Category Film Friday

Language of Summer | From the Archives

Summer time stretches out in front of us with waves and wishes. Backyard, air conditioning , picnics, weddings, sun screen, beaches, camping, and adventure all become part of our summer time vernacular. The following words are from a few summers past, but they still hold true this time of year. Enjoy.Summer, you are leaving me… almost gone, but I am not done tasting you yet.

I know you are going, because the evenings are more watermelon juice drips then perspiration. I can feel it in the morning air as I stir awake, you smell different this time of year, not so sticky, yet sweet.

I can see it in the gentle way you hold the velvet brown mountain silhouette. The soft, sky touch that can only be yours.

The dark comes earlier, the blue mix with peaches that hang heavy  in the tree, ripe and ready and in the blushing of the leaves in the strong sycamore that shushes in the exhale.

I still have a few things left for you, summer. Summer don’t fall too quickly away…

Keep chasing the light my friends, Vanessa Simpson

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This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses collaborative blog, and part of a new series I am calling, From the Archives. Source: Language of Summer | Mortal Muses

A Look Back, A Look Forward | From The Archives

This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses blog, and part of a new series of posts I am calling, “From the Archives”. 

Source: A look back, a look forward | Mortal Muses

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I have been talking film with some local photographers over the past week or two, not just on line, but across the room. We were talking about the magic of developing your own roll of film and photo. We were talking about the intoxicating smell of fixer, the way you used to have to burn and dodge and fix dust spots. We tried to explain to a fellow photographer what it’s like when you first see the image emerge under the red glow of the darkroom light. We laughed about how it didn’t really matter how bad that first photograph was, you had made it- from the rolling of the film into the canister all the way to the drying racks. These conversations got me thinking about the giant box of photographs, contact sheets, 8x10s and negatives that have been sitting in the garage for the past year. So I did what anyone would do at that point, I lugged the giant, over sized Tupperware box out and started digging around. It is so interesting to see how far I have come, but also to see the hints and trends in the way I shoot now and have always shot my images.

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I might not have been hitting the shutter with a very good understanding of aperture, shutter speed and lenses, but what I did know was how certain films developed (colors and tones, contrast and richness). I also could “see” how light played and made shadows and pretty sunsets, but I wasn’t (and am still not always) sure how to use those attributes to my best advantage. As I sifted through things searching for my images from when I was in Madrid, Spain and then London, Dublin and Scotland- I pulled out two envelops from a college field trip. The class was pretty tight, we would spend one hour a week together doing ‘labs’ and then 4 hours every Friday out in the field. We collected and then memorized the Latin and common names of various plants (by the way, mormonus teaus is NOT the Latin name for the Mormon Tea plant, no matter what some prankster had jokingly renamed it in the study hall and you had naively memorized and put down on a test as an answer…) That semester we learned about the bio-geography of the region. The final trip, when I took these images, we all drove from Reno, NV to the Alabama Hills and Yosemite, CA. I remember a great game of dominoes around the campfire with my classmates, saving dinner from the flames of an overly zealous fire maker, I remember having no clue how to set up my tent and one hell of an awesome professor leading the adventure.

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But I don’t really remember taking any of these photos. Let’s face it, this weekend trip was 16 years ago. I am trying to remember what film camera I had at the time. I know it was one of my two Pentax, and I have absolutely no clue what film (probably kodak 200, if I had to guess since that was quick and easy to pick up at the grocery store). Most of these are simply snapshots, but I think that is what I like about them (now). There was no flickr, there was no instagram. I had the photo department at the University of Nevada, Reno, and a handful of dear family friends who were photographers to inspire me and teach me. I remember getting these images back from the lab and being a little bit bummed. It was so much more beautiful in real life (isn’t it usually when it comes to places like Yosemite and Alabama Hills?)  I hadn’t even come close to nailing the shots like I had hoped. I am not sure what I expected, but at the time, these results weren’t it.

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Today, I look at these and I see something different then what I saw then. I see moments in time. I see people who I haven’t talked since this class ended and have forgotten their names.  I see a group of college kids taking in their surroundings, each in their own unique way. I see the fascinating way in which people space themselves with one another and the world around them. I see body language and silent, frozen conversations taking place. Tiny still frames burned into the light sensitive film and in those moments, time was stopped.

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Those things alone (and maybe the way the light hits the rocks in the late afternoon), make me realize that I had the photo (and the film shooting) bug all those years ago. I might not have known what I know now about the craft, but the seeds were planted deep down in the soil of my creative garden. These moments are what have helped them grow from a dream into a reality. We all have to start somewhere. As  I dug through the past stored neatly in a big plastic bin, I was able to see one of those beginning steps of becoming a lover of film and a photographer.

Happy Film Friday.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Film Friday- Vito | From the Archives

Have I told you about Vito? He is quite the looker. A little old fashioned, but dapper. Oh, and his voice. That Swedish accent is something, I tell you. I found him one day by chance. I asked the gal behind the thrift store counter, “Do you have any cameras”? She looked at me funny and told me they had some old ones, but I wouldn’t want them…. I disagreed and asked her to see them, please.  It was one of the best blind dates I have ever had. I instantly fell in love with his leather jacket and chrome details.I was scared to take him out that first time. I hadn’t shot with a range finder before, unless you count a disposable camera. But Vito has more control and sophistication then those types, (mind you I love the disposables, but…). Holding him was exciting, yet, intimidating. In that, “first time” sorta way. I had to guess his sweet spot, isn’t that the way it always goes? I was literally fumbling around guessing how to make him work. It’s going to take some practice, but I think I liked this boy and his sassy ways.I decided that taking him out during Hot August Nights was a good choice. Classic, yet updated in the best possible way. The event is held in Reno, NV each summer, and I am missing summer right now… The streets of our city are filled with shiny and vintage cars of all kinds. This was right up Vito’s alley. I think it was a perfect first date for old Vito, aka Voigtlander Prontor-lux, and I. Don’t you?

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

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This post was originally written and photographed by for the Mortal Mused blog and is part of a new series I’m calling, From the Archives. Source: Film Friday- Vito | Mortal Muses

July’s Five on Five

I’ve missed a few months… wow, has it really been since April? I left Facebook rather abruptly a few months ago (I can not take all the political nonsense and the general NOISE over there anymore), and didn’t really think about how I would be leaving behind the thread of reminders for this monthly post as well. My sweet photo tribe reached out and asked if I still wanted to play, and that they would even send me a text message reminder to join in the fun. I really can’t say enough about the humans I have found out here on the internet. Yes, I am over some of the social media chaos, but man, I have made some amazing friendships over the years via this screen and keyboard. Thank you ladies, for understanding and keeping me in the loop of it all!

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I thought I might play a little catch up for the months I have missed AND do it all with my favorite instant photos that i shot using my new Instax Mini camera.

May’s favorite, taken on Mother’s Day. I asked for a ferry ride and a visit to Vashon Island for the day. It was such a nice way to explore. I share a few more of these instant images over on the ViewFinders.

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And June- a date with my girl, Cara. Mojitos and window light. 20160709-summer16003-2-2

Now, on to July!! This moment at the Frostee with all the cousins over the Fourth of July weekend.

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And finally, one more from my growing pile of instant images – this building that was across the way from the hotel we stayed at in San Diego. I couldn’t get enough of the patterns and that YELLOW!20160709-summer16003-2-4

Here’s to an awesome month! Now head to Smallroots and have a look at what she’s been up to.

Film Friday – Seattle Streets

SeattleSignage (1 of 1) This sign pulled me in from down the street. The colors and the art, plus the yummy dappled sunlight coming through the trees. It developed a bit darker than I would have liked, but that is part of learning more about how my camera and film work together.

FIP (1 of 1)-5The same, but different. The repetition of the architecture here caught my eye.  I like how the top two windows are identical and the bottom two spaces are completely different.

 

Keep chasing that light and keep your rollers clean (that’s a Polaroid shooter’s joke),

Vanessa

Film Friday – The Coffee House

Happy Film Friday!

Today I am exploring the similarities and differences between film vs digital. I take the same photo with different cameras quite often, I have been asked how do I know which camera I want to shoot with when I pull out all my different babies. The process of double (or triple shooting) is part of how I learn to answer that question.  At first, capturing the same setting more than once may seem redundant, but I have learned a few things as I go.  In the digital image of the coffee cups, I love how the light is hitting the cups and the focus is right where I want it to be. Not to mention that it isn’t off kilter like the film shot.When using my film cameras, I sometimes forget to slow down enough to line everything up before hitting the shutter button. This is a habit that is forgivable with digital, since readjusting in post is fairly simple, but not so much with film. In the analog image of the cups, I love that little bit of bokeh in the background and the subtle reflections of each cup.  I can definitely tell I was shooting with 100 speed film, but 400 iso within my digital.  The grain and the dark of the film shot really show through in both and are a good reminder for me of why we utilize different film speeds for different light situations.

That said, each of the photos hold a different mood and appeal. They tell the same, but altered version of the story.  Shooting this way helps me to better understand the limitations and strengths of film, and allows me to learn my craft each time I hit the shutter button.

MortalMuse (29 of 95)Cups | Minolta SRT | Color film, asa 100

20140406-20140406-IMG_5517Cups | Canon 5D ii | ƒ/2.8 | 1/1250 |400

20140408-20140408-69590012Counter| Minolta SRT | Color film, asa 100

20140406-20140406-IMG_5515Counter | Canon 5D ii | ƒ/2.8 | 1/1250 |400

 

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

The Boy | Film Friday

There is something distinctly different about portraits shot on film vs in digital. I love them both for different reasons, I liken the differences to that of a painter using oil, acrylic or water color paints.These three photos of my son were taken using my Minolta 35mm.

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If you are a fellow photographer, do you also shoot film in addition to digital during your sessions? If you are current client or prospective client, what would you say to a session shot in analog?

MortalMuse (1 of 3)Keep chasing that light – Vanessa

Film Friday – Spring Edition

Winter is on it’s way out and spring is (hopefully) here to stay, much like my three year old…

MortalMuse (1 of 1)-36If you have been following along with me long enough, you will know that one of my favorite ways to photograph is using one of my two Polaroid Land cameras.  On Fridays I like to celebrate a little thing called, Film Friday. It’s a chance for me to highlight my analog work. I love my iphone and my dslr, but there is something really special about shooting film. 20130513-sfpolaroids-3

These images were taken last Spring during a visit to San Francisco. The poppies were showing off their big beautiful faces and bright colors when we were there to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. I couldn’t have asked for a better subject to capture, the oranges and greens practically sign on the Fuji film.

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Have a fantastic weekend and Happy Film Friday!