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AN EXTENDED FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION IN CHARLEVOIX // NORTHERN MICHIGAN VACATION PHOTOGRAPHER

 

I’m loving the number of family sessions that I’ve been doing this Summer! I’m here for it. It doesn’t have to take up a ton of time - it can be a quick, uncomplicated shoot at a vacation rental. Memories I made with my own family as a kid during our time “up north” are full of nostalgia and have honestly influenced my life enormously (including moving up here full time). So I’m beyond happy that I can capture and preserve these memories for other families. Like the seasons, time is fleeting - it’s so cliche but true. Document these times together because they go by so fast. Thanks for inviting me you guys!

 

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!

 

THE RUBIN FAMILY // A SUMMER FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION ON THE BEACH IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN

 

The longer I have been a wedding photographer, the more I have come to realize that I’m really here for the marriage. I’ve talked about this many times, but as much as I love the details and the party and the flowers, I love the couple more. I love that they’re making an enormous commitment to each other. I love their relationship with their family and friends. I love that they’re saying “yep, I realize that we both have flaws but we’re gonna stick together on this ride”. I just love that I get to play a small part in capturing that. And ya wanna know the best part of reframing my job as a “marriage photographer”? I get to work with people for years. Sometimes I get the privilege of being asked to photograph their life again. At a sibling's wedding. For an updated couples session. Or for a baby. Kathy & Simon, I am SO happy that I got to see you and meet sweet Brian. This session made my heart so happy - I am very grateful. Cheers to this random Tuesday!

 

SUMMER CAMPING WITH FRIENDS IN NORTHERN MICHIGAN // FROM THE ARCHIVES

 

If you are really, really, lucky you will have a couple friends who have been there for your whole life. Who you played power rangers with. Who you spent months with in the summer living out of your bathing suits and throwing fishing lines over the side of old pontoon boats. They grew up with you and witnessed your adolescent shenanigans and still love you. They aggressively rooted for college sports with you. And then when everyone had graduated from college and moved onto other adventures, and moved long distances, there was always that phone call, that random text, that email, just checking in. I’m so so grateful to have a couple of these people in my life, and now we’re all “grown up” and either married or about to be married.

Even though we don’t always see each other as much as we might like, when we are together it’s pretty special. Last Summer we found one weekend that worked for all of our schedules. We went camping and made meals over the fire. We passed around bottles of beer and bubbly. We ate snacks on the beach and fell asleep in the sand. I almost got hit in the face with a frisbee - instead I ended up with a welt on my collarbone. We all laughed so hard we cried. We took a kayak out into Lake Michigan and the early Summer water was crystal clear. We watched the sunset and then made our way back to the fire. The best part? We were unplugged. If you only have a couple days out of the year to spend uninterrupted with some of your favorite people, I highly, highly, recommend doing something like this. Find a place where your phones don’t work - it will be great.

 

THE DONAHUE & LOVE FAMILY // OLD MISSION PENINSULA FAMILY PORTRAITS

 

Leslie & Bob are former wedding clients of ours and so I was super excited to hear from Leslie about a family trip they had planned in Northern Michigan!  They were coming up north with her brother and sister-in-law whose baby was born within months of their new little one.  Bob also proposed to Leslie at the Old Mission Lighthouse, so that made these photos extra special.  What a sweet time for this family.  I was honored to capture some shots for them!

 

KAREN & ROD // WEDDING PREVIEW // BAY HARBOR

Standing on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan photographing a small intimate wedding with just eight people in attendance (including myself and the officiant) is something pretty special.  It is a true privilege to capture such important memories, but there is a unique difference when you are witnessing such a private ceremony.  It is kind of hard to explain, but it somehow feels more casual and more significant at the same time.  Karen and Rod, it was a true pleasure meeting you and witnessing this moment. 

 
 

PETOSKEY FAMILY PORTRAITS

Extended family portrait sessions are the best.  I love when grandparents, kids and grandkids are all hanging out together enjoying a Northern Michigan summer.  Wildflowers, toads, suckers, play dough pancakes, kites, waves, and dune jumping all made an appearance with a lot of love mixed in.

 
 

THE MARTENS // FAMILY PORTRAITS // BOYNE CITY

The Martens are close family friends and I love being able to capture moments like this as Grace grows!  The spontaneous, in-between moments of sessions like this are the best.  It's not always easy to get a two year old to follow instructions perfectly and look directly into the camera with a sweet smile, but honestly most parents I have worked with wouldn't call that typical toddler behavior.  Who wants to do that when there are snacks, playgrounds, the beach, and dandelions?  I hope these shots genuinely reflect the beautifully curious, goofy, and cautiously independent two-year-old Grace.  Cheers to childhood!  xoxo

 
 

MICHAEL & LAUREN // CHARLEVOIX ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY // PREVIEW

I met up with Michael and Lauren for their engagement session in the village of Norwood - just south of Charlevoix.  Norwood is where Lauren grew up and her parents and grandparents still live there.  While waiting for the sun to set a bit more before heading to the beach, we actually stopped at her grandparents' amazing and historic home.  The house was built in the 1860's and when I showed interest, her grandmother was more than happy to take me on a little home and garden tour - seriously my job is the best, and it is definitely never boring.  I love old homes and I love photographing people in places that have such great nostalgia and sentimental value.  Michael and Lauren are seriously sweethearts - it was truly a pleasure to take these shots!  And, for the first time, I have a grandmother making an appearance in an engagement session blog post.  Love. Love. Love.

 
 

ALECIA & MICHAEL // TRAVERSE CITY ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY // PREVIEW

The light, the fields, the trees, the beach, the pier, the water, the cute pup and the even cuter couple.  Yup - All the elements came together magically for Alecia and Mike's engagement session.  So happy to be working with these two!  Congrats!

 
 

ELIZABETH: NORTHERN MICHIGAN BEACH PORTRAITS

Frankfort Michigan during the Fourth of July weekend is pretty magical.  Gorgeous beaches, sand dunes, crystal clear blue water, beautiful tree lined neighborhoods, and a main street packed with visitors awaiting the fireworks... which, by the way, may have been the best fireworks I have ever seen.  I also had the pleasure of fitting in a quick portrait session with three siblings: Elizabeth, Joe, and Thomas.  Elizabeth hadn't taken her senior portraits yet, so that was our main focus, and I honestly think they are stunning.

 
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SURF SMELT FISHING

As a part of my ongoing project documenting sustainable seafood in the SF bay area, I recently photographed two fishermen, Mike and Kirk, fishing for Two x Sea.  They are using toss nets to catch surf smelt which are found along the coast from Southern California to Alaska.  The older man with the yellow jacket was there fishing with his grandson.  Looking through the photos I'm regreting that I didn't get his name or contact information to show him these shots... just maybe I can catch him out there again.

 
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NEW LANDSCAPE

Another long pause on the blog... apologies!  I have been working on a number of projects, personal and otherwise.  One of those includes updating my landscape portfolio and adding another portfolio which should be up soon!  As I looked through images from this last year I found this landscape from China Camp State Park and a seascape from Point Reyes that I took a couple months ago during a long, but gorgeous, 11.5 mile hike... Thought I would post them now.

 
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ASSATEAGUE ISLAND

After only a week back in Michigan, I headed to the east coast for my cousin Pete's wedding.  After the wedding, my family went camping on Assateague Island in Maryland.  Although I think the images look peaceful and calm, they don't do justice to the ridiculous heat we dealt with during our time there!  The heat was so intense and overpowering.  My toenail polish actually began to melt.  I LOVE camping, but even I was getting a little exhausted by our shade-less site.  To distract us from the heat, and because my dad and Uncle Ron need to go fishing everywhere we go, we also learned how to fish for blue crabs using chicken necks.  It ended up being a highlight of the trip, we had a blast.  Thankfully we are all looking back on everything with laughter now... and I am happy that I came away from the experience with pictures I am truly happy with.

 
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FLORIDA

I was able to briefly visit family and friends in Florida a couple weeks ago.  Most of the time was spent on the beach, hanging out, fishing, reading, and enjoying a few drinks.  I will be returning to Florida in June to work as the OWUSS Sport Diver Magazine publishing intern for 2011.  I'm very excited about the opportunity and you will be able to see more work from Florida in the months to come.

 
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POINT REYES

Yesterday on my day off Mike and I were finally able to go hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore.  It was absolutely amazing.  We walked along the coast trail to the beach, walked along the beach for about 2 miles and then picked up the fire lane trail back to our car.  It was a fun day of exploring.  We saw rabbits, a fox, and this raven which I photographed for a while and then left alone.  As we continued our walk I turned around to find the raven following us.  It was clearly curious and I wish I had a different lens because I was able to get ridiculously close to this bird.  The experience reminded me of an article I read in Time Magazine, called, "Inside the Minds of Animals".

 
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