Outdoor Photographer

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…

 

THE COLLA FAMILY // HARBOR SPRINGS FAMILY PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER

 

I've said it before - but I'll say it again.  I love extended family sessions.  I love the fact that families are gathering along the shores of Lake Michigan to vacation together.  To eat meals together, explore a new area, take in the lake views, enjoy the late sunsets and just be together.  Cheers to this beautiful family and their time together.

 

UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY // FLORIDA KEYS // ISLAMORADA

 

Our Southern Road trip at the end of March took us all the way to the Keys for some diving.  If you follow along with us on Instagram you may have already seen some sneak peeks ;)  We found a perfect Airbnb in Islamorada and spent three days diving through Islamorada Dive Center.  It was a greatly needed getaway for us, with just the right blend of relaxation and adventure.  Below are a handful of our favorite shots.

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN WINTER // FILM PHOTOGRAPHY

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.

MENDOCINO CAMPING

This past weekend was my birthday weekend, so - surprise, surprise - my choice was to be outside exploring a new place.  Mike and I went up to Mendocino, CA. with his older brother, Pat, and fiance (also a Courtney).  We camped at Van Damme State Park, explored downtown Mendocino and the Mendocino Headlands, rented wooden outrigger canoes, paddled down Big River, and hit up North Coast Brewing Company.  It was pretty fantastic.

 
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Wilderness is not - and should not be - a past and vanishing force in life. It is, as far as anyone can see into the future in our rapidly changing and uncertain world, an abiding value.
— George Marshall
 
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Mike and I are also working on a short video about the trip, so stay tuned!  Feel free to subscribe!