues played as Olivia & Abdoulaye walked through the woods to their ceremony site so I’ll just leave a snippet of lyrics here for you before you see what we captured:

Tuesday afternoon
I'm just beginning to see
Now I'm on my way
It doesn't matter to me
Chasing the clouds away

Something calls to me
The trees are drawing me near
I've got to find out why
Those gentle voices I hear
Explain it all with a sigh

I'm looking at myself, reflections of my mind
It's just the kind of day to leave myself behind
So gently swaying through the fairy-land of love
If you'll just come with me you'll see the beauty of

Tuesday afternoon
Tuesday afternoon




Holly’s family owns the cottage next to my grandma’s in Grayling. It was a Danish American community who initially settled and built these summer cottages on Lake Margrethe and the prized feature of Danish Landing is the red and white gazebo. I’ve always loved the gazebo for sentimental, nostalgic reasons, but I’ve never photographed a couple in front of it. So of course when Holly suggested taking photos over at the landing, I was super excited. On top of that, Holly and Collin brought their pets Up North so that they could also be included in the session! So another photography-first occurred for me when I was able to include a cat in engagement photos! We didn’t keep sweet Lacey outside for too long, but I think we got a few real gems. A++ to Holly and Collin for being so fun, and goofy, and braving the cold with me. I’m just feeling super grateful for the coolest people I get to work with!




Does it get cuter than this?!  No, my friends.  No it does not.

Julie and John's riverside wedding was one of the first weddings I photographed the year that we moved back to Michigan.  5 years has passed, which is just super hard to believe!  Now they have a sweet little one, Jack, and last week we spent a few hours exploring the family property along the AuSable River in Grayling.  This property was where Julie and John got married - his family has been coming here for generations.  They were so happy to just spend some time doing simple things: playing the banjo, hanging out with cousins, and enjoying Northern Michigan as a family (with their three dogs of course!). It couldn't have been more fun or more special to reconnect with them. 




You might recognize these faces.  I've photographed the Martens family every summer for the past four years!  I love watching these kiddos grow, and as they get older their interaction is just the cutest.  Of course we had to end the session with an ice cream stop - ahhh summer :)




It's no secret that we love Grayling.  Michael and I got married at my mom and dad's house in Grayling, and for us it has become a place where we relax and spend time together with family.  I have known Matt for probably 13+ years now (!!!).  Getting to know Kristy, getting to take their engagement photos, and then being able to document their wedding was so awesome.  We felt SO incredibly appreciated by their families.  I am so grateful for clients like these guys.  What an amazing way to kick off our 2017 wedding season!  Cheers to the Swopes!




"If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely" -Roald Dahl

I think photos of Kristy and Matt together would be bright and happy no matter what the weather, but last week we really lucked out with a warm sunny day... and in case you didn't notice... it's November.  Not typically a notorious month for sunshine in Michigan.  I'm so filled with happiness for these two and can't wait to photograph their wedding next year!  Thanks for making my job so fun you guys :)


As September rolls on and we start to feel hints of fall here and there, I am savoring every last minute of summer weather while also looking forward to what might be my favorite season.  There is nothing quite like fall in Michigan... But there is nothing quite like summer either.  Here are a few shots that Mike and I have taken throughout the summer on 35mm film.  A glimpse into our non-work life (even though we are still attached to cameras all the time).  A blend of different films, a blend of cameras, a blend of our families... Truly one awesome summer mash-up, ending with a glass of whiskey (duh).  Cheers to summer, family and loving life!



When we lived in California I actually missed snow, because let's face it - we never got to Tahoe enough.  I missed the stillness of winter and the quiet.  We are beginning our second winter back in Michigan and I am really embracing it.  The snow and the way it blankets the woods is meditative.  There is too much negativity about winter, and if you live here you should really challenge yourself to explore it.  Because it is beautiful and peaceful, and it allows you to see the same scenery in a completely new way.  Just wear the right clothes and get out there.


Shot on Kodak Portra 400 that was accidentally processed in black & white chemicals.  Camera: Pentax K1000.  The Hartwick Pines' AuSable River Trail and My Aunt's awesome golden retriever, Lily are featured.


A year ago we started working with Paddle Hard Brewing, helping them create and refine a logo, produce a video for their Indiegogo fundraising campaign, and photograph the build out in progress.  Paddle Hard is officially open for business and has been featured on

Here is the link to the article!  Check it out and head on over to Paddle Hard Brewing for great eats and beer!  More photos from the finished space are in the works, so stay tuned.



This is going to be a long post.  Not because this wedding is incredibly elaborate - just the opposite in fact.  This was easily one of the most relaxed weddings of my year, but it was perfectly simple in all the best ways.  I couldn't have kicked off my 2013 wedding season with a more fantastic couple.  Julie and John decided to have a low-key ceremony and reception at a unique location close to their hearts: the Matabanic Lodge, which John's family owns, right along the banks of the AuSable River.  With their closest friends and family in attendance, and their three black labs, they celebrated their wedding over the course of a week.  Everyone was able to stay on the property and enjoy the river and gorgeous surrounding forest.  

I'm so glad I was able to document the evening of their rehearsal dinner as well - since it really shows just how tight knit this group is.  Take a look:


The next day, on a wooden bridge crossing the river, Julie and John said their vows.  Julie and her father took a canoe down the river to the ceremony, the couple's 3 dogs followed them everywhere, and a local bluegrass band played into the night.  It doesn't get much better.

I decided to make their wedding a featured wedding in our portfolio.  You can view images from the wedding here.

*As a side note, you may notice a number of changes throughout our site.  We have restructured the site and made a number of changes.  Hopefully everything will be clear and comprehensive - and I am looking forward to blogging more in 2014!



Today we - Mike and I - took a refreshing break from editing, and finally broke out my new - well actually used - underwater housing.   My experiments today feel like I am actually accomplishing the things I wanted as a thirteen year old, dreaming about being underwater.  I didn't feel the intense desire for the photography part in all of this until high school, but ever since then I have imagined, waited for, sold a car, shopped around, and gathered the pieces necessary to buy this piece of equipment.  Wedding season rolled around and I have just been trying to keep my head above water - excuse the bad pun - keeping up with clients, editing weddings, scheduling meetings, responding to emails.  My facebook page right now makes it seem like weddings are all I ever do.  And don't get me wrong, I feel incredibly fortunate to be documenting such amazing people this summer.  It has been an awesome experience working for myself and doing something so memorable for couples.  I really love it.  But I needed today.  I needed to remember my thirteen year old dreams and take advantage of the warm weather while it lasts.  I needed to finally get the courage to put the housing together, and cross my fingers that I did everything right, and dunk it underwater.



My dad gave me his old Pentax K1000 camera when I was in high school so that I could use it for my first photography class.  I loved using it and developing my first prints in the class darkroom, but my photography classes in college were strictly digital (unfortunately).  I tried to pick up the camera again in college, but when my hard drive had a near meltdown as I tried to transfer some digitally scanned negatives in the lab, I was sufficiently freaked out enough to put film on the back burner again.

This past year I loaded a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 35mm film - black and white - into it, and would randomly pick it up or take it with me on trips.  I finally finished the roll and had it developed, and I couldn't be happier.  I am IN LOVE with these portraits of my parents.

I also have shots from San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Grayling, and a couple from my photo session with Matt, that I will be sharing in the coming weeks.  I have a feeling this is the beginning of something new... to follow along feel free to subscribe.

Ken and Sandra Michalik, Grayling, Mi. 2012

Ken and Sandra Michalik, Grayling, Mi. 2012



The north had appealed to me - its freedom and its beauty. I had given much thought to it. I didn’t have definite plans, but I just wanted to be there. I wanted more.
— Olaus J. Murie
Moonset /// Grayling, MI.

Moonset /// Grayling, MI.


This morning I stumbled upon the book Journeys to the Far North by Olaus Murie at an estate sale.  I won't get into my love of estate sales just yet, but I might be posting more quotes from this book - and a few others I picked up - in the future.  Just by flipping through it, I am already excited to read it and make art inspired by it.  By looking up Olaus Murie online, I am told he was a naturalist, author, and wildlife biologist who did groundbreaking research on a variety of northern mammals.  He is now called the "father of modern elk management" and - this is my favorite part - he spent his honeymoon with his wife, Mardy, tracking caribou through the Koyukuk River region.