Hart, Mackinaw City Featured in Winning Pure Michigan Photos

Release Date: 
Friday, December 9, 2016
Michelle Grinnell

LANSING, Mich. – Residents and fans of Michigan responded to Pure Michigan’s call to share their favorite hidden gems from across the state for the 5th Annual Pure Michigan Moments Photo Contest. More than 3,800 photos were submitted and 48,000 votes cast. The winning photos, one selected by juried vote and one selected by popular vote, feature Hart, Mich. and Mackinac City, Mich., respectively.

Juried Vote – Bill Reek, Muskegon, Mich.: Gales Pond in Hart. Reek had spent several days looking for great fall colors this October, when he received a recommendation from friend Karen Thomson to check out Gales Pond in Hart. “The beautiful, secluded park that greeted me was a complete surprise. I arrived to find brilliant colors and zero wind making for some great reflection possibilities,” Reek said. “I've been lucky enough to photograph a wide range of locations, but I am constantly reminded that the real beauty is right here in my state, often right in my own back yard.”

Reek’s photo was selected by a panel of judges from Travel Michigan and McCann Erickson for both the artistic and technical execution of the photograph as well as highlighting a hidden gem for travelers here in Michigan. The image will be included in the 2018 Pure Michigan calendar and Reek will receive a prize package from the Pure Michigan store.

Public Vote – Michael Walsh, Dexter, Mich.: Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground. Walsh snapped this candid moment of his daughter on Father’s Day, 2016. “She, along with her other two sisters were just wading around, when I caught her looking through the clear water to the lake bottom in a complete relaxed nature so I grabbed my phone and took the shot,” Walsh said. “This photo is very meaningful to me because it is a reminder to me, who can be pretty rigid a lot of the time, to just lay back and let life happen. Especially for my kids.”

Walsh began visiting Mackinaw Mill Creek Campground with his parents when he was younger, and today enjoys the destination with his own wife and kids.

Walsh’s photo, which received more than 4,000 votes, will be featured across Pure Michigan social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. He will also receive a prize package from the Pure Michigan store. Three runners up in the public vote also received $25 gift cards to the Pure Michigan store. They were as follows:

Maggie Wilk, Farmington Hills, Mich.: Northern Lights in Charlevoix (3,957 votes)
Sean Chess, Coldwater, Mich.: Cut River Bridge on Highway 2 in the Upper Peninsula (2,970 votes)
Karen Murphy, Harbor Beach, Mich.: Sunrise at Harbor Beach on Lake Huron (2,823 votes) 

“This photo contest is about more than the incredible images we receive, it is also about the stories and the memories that are shared along with those photos,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “Thank you to everyone who shared their experiences and photos of Michigan and helped to inspire future travels to and around the state as a result.”

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit: michiganbusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org.

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