Northern Michigan

ALLISON & RAY // A JULY WEDDING ON HIGGINS LAKE // ROSCOMMON, MICHIGAN

 

On a Tuesday in July, Allison & Ray tied the knot. They stood on top of a friend’s boathouse overlooking Higgins Lake and read vows and exchanged rings. And laughed. And cried. They made Ray’s daughter, Eleanor, a critical part of their day. They danced and joked together. They remembered Ray’s dad in a powerful way by placing his flag and portrait on the front row of ceremony chairs. Friends surprised them and decorated the van with “just married” chalk paint and streamers. They drank and danced the night away. I’ve been trying to write about this day and coming up short. I haven’t been able to find the right words, but I keep coming back to this: This day felt real. This was truly Allison & Ray’s wedding. It’s hard to explain. There is no way this wedding could have been for anyone else. It was 100% them. It was filled with their personality and I am filled with gratitude because I had the opportunity to tell this story. Cheers!

 

BIRDS OF A FEATHER DINNER // WOMEN IN THE TRAVERSE CITY FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY

 

When Cammie from Epicure Catering reached out to me asking if I would be available to photograph this dinner it was truly an honor. The Birds of a Feather dinner began last year and the idea is to celebrate women in the food and beverage industry in Traverse City. So female chefs, servers, bartenders, designers, managers, and more come together to put on a multi-course menu for 60+ guests. The dinner was hosted at one of my very favorite TC spots, The Little Fleet. The menu featured a passed appetizer from Katy Viswat of 7 Monks, an appetizer course from Kristen Karam of K2 Edibles, a salad course from Becky Tranchell of Rose & Fern Cafe, the main course by the season 16 winner of Hell’s Kitchen, Kim Ryan, and the dessert course by Becca Snook of Alliance. Unique cocktails were created by a number of female bartenders, staff members, and owners of local restaurants. The design concept and decor came to life thanks to Darling Botanical and the entire event was supported by a number of other amazing hardworking women. A portion of the proceeds even went to the Women’s Resource Center. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this event. Stay connected via a new FB group for Northern Michigan Women in Hospitality.

 

Backpacking in Northern Michigan // Jordan Valley Pathway // From the Archives

 

There’s nothing quite like walking out into the woods with everything you need for the night on your back. All of your food. The tent and sleeping bag you’ll sleep in. An extra layer of clothing. A baseball hat snapped onto the back of your pack. And then you walk. Through forest with tall trees. Over a wooden boardwalk elevated over swampy terrain. Along a cold and clear river. Through berry bushes taller than you are. Your feet get tired, but the sun is warm and you chat with each other about anything and everything. Then for some stretches it’s ok to be silent. To get into a rhythm. My short legs make me a pretty slow backpacker, so I just try to go with the flow. But trips like this provide me with little jewels in my memory. These are little glowing days that stand out compared to the rest of my year. It wasn’t because it was easy. No. It was definitely not a breeze. My body was pretty exhausted after this trip on the Jordan Valley Pathway, but a couple of days in the woods makes your mind slow down. After a trip like this I seem to be able to refocus on the things that are truly important. I can’t wait to plan our next outdoor adventure - I’m already brainstorming ideas for this Summer…

 

WINTER RAFTING WITH WILD BANSHEE ADVENTURE CO. & JORDAN VALLEY OUTFITTERS // JORDAN RIVER, NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

This is the first post in a series that I have found myself calling “Blogging the Backlog”. There are so many fun personal projects, images from our travel, or commercial and editorial projects from the past few years that I haven’t found the time to blog. Some of them I haven’t even truly had time to edit! Yikes. During the weeks of February and March I’m going to try to have one scheduled each week. You’ll see images from Santa Fe, Summer backpacking in Northern Michigan, exploring and scuba diving in Bali, and hiking in Asheville. Those are just the things that are popping into my head that I know I’m planning to share, but I’m sure that I’ll find more to post as I delve deep into our hard drives.

Last Winter I had the great opportunity to join Kendall from Wild Banshee Adventure Co. (and The Revel Rose), Lee from Fieldguide Farmhouse, Heather from Ampersand Lettering Lab, the fine ladies of Juniper & Lace, and the one and only Sandy Michalik, i.e. my mom on a Winter Rafting trip down the Jordan River. Jordan Valley Outfitters led the trip and I would highly, highly recommend it!

 

TRAVERSE CITY WINTER LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY // CLAIRE & BOWSER AT THE CABIN

 

Claire recently moved back to Traverse City with her pup, Bowser, and she asked if I might be willing to take some photos of them near the cabin that she lovingly called her dad’s “project cabin”. Just say the words “project cabin” and I’m there. Seriously. It’s kind of my dream to build a rustic cabin retreat in the woods and this one is a little beauty. Claire and I hiked with Bowser to her favorite part of the woods near the property. A beautiful Aspen forest covered in fresh snow. Bowser was beyond excited to be outside exploring and we did the very best we could to get portraits of him in between watching him dive under branches and then untangling him. Once we made our way back to the cabin we enjoyed the fire, chatted with Claire’s wonderful parents, and changed Bowser into an adorable new sweater. I’m pretty sure this is Northern Living at it’s finest.

 

NAKINA & KO // LIFESTYLE & BRAND PHOTO SHOOT // PETOSKEY, MI

 

Happy Monday! Last week I went to Petoskey to meet up with a group of awesome women! Savannah is the face behind Nakina Artistry, soon to become Nakina & Ko. She creates magic with hair and makeup, but she also has big plans for a rebrand which will include more lifestyle content in the future. You’ll just have to follow along with Sav to stay in the loop! ;)

 

MATT & DAWN // MACKINAC ISLAND PROPOSAL AND ENGAGEMENT SESSION

 

On Saturday Michael and I headed to Mackinac Island to document a surprise proposal - and then engagement session. It was so special and sweet, and we also got super into pretending to be covert spies as we hid microphones and tried not to be obvious while pretending to nonchalantly photograph and film the grounds of Mission Point Resort. Matt and Dawn were wonderful and after the proposal we spent some time with them exploring Mackinac Island on a moody early Fall day. I have to say, if you’re considering a trip to the Island, this time of year is a great time to go. It was so beautiful and way more laid back than it is in the height of Summer. Congratulations Matt & Dawn!

Special thanks to Mission Point Resort for advice and assistance in coordinating Matt’s proposal!

 

JESSICA & CHRIS // TRAVERSE CITY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER // GARVEY FAMILY WEDDING BARN

 

A little rain can't stand in your way.  It's ok to be bummed.  I get it.  Honestly I do.  On the same weekend two years ago, Michael and I got married and it was a drizzly day too.  But we didn't let it get in our way, and neither did Jessica & Chris.  When you are ready to get married, and your whole family is excited - just completely full of emotion and love in the way Jessica and Chris' families were, it can't be a bad day.  It will be the best day.  Once again, the way we are welcomed into a family's life for such an important day will always be so significant for me.  It was truly an honor to capture these moments.  Cheers to Jessica & Chris!

Prep location: Condos at Grand Traverse Resort // Hair & Makeup: Pavlova Salon & Spa // Church:  St. Joseph Catholic Church // Florist: Lillies of the Alley // Venue: The Garvey Family Wedding Barn // Rentals, Catering, Cake: Grand Traverse Resort // DJ: 2 Bays DJs // Bride's attire: Nancy's Bridal, Veil: Barb's Bridal // Groom's attire: Men's Warehouse

 

CHELSEA & SCOTT // AN INTIMATE WINERY WEDDING AT AURORA CELLARS // LEELANAU WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Imagine an intimate wedding in Italy.  A winery tucked among the hills and fields.  A day so warm the bride has to dip her feet in the water.  An uncomplicated ceremony.  Friends and family laughing, eating delicious small bites, drinking wine.  Dozens of adorable babies giggling and toddlers running around playing.  Tables simply set with lace runners, candles and red roses.  Tiramisu for dessert.  Golden light hitting the grape vines.

That was Chelsea and Scott's wedding.  Minus one small detail: the location.  Surprise, surprise we weren't in Italy last weekend, but the vibe was on point.  Cheers you two!  What a day!

Venue: Aurora Cellars // Hair & Makeup: Brittany, Elegant Bridal Designs // Florist: Omena Cut Flowers // Transportation: Grand Traverse Tours // Catering & Dessert: Folgarelli's // Thanks Cathy Fitz for the photo assistance!

 

CAROLYN & DAN // LEELANAU COUNTY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // AURORA CELLARS

 

As I was sorting through Carolyn & Dan's wedding photos I was really struck by two things.  First was of course the natural beauty of Northern Michigan and the striking portraits we were able to take of the two of them in that landscape.  But the second thing I was really struck by was the number of great "in between" moments that I wanted to include in this preview.  The photos that probably won't be the hang-on-the-wall or "frame-worthy" photos, but are priceless none the less.  No, you probably won't frame the photo of your parents making ham sandwiches and hummus roll-ups for the wedding party, but that moment is special and it's definitely worth documenting.  I never want to be so caught up with seeking "perfection" that I miss moments like those.  Cheers to Carolyn & Dan!  What an absolutely spectacular wedding day.

Venue: Aurora Cellars // Ceremony: St. Mary's of Lake Leelanau // Hair & Makeup: Memorable Occasions // Florist: Premier Floral Design // Transportation: Great Lakes Party Bus // Caterer: Bayside Gatherings // Dessert: Grand Traverse Pie Co. // DJ: 2 Bays DJs // Bride's attire: Bianka Bridal // Groom's attire: Calvin Klein

 

HAPPY'S TACOS FOR TASTE THE LOCAL DIFFERENCE // GUIDE TO LOCAL FOOD IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

I had the great pleasure of collaborating with Taste the Local Difference and Happy's Tacos for this year's Guide to Local Food in Northern Michigan!  Happy's Tacos creates their own hot sauces using locally grown peppers when available and the rainbow of colors created such a fun set to style and shoot.  Here's a look behind the scenes.

 

FIELDGUIDE // ART. WATER. WILDLIFE. // AN ART SHOW AT FIELDGUIDE FARMHOUSE

 

My friend and fellow artist, Dani Knoph, and I had the fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Lee Maynard of Fieldguide Farmhouse to exhibit new works.  The new show opened this past weekend and our work will be on display throughout 2018!  So if you book a stay at the farmhouse, or participate in any of the fantastic events held there this year, you'll have a chance to view (and even purchase!) the pieces.  For more information, check out the links at the bottom of this post.

New work pictured above from The Compass Points Here: The Freshwater Studies and The Petoskey Collection.  Photographic image transfers onto wood.  12"x12".  $100 each.

Dani Knoph // Website // Facebook // Instagram

Fieldguide Farmhouse // Website // Facebook // Instagram

 

ERIN & SHELBY // NOVEMBER ENGAGEMENT SESSION AT SPRING LAKE // TRAVERSE CITY, MI

 

When your clients request an engagement session at a hidden little lake with special meaning to them, you know it is going to be a good day.  Despite some truly bone-chilling temperatures and a fresh dusting of snow from the night before, Erin & Shelby took the rowboat out with their pup.  The late fall colors were subtle but beautiful and by the end of the session we were hiking with big fat snowflakes falling around us.  It was such a pleasure to work with these two and I'm beyond excited to share a peek of the session here.  Also, I have to mention that Shelby is a very talented woodworker - I had the chance to check out her products at Shop & Sip (a holiday craft market), but if you missed it I would highly recommend browsing her website... just in time for the holidays ;) wink wink ;)  Cheers to Erin & Shelby!

 

TARA & RON // PETOSKEY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY // MACKINAW TRAIL WINERY

 

Tara and Ron decided to elope with only their closest friends and family in attendance at Mackinaw Trail Winery just outside of Petoskey.  They had blue skies, very comfortable weather, and just the first hints of fall in the air.  Tara has a daughter, Addy, from a previous marriage.  Her first husband passed away and one of the most heartfelt moments happened when Ron gave Addy a necklace during the ceremony and promised to be her dad forever too.  I usually shed a tear at every wedding we document, but that moment really made me feel all the feels.  Cheers to Tara, Ron & Addy - thank you for trusting us to capture your day.

 

LEE & AMY // WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE BOATHOUSE RESTAURANT // TRAVERSE CITY

 

Lee and Amy asked a small group of their closest friends and family to gather at the Boathouse Restaurant in Traverse City for their wedding.  It was such a privilege for us to document because it could have just been any old Tuesday night for us... and instead we watched two people make a commitment to each other in a beautiful place, with lovely people surrounding them.  They drank champagne and ate delicious food and chatted together and watched the sunset over the water.  Sometimes the simple things aren't really that simple after all - they can be filled with meaning and magic.  Cheers to Lee and Amy!

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN ARTIST // DANI KNOPH // STUDIO TOUR

 

My good friend Dani is a talented artist who just launched her new website!  We spent some time in her studio taking behind the scenes photos of her space, artwork and process.  I absolutely love her work, and we have two of her prints that we're getting ready to hang in our own home.  If you're also a nature and wildlife lover, I highly recommend visiting her site and following along with her on instagram.  AND she has a promotion going on right now for Father's Day - check it out!!

 

MORGAN & NATHAN // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES // ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

MORGAN & NATHAN // SLEEPING BEAR DUNES // ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

Engagement sessions with me are kind of evolving into hikes or walks - exploring new spaces and lighting.  Adventuring with couples for a couple hours.  Taking time to wander and taking in this f-ing magical Northern Michigan landscape.  Reflecting on it now, it really is a great fit for our brand.  I'm looking for people who are open to this; Morgan and Nathan were perfect.  We laughed, we hiked up dunes, explored the woods looking for glowy strands of light.  Their wedding in August is going to be a beauty - I can't wait.

THE ART OF THE BRAISE // TRAVERSE MAGAZINE

THE ART OF THE BRAISE // TRAVERSE MAGAZINE

We've been a bit absent from the blog for a while!  That tends to happen as we wrap up our wedding season and move into a different phase of our work... this Winter we have stayed pretty dang busy though!  We're communicating with 2017 and 2018 clients, wrapping up our remaining videography projects of 2016, creating new pieces of artwork, painting and organizing our home/office/studio spaces, generally scheming about the future, and working on editorial projects!  For this particular project in the February issue of Traverse Magazine, I had the great opportunity to photograph dishes by Chef Myles Anton of Trattoria Stella (which just happened to be named the most romantic restaurant in Michigan by USA Today).  I wanted to share the magazine spreads as well as a few outtakes.  There's nothing like cooking in cast iron in the cold months - yum.

MATT & KRISTY // GRAYLING ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

MATT & KRISTY // GRAYLING ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY

"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 :)