Courtney and Michael are two very talented photographers at the Compass Points Here. They live in a cozy house in the woods with their orange tabby cat just outside of downtown Traverse City, Michigan. It was so awesome to connect with these two adventurers and capture a couples session in the woods. I was super excited when Courtney suggested that we photograph at one of her favorite hikes near her house. We explored the Brown Bridge Pond Quiet Area Trails and after hiking around a bit I was reminded just how rugged Michigan is with it’s expansive meadows and enormous pine trees. With all of the migratory birds gone and the hibernators asleep for the winter, the Brown Bridge Pond Quiet Area Trails really did earn it’s name. The forest was silent and we explored alone for the most part although we were greeted by a couple other friendly hikers and then Courtney spotted several deer across the meadow.

Courtney and Michael started out on the ridge trail on cross-country skis and I had a fun time chasing the two around and capturing action shots as they glided across the snow. Courtney and Michael are always cracking jokes and it wasn’t hard to capture lots of smiles. We stopped at an opening looking down at the winding creek below. It was another picturesque scene that reminded me just how dramatic and diverse the Michigan landscape can be. Courtney and Michael explained how the area used to be one big pond and it remained clear although you could still see giant tree stumps scattered throughout the area. Brown Bridge Quiet Area is a 1,310-acre preserve and the large expanse is the result of the removal of the Brown Bridge Dam. We ventured on foot along the ridge to capture the view and each of us had our near falls on the slippery slopes. Then we decided to put away the skis and explore where the Brown Bridge Pond used to be.

We started making our way down to what used to be the Brown Bridge Pond bed. I was happy to see light peaking through the enormous trees. I knew the sunset was going to be a good one. Courtney and Michael are from Michigan and the two told me a little bit about their eight years together, moving away to California and then coming back to their favorite state. We all agreed that Traverse City has some of the friendliest people in the country. Courtney and Michael have now happily lived in the Traverse City area for a few years. We wandered around the open expanse for a couple hours until the sun came down. I’m glad we stayed because these were some of my favorite photos. Thank you, Courtney and Michael for adventuring with me and showing me your favorite trail. I look forward to more adventures together!

Josh Hartman – Traverse City Wedding Photographer

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