Unleash Your Inner Explorer: The Upper Peninsula Photo and Video Contest

This is your chance to ditch the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. The Upper Peninsula beckons with rugged landscapes, pristine waters and endless adventure. We're searching for photographers with a fearless spirit and an eye for the extraordinary to capture the essence of the UP.

Fuel your wanderlust and share your photographic adventures. Did you discover a hidden waterfall cascading through ancient pines? Have you experienced the peace of paddling across a glassy Lake Superior at sunrise? Did you stumble upon a quaint town while traversing hidden trails? Show us the serenity found gazing at a starlit sky. 

We want to see the U.P. through your explorer lens. Embrace the spirit of exploration and show us why the UP ignites your sense of wonder.

Contest rules

  • Submissions are due by November 30, 2024, at 4 p.m. EST.
  • Submit as many photo or video entries as you want!
    • All submissions must be taken in the U.P. within the last two years during any season. Label the U.P. location of your photo/video in each submission. 
    • You must read and agree to the U.P. Travel Terms & Conditions before submitting your photos and videos.

What to submit

Each submission must meet these criteria: 

  • Your videos must be shot in 4k, but can be filmed horizontally or vertically.
  • Your photos must be at least 10" x 8" @ 300 dpi (3300 x 2550 pixels @ 300ppi) in size.
  • You must identify the U.P. location of your photo/video in each submission.
  • To keep voting anonymous, only submissions without a watermark will be accepted.

Contest judging 

  • UP Travel staff will narrow entries to the top three photos and top three videos.
  • Final votes from the public will determine first-, second- and third-place winners for both photos and videos.
  • Public voting on Facebook and Instagram will run after the contest ends, and we will announce the winners in late December.

Discover the types of photos and videos we’re looking for

Ditch the Scenery, Ignite the Adventure!

We love stunning landscapes, but what truly awakens the explorer in you?

Show us YOU! Kayaking, hiking, biking, conquering that peak - capture the joy of discovery.

Less postcard, more adventure story. See our gallery for inspiration, then grab your camera and get exploring! The world awaits.

Prizes you could win

Here is what you could win in either our photo or video contest! 


  • $150 in gift cards
  • Upper Peninsula merchandise
  • Featured and credited on:
    • Homepage of uptravel.com for the duration of the next season
    • Galleries across the uptravel.com website
    • E-newsletters
    • Social media platforms — posts and stories
    • Photo contest landing page featuring your biographical information


  • $100 in gift cards
  • Upper Peninsula merchandise
  • Featured and credited on:
    • Galleries across the uptravel.com website
    • Social media platforms — posts and stories
    • Photo contest landing page featuring your biographical information


  • $50 in gift cards
  • Upper Peninsula merchandise
  • Featured and credited on:
    • Galleries across the uptravel.com website
    • Social media platforms — posts and stories
    • Photo contest landing page featuring your biographical information

Submit your photos and videos now!

Click this collector below to submit as many photos and videos as you would like for your chance to be featured!

2023 Winter Video Contest Winners


Stephanie Bushey

Bio: My friend Megan, and I went on the ultimate winter road trip. As shown in the video, we drove all across the Upper Peninsula to check out as many unique winter destinations as we could. Any waterfall that was in the area, we added to the map. We had the trip of a lifetime, and so many funny stories live in between those scenic videos. I wanted to show the experience from a boots-on-the-ground approach. We lived the adventure, and the videos were an afterthought. I saw the contest and figured this is the best way to showcase how great the Upper Peninsula is in the winter time and how much fun can be had in the snow!

I love that there is an adventure around every corner in the Upper Peninsula. In the hotels, the restaurants, the state parks, hiking trails, etc. Anything you want to do, you can do in the UP. Having such a wide, scenic slate without heavy traffic or massive crowds is so liberating. It is the perfect getaway for anyone who wants to go of the grid for awhile.

Website | LinkedIn


Andrew Krzesinski

Bio: I entered this contest because going to the Upper Peninsula is one of my favorite things to do on the weekends from being from Illinois. There is endless sightseeing and activities to do from riding atvs to waterfall exploring to discovering copper country. All and all the U.P. is an outdoorsman playground.



Michael Joseph

Bio: I wanted to help showcase the beauty of the UP. This winter was very mild but I found beautiful ice formations around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. The UP is a unique place. A mixture of freshwater coastline, expansive forests, and meandering rivers. Rocky cliffs and mixed terrain dot the landscape. Small town America welcomes the traveler, while picturesque farms remind one of another time. This is a place without the frenetic interstate highways. A place where people still stop and leisurely chat with one another in the grocery store. The UP is place of placid continuity that is scarce in our modern world. In short, the UP still holds onto a sense of magic and majesty.

I have spent the last few years traveling around the United States working on my passion for photography and drone work. Always trying to find stunning landscapes and unique vistas. I spend my winters in the UP and am always surprised by what I find.

Instagram | Website

2023 Fall Contest Winners:

1st Place Photo:

Brett Leja

Bio: I entered this contest because one of my hobbies is exploring the outdoors and capturing nature's beauty. Michigan, my home state, has unique and awe-inspiring scenery that I wanted to showcase. I believe Michigan is at its best when fall colors are peaking. One of my bucket list items has always been to capture drone footage above the treetops in the UP during the fall; I was grateful to finally achieve that goal.

In addition to the fall foliage, there are many reasons why the UP is special. I love how the Mighty Mac serves as a gateway to an entirely different word, despite being in the same state. The UP is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise: beautiful waterfalls, rivers, beaches, hiking trails, biking trails, and more. Its remoteness offers a rare escape in the present day, facilitating a mental reset. This trip was extra special as I was able to share my love for Up North with my daughter and family.


Bond Falls

1st Place Video:

Niina Baum

Bio: I am a competitive dog musher who has been selected to Team USA and competed at world championships. One of my favorite activities is coming to the UP and exploring the trails with my dogs. I entered the contest to showcase a different way of enjoying the beautiful fall colors in the UP. I love how I can get away from it all in the UP. Lake Superior and the trails create a sense of endless peace.


Mountain biking in Copper Harbor

2nd Place Photo:

Michelle Lutke

Bio: I entered the contest because I love showcasing the beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. From the well known spots to the hidden gems, I explore and photograph them all.I love the rugged landscapes and waterscapes that surround us here. Every season is beautiful. Hiking, fishing, kayaking, waterfalls, the great lakes and so much more are all close by and accessible.

I fell in love with the upper peninsula 4 years ago, the first time I crossed the bridge from the lower peninsula. After 35+ trips since then, I finally took the plunge and moved here full time. I'm a huge outdoor recreation enthusiast, my main passions are hiking and photography. I recently moved to the Upper Peninsula with my boyfriend and our rescue dog Sisu. We are full time adventurers and photographers, exploring everything the UP has to offer.

Instagram | Facebook

Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

2nd Place Video:

Bryan Lopac

Bio: I entered this contest to share the fall colors from around the Upper Peninsula as I traveled to each county this past fall season. I love All of the natural beauty we’re surrounded by in the Upper Peninsula. My video was part of a fall project I called ‘Fall 15’. I visited and took fall pictures/video in every county in the Upper Peninsula this fall season.

Instagram | Facebook | Website

Fall color around the U.P.

3rd Place Photo:

Michael Joseph

Bio: I entered the contest because I find the UP to be a photographically challenging environment. Many people outside of Michigan are not too familiar with the Upper Peninsula. It is a great honor to be a part of this contest and to help showcase a stunning part of the country.

I believe that the UP is still relatively undiscovered. I have had nothing but good experiences with the people who live here. There is a remote quality to the UP that creates a sense of mystery and adventure that is often difficult to find in many places. The coastlines, rocky terrain, forests, and waterfalls mix to create one of the most intriguing places that I have ever been.

I spend my summers working in Montana but I always look forward to returning the UP for the Fall season. Fall is my favorite season anywhere, but it is definitely special in Michigan.


Sable Falls

3rd Place Video:

Sandra Johnson

Bio: I entered this contest because I love the UP, I grew up here and live here now. There is endless beauty that surrounds us everyday from the forest to the beautiful lakes here in the UP. I am also a photographer and I love sharing photos of our beautiful state.

What I love most about the UP is the changing of the seasons. I can not pick a favorite one because they are all so beautiful, especially winter.

I have been a photographer and videographer for over 20 years. I love sharing my photos with the world. We can learn from nature, how it survives in all types of conditions and taking photos is my way of preserving history, one click at a time.


Fall color tree tops

2023 Spring/Summer Contest Winners:

1st Place Photo:

Jenny Miner

Bio: I entered the contest because I love capturing the beauty that is the Upper Peninsula. I love so many things about the Upper Peninsula. There is no place in the midwest that is as serene, scenic, or wild as the UP. I love the rugged landscapes and waterscapes that surround us here. Every season is beautiful. Hiking, fishing, kayaking, waterfalls, the great lakes and so much more are all close by and accessible.

I would consider myself a "hobbyist" when it comes to photography. I love the outdoors and wildlife so most of my photographs reflect that. Observing the natural world is my favorite way to spend any day. Whether it's something as amazing as a moose or an eagle, or something as simple as a red squirrel harvesting pine cones, I am captivated! I was born and raised in north central Wisconsin. Over the years, my husband and I vacationed in different parts of the Upper Peninsula. About seven years ago we bought a very rustic camp near Big Bay and just over two years ago we decided to become full time residents of the Upper Peninsula and bought a little place in Au Train. We just love it here!


Northern Lights in Au Train

1st Place Video:

Jake Ring

Bio: I entered the contest because I've got a lot of great Upper Peninsula videos to share, including this one of Gabbro Falls at massive high flows. My favorite part about the UP is its rivers, creeks, lakes, and waterfalls. I love finding new waterfalls and am working toward finding 1000 waterfalls in the U.P.


Rushing Gabbro Falls

2nd Place Photo:

Miranda Iagnemma

Bio: I think that the rugged beauty of Michigans Upper Peninsula is so underrated when it comes to non Michiganders. Here in Michigan we know what the UP has to offer, it’s why many of us travel “up north” for relaxation as much as we can. I think a lot of non mitten folks know of places like Mackinac Island and Pictured Rocks. And while both locations are beyond stunning, as well as being two of my favorite destinations, I do love having the ability to travel to the lesser known awesome places and using social media platforms to showcase them to those who don’t even know they exist to begin with!

What I love about the UP is that while it’s a nature lovers dream, it also offers some quirky and fun things to do that are honestly not found anywhere else (look at Mackinac Island). There’s nothing quite like traveling north across that 5 mile long bridge, and knowing that endless amounts of beauty, yummy pasties, the very distinct yooper accent and limited cellphone service are all waiting for you.


Crisp Point

2nd Place Video:

Angel Maciel

Bio: I entered the contest because I have always been drawn to the beauty and serenity of the Upper Peninsula. Its natural landscapes and unique charm have captivated me for years, and I wanted to find a way to express my admiration for this incredible region. Additionally, the contest provided an opportunity for me to connect with others who share a similar appreciation for the Upper Peninsula's special qualities.

What I love most about the Upper Peninsula is its pristine and unspoiled natural environment. The vast forests, crystal-clear lakes, rugged coastlines, and serene wilderness areas offer endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and photography. The Upper Peninsula is a place where you can truly connect with nature, whether it's hiking through the forests, kayaking on Lake Superior, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the wilderness. It's a place I hope to one day call home.


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

3rd Place Photo:

Rachel Raak

Bio: I entered the contest in an attempt to show bits of God's beauty.What I love most about the Upper Peninsula is the outdoors and the community. So lucky to live 5 minutes to the trails and lake. I can and have hiked, mountain biked, sailing, and golfing all in one day. Also the community is amazing a lot of great friends.


Sunset at Sugarloaf in Marquette

3rd Place Video:

Taylor Crenshaw

Bio: I entered the contest because I was able to visit home for a week from Washington state and I made it my mission to go and take photos of my favorite places. Mainly I did this because I realized I never took pictures or videos of it before when I lived there and it was hard to show my new friends on the other side of the country how beautiful the U.P. is.

There are so many things I love about the U.P. I’m from there so it gives me that feeling of belonging that I haven’t felt anywhere else. Some of my favorite things about it are the seclusion and tranquility of it. It’s a place where you can really connect with nature and the environment. And speaking of the nature, the cliffs, beaches, and forests are unmatched in beauty, not to mention the bonus of the northern lights. People love to hate on the harsh winters there, but watching giant ice pancakes float off the shores of Lake Superior at sunset isn’t something you can find in very many places. The strong sense of community in the U.P. is something else I miss. It’s always a pleasure to meet other yoopers in my travels.


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore