Leah and Alex wanted something unique. Something different than the typical engagement session, a new way of showcasing their love on camera. We decided to do something that would capture the spontaneity, adventure, and candid nature of their story by embarking on a three day adventurous engagement session to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we would spend our time exploring the forests and coasts and documenting all the little moments on camera together…
We met up to start this adventurous engagement session in their hometown of Big Rapids, crossed the Mackinac Bridge into the town of St. Ignance, and stopped on the north edge of Lake Michigan where we were immediately greeted by bitter temps and cold winds despite the sunny weather. However, the chill of the surroundings only pushed Leah and Alex to snuggle up close, shelter each other from the cold, and share some intimate moments together. After leaving the coast, we spend the rest of the afternoon exploring trails, forging our own path to new locations before we wrapped up our day at a location that absolutely blew my mind. Hundreds of feet above the forest floor is a little rock outcropping that provides a 360º view of the surrounding woods with views of both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan on the horizon. The beauty of this location goes far beyond the aesthetic, though, as this location is the exact spot where Alex proposed to Leah months before! Also if I may just add, climbing a nearly vertical cliff with a camera in your hand and lenses on your back with merely a thin rope to ensure your footing holds is quite an exciting experience – but absolutely and completely worth it!!
The next morning we awoke to several inches of fresh snow on the ground and after stopping for lattes at a local cafe, we jumped in the car and headed up to the Kitch-iti-kipi hot springs, one of the most insanely gorgeous locations I’ve been able to photograph so far. Tall pines coated in fresh snow towered above the moss-covered forest floor while a light mist provided a moody atmosphere that felt like something straight out of a Disney movie. We may have walked away from this location completely soaked to the bone and shivering but the stunning moments we captured there remain to this day some of my favorites ever (and thank goodness for weather-sealed cameras!!).
To conclude our travels for the day, we headed towards the northern edge of Michigan…to the shores of Lake Superior. This coastline is renowned for huge winter waves and its overall otherworldly appearance and it did not disappoint. As we hiked from location to location it felt like we were exploring the coast of Iceland or the cliffs of northern Ireland. Massive waves crashed behind us as we climbed over mist-covered boulders while mangled driftwood provided a moody backdrop for the candid yet romantic intimacy of Leah and Alex’s beautiful love.
I’m forever thankful for couples like Leah and Alex who are willing to open their hearts, love, and lives to me and my camera and I will never forget the beautiful moments we were able to share on this amazing journey together.