Fall color is on its way to northern Michigan! As you drive the rolling hills of Old Mission Peninsula, cruise along M-22, or head toward downtown Traverse City for shopping and dinner, you'll see bright spots of red, orange, and gold in the trees. We're still about a week (two at most) from peak fall color, but a cooler week of weather promises a glorious coming soon. 

Amber sunlight and leaves changing color make fall in northern Michigan universally picturesque; almost as universal as fall's association with pumpkin spice lattes. But if you ask me what flavor imparts feelings of autumn in the Traverse City area, it's not always pumpkin related, instead it's fresh baked doughnuts and apple cider. 


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Anyone traveling to the Grand Traverse Region should not miss traveling to nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2011, it topped the list as the Most Beautiful Place in America by ABC’s "Good Morning America." And stunning it is, with its large mountains of sand contrasting the clear blue water of Lake Michigan and miles of sandy beaches.  

Many of us associate birds with springtime, but here’s a secret: fall is actually many local birders’ favorite season. Because there’s no real rush for birds to get to their wintering grounds—in contrast to spring’s mad dash to arrive and find a mate—fall migration is more drawn out, affording birders a better chance of seeing each southbound species.

And if you’re looking for a great region to break out those binoculars, look no further than northern Michigan. Our location at the intersection of the Mississippi and Atlantic flyways, our wealth of shoreline (which many birds tend to follow during migration), and our abundance of wetlands (important refueling sites) combine to make fall in NoMi one of the best birding experiences around.

The first hint of the winter season is always celebrated in northern Michigan with the epic Iceman Cometh Challenge. We love to cheer on the brave souls who race 30 miles through whatever Mother Nature throws at them: snow, wind, rain, and even the namesake ice. (Though, to be fair, every so often they do get a sunny day.) We love to see the mud splattered champions emerge from the woods, breathless but victorious. And boy to we love raising a glass of Bell's beer at the end of it all. 

Hands down, shooting proposals is one of my favorite things to do. I love the planning, the surprise, and the excitement of that special moment. I love capturing the smiles and happy tears. And I love having northern Michigan as the backdrop for it all.

In the decade I’ve been working as a professional photographer, I’ve come up with a few favorite spots to shoot proposals. These places combine romance with a beautiful outdoor setting to create perfect memories for couples. Let’s take a look!

Dynamic Variation: