If I have clients as fun loving and awesome as Sarah and Travis for the rest of my days I will be one happy camper. They brought a 6 pack of Stella, their crazy lovable pup (also named Stella), and multiple hat options to their engagement session. We hiked the Empire Bluff Trail and headed down to the beach where the ice formations were just unbelievable! It was brutally cold, but the sun came out giving us some gorgeous light to work with. I certainly can’t complain. Cheers to Sarah & Travis!
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!
Last week Ray and Mike headed to Northern Michigan for a little getaway and I was thrilled that the timing worked out so that I could join them for a photo session! The weather, as always, was unpredictable and we ended up with a cold day that felt absolutely frigid the moment the wind touched you. When I stepped out of my car at the beach in Glen Haven, the wind was whipping up huge icy blue waves and I was a bit worried. Despite conditions that make you want to curl up on the couch under a blanket, Ray and Mike were absolutely up for the adventure. Those blues of Lake Michigan came through, we walked through green forests with fat snowflakes coming down, and explored the vast expanse of sand at the dune climb - Northern Michigan’s color palette really came through for us. But the most important part was, of course, Ray and Mike. Their sense of humor and laughter was contagious. We were chatting and laughing as we walked down trails and hopped back in cars to warm up. Their smiles stole the show and I had an absolute blast. Thank you Ray and Mike for an awesome 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!
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.
These beautiful women will be celebrating their love in Northern Michigan next October when they get married and I seriously can't wait! To celebrate their engagement, we took some photos around Old Mission Peninsula last weekend.
It feels like Spring has come early here in Northern Michigan, so finding patches of snow to make the landscape look 'Wintery' was actually a challenge. We ended up exploring some cool ice formations along the bay and discovered how beautiful grape vines and orchards can be even without any foliage. Just when I think that the seasons might be too in-between to look beautiful, that the scenery will be to drab to photograph well, I'm always reminded otherwise. I'm so happy that Stef and Jess were excited and up for the adventure!
Winter weddings are kind of a novelty for us. A rare gem. We don't get very many inquiries for them, but I'm hoping that more people will start to seriously consider getting married at this time of year. The sky and the lake were bright blue. Despite a warm up that melted most of our snow pack, the remaining cover was bright white and dramatic. And these two. I can't express enough just how much we loved working with them.
I'll share one story before I let the photos tell the rest: While Kathy was dancing with her dad at the end of this amazing day, I looked over to see her mom tearing up. Simon came over to stand next to her and give her a hug. Pretty soon Kathy's maid of honor came over and ended up crying right alongside her mom. Then another bridesmaid... then an aunt. Before they knew it they were all laughing at the fact that they were all crying. Their arms were wrapped around each others shoulders as they cried and laughed and cheered. That combination of intense emotions - the joy, the nostalgia, the sheer happiness of gathering with all of your favorite people - those are the things that make me absolutely love this job.
Event Planning, Design, Coordination & Styling: Every Little Detail // Prep & portraits: The Inn at Bay Harbor // Venue: The Bay Harbor Yacht Club // Hair & Makeup: OnSite Bridal // Favors: A Signature Welcome // Floral: Stems & Sprigs // Stationary: Silver Fox Calligraphy // Rentals & Decor: 307 Events, Gigi and LaClede, Special Occasions West, Taylor Rental // Entertainment: Simone Vitale Band // Photobooth: Motion Booth // Dessert: Simply Sweet by Jessica // Transportation: Blue Lakes By The Bay // Accomodation: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Petoskey // Videography: US! (Stay Tuned) // Photo Assistant: Chelsey Granger // Video Assistant: Sawyer Harris
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.
We have had some ridiculously unusual weather here in Northern Michigan. 50+ degrees in February is bonkers. But a definite upside to all of this sunshine is the glowing light and bright snow during engagement sessions! Kathy and Simon wanted an outdoorsy session that would include their pups - love it. I had a blast and we can't wait for their Winter wedding next year!
It's April. It's snowing. There is a part of me that thinks - this sucks, I can't wait for Spring to actually be here - but then the other part of me realizes that this will be the last time for many months that I will be able to stand quietly in the woods while the snow falls around me. I love living in a place that has seasons. It's pretty magical.
Coldest engagement session completed so far goes to Claire and Garrett! Despite an epic blizzard the day before, and brutal temperatures, we were still able to take photos around the wonderful Traverse City Commons and I'm so glad we did.