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.


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.


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.”


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.

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“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.


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.

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“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.”


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

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“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?

Fifteen Pure Michigan Moments To Inspire Your Next Getaway

Another successful Pure Michigan Moments photo contest is in the books. This year, a record 4,000 photos were submitted! We were absolutely blown away by the number of images that truly captured the beauty and character of Pure Michigan. These 15 awe-inspiring Pure Michigan moments are reason enough to pack your bags and make a trip to the Mitten State. 

To view all of the submissions from this year’s contest, visit

Congratulations to our winning photographer, Ryan Zeller! We love this wintry sunrise taken in Lexington, MI. Read about Ryan’s winning entry here.

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Amazing sunset at Pere Marquette Beach in Muskegon, MI. Photo by Joe Gee

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Turnip Rock in Port Austin. Photo by Shalee Blackmer.


AuSable River near Oscoda. Photo by Steve Femminineo.


South Haven, MI. Photo by Pete Shannon.

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Rise and shine on Douglas Lake. Photo by Michael Tokarz.

Michael Tokarz

Lake Michigan wave action at McGulpin Point. Photo by Linda Sorensen.


Michigan love at Rosy Mound Natural Area. Photo by Dane Vermeulen.

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Manistique, MI. Photo by Carly Maas.


Grand Rapids, MI. Photo by Amy Kopec.


Backpacking in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by Gary McCormick.


The Presque Isle River on a fall morning. Porcupine Mountains State Park, Ontonagon, MI. Photo by Brad Terry.

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Hickory Corners, MI. Photo by Joey Stap.

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Loving the sand at Sleeping Bear Dunes. Photo by Deb Oung.


Wagner Falls near Munising. Photo by Paul Schrader.


Do you have a Pure Michigan moment to share? Tag it with #PureMichigan on Instagram or Twitter or post it to our Pure Michigan Facebook page!

Have an Eye for Pure Michigan Moments? Enter Our 2014 Photo Contest!

PureMI_PhotoContest3rd_FB_470x470Last year, our fans submitted some absolutely breathtaking photos for the 2nd annual Pure Michigan Memories Photo Contest. Since we had such a great turn out, we’re excited to once again invite fans to share their favorite “Pure Michigan Moment” as part of the 3rd Annual Pure Michigan Moments photo contest!

The winning photo and the photographer’s name will be published in a 2015 Pure Michigan Travel Guide and featured as Pure Michigan’s Facebook cover photo for one week. The photo submission period of the contest kicks off today (October 30, 2014) and will run through November 7, 2014.

After entries are submitted, anyone can vote for their favorite photo on from November 8, 2014 – November 14, 2014.

Participants can submit photos directly to the Pure Michigan Moments gallery on, or through Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #PureMichigan #PMContest2014. All submissions will be displayed on the gallery on, where visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite photos.

Carla-White-Photo-300x300The winner will be chosen from the top 10 photos, as voted on by fans, based on which photo best represents the quality and character of Pure Michigan. The winning photo will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people in a 2015 Pure Michigan Travel Guide.

For inspiration, here is last year’s winning photo of Lake Superior near Christmas, MI  by Carla White. For more, visit our Pure Michigan Facebook page, Instagram, or Flickr channels.

Head over to to learn more and start submitting your photos today!