Category Landscape Photography

Find the Light | From The Archives

More often than not when traveling,  I am the one in the passenger seat. It’s not that I don’t like to drive, it’s just that the people I travel with tend to like to be behind the wheel more then I do.  This is a good thing since I would rather be soaking in the sights as the world slips past my window. I can take photos and not have to manage my camera and the steering wheel while on a road trip.  These images were taken on the way home from my Portland adventure.

I knew I wanted to share this set of photos here, but wasn’t sure what  I was going to talk about. I looked up a few books in search of quotes, but nothing was fitting with my mood. I realize all of the images are a little dark, but each has a glimmer of light shinning in the distance or flare bursting through the edges.  As I know many of my fellow American readers might be heading out on the road today to meet up with family and friends for Thanksgiving tomorrow I thought I would use the dark and light as a metaphor.
I know that this holiday (and the season in general) can either be extremely exciting or extremely stressful.  As you help in the kitchen with parents, siblings or dear friends, watch football with rowdy cousins, nieces and nephews, and then once you finally sit down around the table together; I would like to encourage you to use your photographic skills of finding the light in the everyday to find the bright spot in each of the people you are surrounded by.  Sometimes our personal and internal roads are dark, but we all have a spot in us that glows from within, or right out of our edges.  Some share the glow inside easily with those around them, while others find it much more difficult. So go on, find the light and have a wonderful and THANKfilled day tomorrow.
This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses photography blog, and part of a new series called, From the Archives. You can find the original post here: Find the Light | Mortal Muses

A lot like Alice… | From The Archives

I don’t know if I feel smaller or bigger when I fly. Seeing the whole world in neatly organized rows and methodically placed circles. The cars, like tiny blood cells traveling from the heart center to the more rural and distant locations of this living breathing body we call Earth.

I watch the clouds pass, fluffy and mash potato like. The bumps of air, which make my tummy and head feel a little fuzzy, remind me to keep breathing. The moon rises out one side of the airplane, while the sun sets out the other oval next to me. It’s surreal, and disorienting. For an hour or more, we are placed so closely to others and at the same time, pulled apart from other as the wheels pull up and tuck neatly below. There are headphones signaling silence, nervous hands signaling fear. There are little bags of peanuts and cups of ginger ale quietly bubbling on the tray table.

I have had scary moments and tender moments while 10,000 feet in the air. And I realize again that it isn’t really the destination- it’s the journey….  If you’re traveling this weekend,be kind to those around you. They maybe rushing to see loved ones or traveling from beautifully exhausting families. I wish smooth landings and quick security lines and, may there be a rainbow of peace hugging your flight as you go.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

This post was originally written and photographed by me for the ViewFinders and part of a new series called, From the Archives. Source: A lot like Alice… | ViewFinders

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

Five on Five – My January Favorites

January has come and gone. As we dip our toes into February, I am taking a minute to look back at the first 31 days of 2015 and pick my favorite 5 photos. This year I have set a goal to take more family photographs using my canon dslr, and not just the iphone. I am shooting a family based 365 (a photo a day) and it’s been such a wonderful practice and I feel myself growing and falling more deeply in love with not only the Pacific Northwest, but the art of capturing whole stories in a single frame.

Point Defiance trail A walk through Point Defiance Park. it was wet and muddy, but  most of all a grand adventure that left us all refreshed.

FIP (3 of 3)-2I have begun a new to me focus in my photography.  I will be adding Environmental Portraiture to my list of things I absolutely love to capture to my list. Here is a post to explain more. This photo was created for my sweet friend and Tacoma creative, Liz Lamoreux.

PatienceWe adopted a cat from Tacoma Humane Society. Ruben has been the most amazing fella. He is sweet, calm and puts up with all sorts of antics from his biggest fan, Fifi.

7 I have loved capturing individual moments of the kids, but some of my favorites are actually the times they are together in my view finder. Seeing them love each other is incredible. Seattle_CSA (3 of 6)

And finally, in an effort to keep my head clear in the foggy days- I have been getting down to one of the many parks and waterfronts on a regular basis. This is Titlow Park, the sun was breaking through the soupy fog. Five minutes after I took this photo, you could actually see the Narrows Bridge out there beyond the trees.

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Thanks for stopping by today. I love sharing my personal work with all of you. This post is part of a group, so make sure to click over to see what January looked like for Adriana of Smallroots.

Keep Chasing that light,

Vanessa

Color Between the Grey (and green)

Yes, the sky here in Tacoma is much different than it is in the high desert of Reno.  Guess what? Just like the sky in the Great Basin is blue-blue, it green here.  Not the sky, but the landscape.  Not just green, but green-green.  And right now, that green is accented in polka-dots of pink.

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MortalMuse (7 of 15) Isn’t it beautiful?! Happy Spring, no matter where you are.

Keep chasing the light- Vanessa

New Beginnings For a Tacoma Washington Photographer

Offerings

Welcome to the brand new website and blog of Focus In Photography! I am so glad to have you stopping by to check in with my latest work and news. Please have a look around the entire site and check out my work.  I would like to give a huge thank you to my website designer, Kurt Thigpen of Pulse Source. He has been working hard on this website and has become not just a “coworker”, but a client and a friend. Thanks Kurt!

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As many of you know, the month of March is full of new beginnings for me. My family and I relocated from Reno, Nevada to Tacoma, Washington. As I make this transition, I hope to continue to serve my clients in the Northern Nevada and California region, as well as gain new clients here in the Pacific Northwest. Please help me spread the word that I am up, running and ready to photograph!

Tacoma (5 of 17)Over the next month or two, I will be posting new work and revisiting old favorites as I find my way in this new city. I hope you will enjoy exploring with me along the way. Today, I am sharing some images from a walk along Titlow Beach.

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