These Winning Photos Capture The Beauty & Majesty of Michigan

From Lake Michigan’s sandy beaches to sunsets in Detroit, Michigan residents often find an opportunity to capture a “Pure Michigan moment” through the lens of a camera.

To give photographers a chance to share their love of Michigan with the world, the Pure Michigan Moments Photo Contest was created.  Four winners, one for each season, have been selected from the top 10 entries that received the most votes from the Pure Michigan community. In all, there were 8,924 submissions from photographers who shared their images on social media using the hash tags, #PureMichigan and #PMcontest2015.

The winners will have their photos and names published in a 2016 Pure Michigan Travel Guide and receive merchandise from the Pure Michigan store.

WINTER:

Brenda Martin of Ortonville, who took the photo while on a family trip to the Upper during the Thanksgiving holiday, called it an honor to have her photo selected.

brenda

It was while in Eagle Harbor that Martin said she noticed how well the snow, sky, a lighthouse and Lake Superior looked and decided to capture it all on film.

“When I entered the contest, after several family members and friends shared it to my Facebook page, I thought maybe I had a chance because everything is special about this photo, all the right elements are there,” she said. “But, to actually be selected as the winner, is an absolute honor. Pure Michigan gives photographers of all skill levels the opportunity to showcase their beautiful photos of this great state we live in, and there certainly was no shortage of beautiful photos in this contest.”

SPRING

Suellen Gause of Dowagiac was shopping with a friend in Benton Harbor when she decided to stop at Rocky Gap Park to see Lake Michigan.

Pure Michigan Moments_Spring

“It was one of those days when the sun was bright, the sky was blue and the lake was gorgeous,” Gause said. “It was a weekday afternoon, so only a few people were parked there taking in the view.  I took several shots of the shoreline and open water, feeling fortunate to have been there on such a perfect spring day.”

The photo is especially important to Gause because Lake Michigan is 40 minutes from Dowagiac where she was born and raised.

“Those Lake Michigan beaches have been the site of many family picnics and sight-seeing trips from the time I was a small child,” she said.

SUMMER:

Evans Tasiopoulos of St. Clair Shores was on Belle Isle the week before Labor Day when he snapped his winning photograph of the James Scott Memorial Fountain.

Pure Michigan Moments_Summer

“The 90-year-old fountain, especially at night, always fills me with such awe and wonder,” Tasiopoulos said. “When all lit up, to me, the fountain becomes a living and breathing entity. It has seen the many changes throughout Detroit’s history. I always find myself drawn in to spend a little time listening to all of its stories.”

FALL

Kristy Ratcliffe of Flat Rock was visiting Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise with her family and a friend when she photographed her winning picture.

Pure Michigan Moments_Fall

“My family and I have been there many times before but never in the fall,” she said. “Our friend, Danielle, had never been across the Mackinac Bridge so we convinced her to join us. We have camped all across the country but the U.P. is still our favorite place to be.  There is nowhere else like it.  It makes me so happy to share the beauty of our state with the ones that I love.”

Which photo is your favorite from this year’s photo contest?

States Parks to Visit This Season to see Breathtaking Fall Foliage

Autumn colors are now in their peak and provide awe-inspiring views all around the Great Lakes state. Whether you’re planning a fall color drive or want to explore the breathtaking views on foot, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the season. We put together a list of a few state parks to enjoy the breathtaking views.

Hartwick Pines State Park
Hartwick Pines is one of the largest state parks in Michigan’s lower peninsula. You can climb the rolling hills to overlook the AuSable River and explore the forest of Old Growth Pines. Also, make sure to make a pit stop at the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum, which is about a 1/4 mile walk from the visitor center. The unique history is worth the extra steps!

Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Tahquamenon Falls State Park stretches over 13 miles and offers amazing sights all year long, but is especially magnificent in the fall. Most famous are the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The Upper Falls have a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. Four miles downstream are the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island.  There are more than 40 miles of hiking trails, 13 inland lakes, 24 miles of the Tahquamenon River and approximately 20,000 acres of natural area, which provides plenty of space to explore.

Tahquamenon Falls - Photo courtesy of @visitthesault

Tahquamenon Falls – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @visitthesault

Silver Lake Sand Dunes State Park 
Embark almost 3,000-acres along the Lake Michigan shoreline. This area includes both dune country and acres of mature forest. One of the park’s biggest draws is the 450-acre off-road vehicle area, so hop on and start exploring the orange, yellow and red stunning leaves.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
This Upper Peninsula gem provides towering timbers, secluded lakes and miles of wild rivers and streams covering 60,000 acres. Explore 90 miles of foot trails and camp on the shore of Lake Superior to enjoy sunsets from your site. The North Country Trail includes 23 miles within the state park and rugged trails to conquer on a mountain bike. Take in the scenic vistas, waterfalls and old growth forest. It is designated as an official Michigan Wildlife Viewing Area for its various wildlife and can’t miss views.

Porcupine Mountains - Photo courtesy of @ryandjohnson

Porcupine Mountains – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @ryandjohnson

Seven Lakes State Park
Located in Southeast Michigan, Seven Lakes State Park offers an endless variety of topography and ecosystems form the area called Seven Lakes. Its land has a combination of farmland, rolling hills and forests. About 230 acres of water with several miles of shoreline await the park user.

Isle Royale National Park 
Isle Royale is truly unique as it can only be accessed by boat or float plane. The combination of its protected isolation, wilderness value and natural beauty provides an ideal habitat for an assortment of wildlife. You can explore a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you’ll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Isle Royale - Photo courtesy of @adventureguyphoto

Isle Royale – Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @adventureguyphoto

Which of these state parks have you visited?

Five Incredible Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from September 2015

As summer turned to fall, the unmistakable sights, sounds and smells of the new season came into full effect. With cooler weather and the kickoff of apple orchard & cider mill season, our fans were eager to capture the beauty of the season in Michigan. Here are just a few stand-out Instagram fan photos from September.

A road trip through Michigan’s foliage is just what we need. Photo courtesy of @candy.mittentripper.

Photo courtesy of @candy.mittentripper

We love how Pure Michigan paths are painted with beautiful colors this season. Photo courtesy of @snaphappygalphotography.

Fall

A breathtaking sunrise on Isle Royale. Photo courtesy of @adventureguyphoto.

Royale

Even though the weather is getting cooler, it’s still great to get out on the water this autumn. Photo courtesy of @squirrelman2340.

Water

There are many ways to enjoy the changing fall colors and walks are one of our favorites. Photo courtesy of @songbird.pics.

Path

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @PureMichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to “re-gram.”