Posts By Vanessa Simpson

Five on Five – April

And, here we are again. All the way into May, which means I get to share with you my favorite shots from April.
I have continued the daily practice of shooting an instax a day. There is something so satisfying and challenging about working with this film camera. I have really started to understand the settings, how the lens and film react in various situations and how to push it just a little bit further to get what I am after. There have definitely been days/weeks where I am beyond thrilled with the results, and then others where I am frustrated and disappointed in the images. Pushing myself, being okay with failing- it’s the practice – and i am so glad I jumped into the new year with this challenge.
The iPhone is always there as well. Handy and quick. I can snap those every day moments of the kids, of my food, of the city. Capturing childhood and the moments between my babies together and apart, it keeps me sane. It fills me up. I love having a visual document of  our adventures as well as our slow days around the house.
Don’t forget, when you are done rolling through my images for April to click on through to Small Roots to see what Adriana’s April looked like!

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Sister houses
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burger and a shake
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Dinner and drinks
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Fifi and the walrus
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food not lawns

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Five on Five – February 2017

On the fifth day of each month, I get together with a group of talented female photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month. It’s a blog circle! Make sure to follow the link and head over to Adriana’s blog when you are done seeing what February was like over here.I did two really fun sessions last month. One was a family session with an adorable family. We traveled out to the summer camp where they met as camp counselors. It was really fun to have them take me around camp and photograph them with there little dude. I love when clients pick locations with such special meaning.The other session I did is for a new blog article I am writing for Experience Tacoma. The article is called, Take Five. This is such a fun chance for me to get to know more people and places in the community and a great excuse to pull out my camera.I had the great honor of sitting for the amazing Catherine Just and her “Breathing Camera” (that’s what I call this 4×5 beauty). Catherine has been traveling all over the world for her Capturing Breath on Film project, if you have a chance to participate it is an incredible experience. One I am still processing and watching unfold in my own life. It is part portrait session, part prayer, part magic. And finally, a little film photography of my own… I have been continuing on with my 365 Rectangles project, I love this black and white shot I took of my husband and his birthday cake.

Keep chasing that light my friends!

Vanessa

Five on Five – Januarys 2017

On the fifth day of each month, I get together with a group of talented female photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month.
It’s a blog circle!
Make sure to follow the link and head over to Adriana’s blog when you are done here.

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January was a roller coaster. But there have been a few constants in my every day that I not only am loving, but looking to as a way to keep my mind at ease. One has nothing to do with photography. I have been getting up every morning and practicing yoga or meditating for 10-30 minutes. I found an app called Cody and it’s been a game changer – I should stop right there and say I have no affiliation with this app, other than it has been a key in helping me solidify a daily practice. Something that has eluded me ever since I stepped on  my mat 12 years ago. The other constant has everything to do with photography. I decided to take on a 365 this year (again) but this year I would use my Fuji Instax-mini 90 to do the job. A challenge, a test in patience and in failing so I can learn and strengthen my composition skills and better understand the limits of this little camera. I thought I would share five of my favorite images so far from this series. If you want to see the whole body of work so far, and follow along as it unfolds, check out @365_rectangles on Instagram.


Playing with lower light. I love that this looks like a double exposure and that you can see the transition from being serious to silly.
The world is your playground. Taken during a day out exploring down town Tacoma with friends. 
Date night. Our friend Nick pulls beers at a favorite haunt. 
Morning on the Foss Waterway. Sometimes, I am late to work because it’s just too pretty outside to go indoors. This was one of those mornings. 
Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma. This is next door to my favorite Pho spot. I have loved this signage since the first time I drove along this street (and oh how I wish this place was still open so I could drop off my rolls of film!)

 

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Lydia & Aaron – A Seattle Wedding Day

The day started quiet and rainy, fairly typical for November in Seattle. There was fog hugging the Seattle skyline as I drove into the city from Tacoma. When I arrived Lydia and Aaron’s condo, there was soft even light streaming in through the windows. While scouting a spot to take detail photos upstairs, I woke their old cat who gave me a grouchy meow. As the knocks on the door began, the house started to fill with the excitement and love of dear friends and family. Girlfriends gathered in the kitchen, Lydia’s mom popped champagne, and they all toasted the day as the bride emerged from getting her hair and makeup done. As Lydia slipped into her dress and shoes, and finally her grandmother’s mink stole, there were oohs and ahhhs, giggles and tears. I love this part of the wedding day. The intimate bonding and the support as the couple readies for the walk down the isle.
lydiaaaronwebready_fip-4-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-10-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-17-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-11-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-26-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-22-of-622_stomped lydiaaaronwebready_fip-58-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-59-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-38-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-68-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-74-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-72-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-76-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-82-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-90-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-88-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-91-of-622An umbrella was found, a ride was called and a meeting point declared. I found Aaron and his family at the King Street Station in downtown Seattle waiting for me in the old high back benches of the depot. We shot a few groom photos and we prepared for the first look. The fog had turned to light rain. The King Street Station has gone under some gorgeous restoration recently and the station is worth a stop and wander. lydiaaaronwebready_fip-137-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-141-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-142-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-143-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-144-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-145-of-622lydiaaaronwebready_fip-153-of-622We piled back into the cars and got a cup of coffee to warm us up as we headed to the venue for the day- Zoe Event is an intimate restaurant/bar event space located in the Capital Hill District. The staff is amazing, and the food delicious. There were plenty of little details for me to capture as staff set up and we waited for guests to  arrive. Lydia’s mother grew several containers of succulents for the occasion, and (lucky me), Lydia had hired one of the most talented floral designers in the city. I loved getting to watch Sara Jane of THATCH work her magic.  lydiaaaronwebready_fip-277-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-427-of-622_stompedlydiaaaronwebready_fip-285-of-622_stomped

From there things got to be a bit of a blur… Guests arrived, drinks were poured, the room filled with laughter and hugs and music. The vows were short and sweet (and included a reading from the book, I Like You.)

I like you because
I don’t know why but
Everything that happens
Is nicer with you

I can’t remember when I didn’t like you

They signed their paper work to make it official in a little upstairs room, and took a few minutes alone together  before heading downstairs for the party. Meanwhile, their guests were fed amazing appetizers and drinks downstairs. 
The toasts were full of funny stories and teasing, as many are. But there was also a thread of admiration for the couple and all their hard work and determination to fulfill goals and make a difference. The first dance was sweet and then, silly and filled the room as the party got underway!FocusInPhotography (2 of 3)FocusInPhotography (3 of 3)

Lydia and Aaron, I loved that we have ties to Reno, but have found a home in the Pacific Northwest. I love how you two laugh and make each other smile. Thank you for including me in your day. Thank you for trusting me to document this new beginning.  It was truly an honor to be a witness.

Wishing you both a long and happy life together,

Vanessa

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Huge shout out to all the amazing vendors that I got to work with:

Hair and Makeup: Salon Maison

Florals: Thatch Floral

DJ: Magnolia Rhapsody

Location & Catering: Zoe Restaurant

And so, We Marched

Yesterday, like so many others, I marched. I could have gone north to Seattle and joined the 120-130K that showed up there (WAY TO GO SEATTLE!!), but I decided to go south. I headed to the state’s capitol of Olympia where I marched with 10,000+ other people. I got lost in a see of pink hats and rain jackets and it was powerful and beautiful.

Here is what I was a part of…. 
I sang, I walked, I wore my pussy hat, and a t-shirt with an image of Princess Leia and the words, “A woman’s place is in the resistance”. I watched as people helped one another pin buttons, make last minute signs, locate a lost friend. I read sign after sign after amazing sing that made me laugh, made me think, and made my heart fill with hope. I am NOT alone in this fight- I am far from alone!

And now I wondering (and maybe you are too), NOW WHAT??

We MARCHED, we showed up. And that is super duper awesome sauce, but yesterday was just the BEGINNING.

It was the warm up. It was the first step in our metaphorical couch to 5K (more like couch to infinity and beyond) and I am not quite sure what my training plan needs to be. How are we going to continue to flex our peaceful muscles and show that we are NOT going to be QUIET. it’s time to, as J-Lo says, “LET’S GET LOUD”!

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I have been doing some research and happen to have an amazing band of woman on line who have been passing along links and ideas and plans. I thought I would share them with you if you are also in search of your, Now What? If you have links and ideas to share on how to carry the momentum and the energy forward, I ask you to share with me (us) here in the comments!! Ready? here ya go….

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  • Keep showing up (again, and again, and again, and again) – Gang, if you are a local Tacoma or Seattle person you probably know about the “Sonics Guy”. Kris is THE biggest Seattle Sonics fan you have ever met and he has been sporting his Sonics gear, carrying a sign and BELIEVING in his cause (to bring home the Sonics) for a very long time. I loved his open letter yesterday that he posted on twitter. While the movement we are in might not have a uniform (other than our pussy hats) that we can wear everyday, what Kris says is important, “KEEP SHOWING UP”!
  • Take Action – if you aren’t sure how, here ya go.
  • Get involved – here is a good page for that and so is this one
  • Gather – get together with others. Create art, create good food. Create good conversation and a local action plan – if you can’t find what you are looking for in your community, this is YOUR answer! YOU need to make what you need, fill that gap!

Keep chasing that light and – FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

Vanessa

Five on Five – December 2106

I didn’t really pull together any “best ofs” this year, I didn’t do a year in review. Heck, I haven’t even blogged my final wedding or the four family sessions I have done since November. But, I am not missing the regularly scheduled five on five blog that I do each month. (and maybe, just maybe I will find some words to share about all those amazing clients I have had in the past couple of months while I am out here writing!)

Here’s the deal – on the fifth day of each month, I get together (virtual – maybe one day we all will be in one spot!) with a group of photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month.

It’s a blog circle!

Make sure to follow the link at the bottom of this post, and head over to Adriana’s blog next!

……..

The kids were invited to a friend’s birthday party at the very cool shop called, Tinkertopia. It’s arguably one of my favorite shops in town and it’s super fun that they have “tinker” parties for the kids to build and create with all recycled or up-cycled items. I love all the creations hanging and displayed around the store.  I spent my birthday weekend in Seattle. I was thrilled to have good friends up from Reno and we had a really fun time. If you have ever been to Pike Market, there is a very good chance you have seen and heard this piano player, Jonny Hahn. He rolls that piano up and down the hill every time he plays. I am not going to lie, hearing him play brought me to tears. I don’t really know what it was- but the pure dedication to doing something that he loves for almost three decades- it’s tear worthy. (and if you would like to learn a little bit more about him, this is a good listen) A self portrait on the morning of my birthday. (I swear I was happy, I was just tired and also coming down with a cold – that I still have, ug) Christmas day with my crew. My mom got the kids metal detectors so they could treasure hunt, but these four are my treasure- no detector needed! Finally, this little monkey. He turned one last month and since I have been documenting him since before he was earth-side, It was pretty special to snap a set of photos of him as he hit this one year mark. I love this one showing so much personality and not much regard for that fantastic red balloon.

And there you have it- my December in a nutshell. Hope you all are off to a beautiful start to 2017. Make sure you hit up Adriana’s and then on to the other ladies to see what their final month of the year looked like.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

The Female Frame

Friends, I am over on the ViewFinders blog today sharing about how we as photographers tell the female story. I would love for you to click over and have a read today!

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

 

Five on Five – November 2106


On the fifth day of each month, I get together (virtual – maybe one day we all will be in one spot!) with a group of photographers. We each share our five favorite images from the previous month.

It’s a blog circle!

Make sure to follow the link at the bottom of this post, and head over to Adriana’s blog next!

……..

Whoa, November was packed to the gills. Travel, travel and more travel. I had so much fun last month, but am so happy to be home with my crew (and sleeping in my own bed! Staci, you aren’t the only one on this sentiment!)

So, where WAS I last month?
I was shooting a wedding in Seattle (I promise to blog this sweet wedding soon! stay tuned) Here’s a fun moment of a couple of the guests in the photo booth during the reception.untitled-3478

I was teaching yoga to photographers! (and taking photography classes album side my students) at the first ever Firefly Institute Camp.

You guys, this camp was so incredible. Hillary did an astounding job pulling this dream of hers together and wooo-eee, did she ever.Seattle Food Photography and StylingThe tiny details she put into every bit of camp. The food (the FOOD) at Westerbeke Ranch. BUT most importantly, the woman she gathered for this 5 day even were beyond wonderful.

Talent, humor, wit.

More humor, knowledge and a deep desire to share what each woman knew with the others. All of the instructors  and attendees truly made this camp worth every penny. (I have some words a brewing that deserve there own post, so yeah- stay tuned for that too)untitled-3874I was back ‘home’ in Reno, Nevada where we celebrated two birthdays (including a 70th), and thanksgiving. My mom’s icebox cake is everyone’s favorite this time of year… untitled-4651I squeezed in a set of mini-sessions (also due to hit the blog in the next few days/weeks). I love that I got to work with a handful of my Reno-Tahoe people while back in Nevada. This little in between moment stole my heart. untitled-4503So much to be grateful for right now, so very much. Click over to Adriana’s blog to see what her November looked like.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Weekend Wrap Up (and a BONUS)

What a lovely holiday week it has been! I have been in Reno, Nevada
visiting family and friends for the past seven days. I’m currently waiting for our flight to board, so I thaughty I would burn some time to recap our trip.

We celebrated my god-father’s 70th birthday, my father-in-law’s birthday, and Thanksgiving.

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I squeezed in some photography work while home. I loved getting to see a few Reno clients during the mini-sessions I offered. I can hardly wait to share with you all, btw.

I also had fun playing with a new lens that I was gifted along with two Canon SLR film bodies. Guess I need to start shootings film more!

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We played with cousins and laughter with friends. My mom and I took the kids to the Discovery Museum one day and my husband and I wandered Mid-Town on a kid free afternoon. Reno will always have such a special place in my heart. I love seeing what amazing changed and dedication is going into revitalizing town.
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I have a few links I would love for you to follow as you unwind from the turkey and family. Did you catch my post on the ViewFinders blog? I sure do love this collaborative cyber-space.

img_6865And how about this post over on Hello there friend ? (Did you know I teach yoga too, and would love to be part of your next photography (or any kind of) retreat?)

And finally, a little bonus, I would love to work with you in 2017! If you book with me this weekend (11/26 or 11/27), you’ll receive 15% off of your session. Refer a friend who also books and you will both get an additional 5% off your sessions or wedding! Leave a comment so I can contact you!

Thank you for your continued support,  and I can’t wait to make something beautiful with you next year!

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