Category Personal Projects

November (Yellow) Fave 5 on 5

Last month we all went red, this month we decided on yellow. What am I talking about? It’s the monthly blog post where I get to share a few of my favorite images from the previous month- with a twist of a yellow theme.

When you are all finished here, head on over to Small Roots to see where she found pops of color during her month.

November my family and I traveled almost every weekend. I was able to squeeze in both personal and a bit of client work while back in Nevada for the holiday week and that is where these images were taken.  I might be stretching our theme a little bit, but here is where I saw yellow and gold in November…

Golden afternoon light on these kiddos


And more of that autumn evening glow on this sweet family

Yellow hills above Reno during an awesome 7 mile hike that we did with the kids and some dear friends.

Yup, November gave me so much to be grateful for!

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa

September 2017 – Five on Five

Whoa! has it really, truly been since May that I did a Five on Five post? I guess that is what happens when you travel for almost a month straight during the summer, and then jump right back into life when you return. I am so glad that the lovely ladies who participate in this blog circle are jumping back into the fun and the rhythm of posting monthly. I know I have so much to share from our summer (and I might shamelessly post Jamaica vacation pictures when it gets really cold, damp, and dark here in the PNW) so stay tuned… And because I have taken so many months off with this, I am sharing more than the usual five images, I can’t help myself!

September is a really special month around our house. It’s a month when we have two birthdays in three days (yes, the kids are almost two years apart to the day, it’s nutty with celebration!). It’s the start of a new school year, and when the light and the energy of the summer start to wind down. The air gets crisp and the light turns golden and pink. I love summer, but autumn really has a huge piece of my heart.

 

The kids started school, 1st and 4th grade… 

We went to the Oregon Coast and camped at Cannon Beach for the first time. (we fell in love with the area and my Goonie heart was so happy). And because I am excited to share these galleries soon…  a few images of client work. I photographed a wedding in Seattle and senior portraits in downtown Tacoma.  I think I might have a thing for lines in my work lately because I was so drawn to these shapes on both days…It was a great month for personal and client work! Now head on over to see what Adriana has had cooking this summer…

Keep chasing that light,

Vanessa-

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

May 2017 – Five on Five

June! We are here, here we are.  Two weeks away from the last day of school and the first official day of summer. I’m still wondering how it all keeps going by so quickly- but it just does.

May was full of activity and play. It was also full of lots of time at home enjoying the sunshine (finally!) and being out in our yard. Photographically, it was a mix of iphone, instax and digital photography – I love each medium for different reasons.

Make sure to visit Adriana’s post today after you are done here.

And, here we go!

Fueling up for the Color Run. I love that their school does something active and fun as a fund raiser!
We set up the pool in the back yard. It was a little too cold to jump in this particular afternoon, but O had a lot of fun setting up an obstacle course for his hot wheels.
14 years of marriage with this guy. We were able to sneak away to our favorite local tap room for a beer to celebrate.
Beautiful Snoqualimie Falls. Our first camp trip of the season. Our camp site is about a 10-15 minute drive away from here so I talked the gang into the drive over. They thanked me after seeing this awesome view!
A typical afternoon. Hanging out, probably looking at an ipad or maybe the new fidget spinner. But being friends and sitting for a second so I could test the light for a photo with my Instax.

 

 

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

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!

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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

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