Posts Tagged Spaces and Places

A Day at The Beach – Family Vacation on Kauai

Waaaay back at the end of February, my family and I, along with two other families, met up on the island of Kauai. We had sun, rain, and everything in between over our week’s vacation. The kids learned how to boogie board, and I practiced my sun tanning skills. These images are from our trip.

We hit the beach even when the sky was grey. Telling the kids, “You’ll be wet, or you’ll be wet.” when they questioned why we were going to the beach when it was raining.  As you can see, they caught on quickly and we were prepared with our umbrellas to keep towels dry. We got a super awesome day of sunshine at Tunnels Beach. It took some serious work (not pictured) to wheel our wagon through the sand full of gear for 5 kids and 5 adults to the sweet spot. But it was totally worth it – and a good excuse of a work out to eat extra Doritos and sip a beer once we settled in. The house we rented was within a quick walk into Hanalei. So we made sure to take a few strolls into town. Early morning wanders led us to coffee, mid day for shopping, and afternoon walks for shave ice!
And we were also a quick walk to the beach. We made several spur of the moment, and not really prepared (no swim suits!) trips to the water for sand castle making.  When the rain was too heavy for even the roosters to crow (and oh my goodness did they crow!), we had a sweet house that fit us all. The kids played a few fierce games of monopoly and soaked up a bit of screen time after all the sand and sun. It was so wonderful to be back on the island where my husband and I spent our honeymoon 15 years ago. We even hit up a couple of places that we had been drooling over since that last trip. Don’t pass up the ahi nori wrap at the Mermaids if you are there.

It was so good to have some of my best friends and the kiddos with us for the adventure. It already seems like a life time ago already, so I am glad to have these photos to remind me of all the fun!Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

PS this post is a part of a blog circle. I would love if you hop on over to Staci’s blog to see what beauty she has to share with you this month.

4 in 24: Vanessa Simpson | From the Archives

This post was originally written and photographed by me for the Mortal Muses blog, part of a new series called, From the Archives. For this entry, I was being interviewed by the amazing Holly Clark.  Source: 4 in 24: Vanessa Simpson | Mortal Muses

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In the spirit of this month’s theme, Collaborations, I’m excited to be introducing a new guest feature here on Mortal Muses where we challenge a guest to shoot 4 images within 24 hours and share their story here.

Our first guest, Vanessa Simpson, is a geographer by training and trade, and a photographer, artist and mother at heart…oh yeah, she’s also a yogini and runner too! Photography is a passion for her she told me, “I need it, I have to do it.” She still owns her very first camera, a Kodak/Fisher Price 110, that she received as a birthday gift at the ripe age of 7-years old. When I asked Vanessa to share four photos taken within twenty-four hours, she requested to share images from a special roll of film taken on a  trip taken last year.

What film cameras do you shoot with? Do you have a favorite?
I have a silly number of old cameras; I take them in like abandoned puppies. But, the ones I shoot with most often are my Polaroid 100, Minolta SRT100, and my grandfather’s Yashica TLR. The pull apart Fuji film for the Polaroid is fairly inexpensive and I am particularly smitten with the color film, it is rich and vibrant and crisp.  I have promised myself to learn how to use the Yashica TLR that I inherited. It’s a beautiful piece of family history that I am honored to shoot with, it’s just a little intimidating and so different than what I am used to. The photos I am sharing today were a first roll from the Minolta (affectionately known as “Mini”) while on a visit to San Francisco last December.

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8:30am, Early morning in a beautiful bed and breakfast. The sun peeking through a small window and lighting the room perfectly. I was obsessed with that wall paper pattern. I took several self-portraits in this same spot as my husband showered and got ready for the day.

What do you love most about film?
There is something very magical about film. It happens during the waiting, the point where you hold your breath and hope that you got it all right. The moment the image starts to happen-whether it’s waiting for the film to come back from the lab or the seconds before shapes start to form on the blank paper bathing in the chemicals in the dark room. The magic and the anticipation are what I love. When I shoot with the Polaroid, I get almost instant gratification, but there is still the possibility of a light leak or streaking–these imperfections that we try to mimic with digital photography are what make film, film.

Minotla_SF-310am, Walking and wandering from our bed and breakfast to Union Square. We took a path less traveled through an alleyway filled with fantastic street art.

What/Who inspires you?
Oh man, this is a really hard question to answer. I have so many inspirations–many of them I have found over the years via blogs and Flickr. Some of my favorite film shooters are Andrea Jenkins (girlhula) she is the master of Polaroid photography, and I was lucky enough to take a Polaroid class with her a couple of years ago. Kristen Perman, (acukiki) is another amazing Polaroid shooter–her images are haunting and lovely. Laura DeAngelis (lauralani) is an amazing film photographer and self-portraiture master. She has a way with space and color and repetition that blow my mind.  I love portraiture work that Lisa Macintosh (lisamac) has been putting out these past few months, and I can’t forget the master minds behind the NOW YOU Workshops, Meredith Winn (Camerashymomma) and  Kristin Zecchinelli(Mainemomma)–these two women have helped me grow and stretch in ways I didn’t know I could when it comes to my self portraiture work.

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11am, I love looking into windows and imagining the worlds, stories and lives going on behind the glass.

What was your happiest/worst photographic moment & why?
That moment when you realize you don’t have your memory card in the camera–or that you didn’t load that film properly–yup, those moments suck. There are days when you don’t feel “it”. When you wonder why you keep taking frame after frame, the inspiration isn’t there, or your confidence has totally flopped because you are comparing yourself to other artists. Those are the worst moments. But, it is also the time when I find myself growing the most… I keep shooting, keep seeking the light and the patterns and the lines… and I find it all again, the NEED to photograph. There is a certain feeling when I get ‘the shot’. You know it, you feel it. You might take a few more, you know, just in case. But when you get home and sift through the images and you see what you knew all along–you got the image you had planned in your head and that is an amazing feeling.

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1:30 pm, We had walked all over, visited the SFMOMA and were on our way back to our hotel. I made him stop and go in for a drink at a random bar. I love the way the light hits the highball glasses and reflects off the mirror.

Final thoughts or advice for our readers?

  • Shoot, shoot, shoot, and then shoot some more. Leave the camera at home sometimes, breathe in the world, see it outside of the view finder. It’s going to drive you crazy and make you feel like you have left your right arm laying on the bedroom floor, but be okay with it’s absence. Take notes in a journal, draw (even if you can’t draw) what you want to photograph.
  • Don’t hit the shutter of the camera for anyone else, do it for you. Break the rules, use the rules. Read your camera’s manual, seriously, there is good stuff in there. Challenge yourself with horrible light situations. Take your camera out of automatic mode.
  • Stop and turn around when you see ‘the moment’ or the “the light” flash by in the car window.
  • TURN AROUND, STOP, ASK
  • You see something and you feel the pull of it–honor that pull. Don’t worry about who is watching or what they are thinking about you while you shoot. Don’t worry about the equipment you have or don’t have–the best camera is the one with you.
  • Shoot, shoot, shoot, and then shoot some more.

 

Keep Chasing that light,

Vanessa~

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

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

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 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

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

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 – 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