Posts Tagged Tacoma Photographer

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

Veronica & Tram – A Jamaican Destination Wedding

When the little sister of one of your best friends sends you a note asking if you would be willing to travel to Jamaica and photographer her wedding, you say yes. Who am I kidding, when ANYONE asks you if you would be willing to fly to Jamaica and photograph their wedding, you say YES. I was so thrilled to have the date (and week) open to be able to make this trip happen.  Jamaica is a place I had thought about many times over the years, but never really dreamed I would get to visit. So when the opportunity was offered, I was totally in. My family and I applied for our passports, booked our flights, and then waited the several months until the big travel day. We had already spent a week in San Diego, California for another work engagement and caught a red-eye headed to Miami from there. We landed in Kingston a little exhausted and starving, but our driver stopped at Burger King in downtown Kingston so we could eat.  We sipped our grape soda (“Mom! It’s like drinking pop rocks!”) and gobbled our fries and Whopper as we traveled north to Ochos Rios.
An hour and a half later and we were at the resort settling in to our room, navigating the grounds to the nearest pool and the soft sand of  the Caribbean.  We didn’t meet up with our group until the next morning at breakfast when I spotted a huge table with a few faces I recognized from the on going What’s App conversation prior to the trip. But, we kept zigging and zagging with the bride and groom and still hadn’t seen them yet.   We hung out at on the beach, had our first jerk chicken (zomg, so good), and a few cocktails from the swim up bar(yeah mon!), and then, finally spotted the couple and their family bobbing along in the blue waters where I got to talk details and plans with the bride.We had one more day to settle in, and then, on Monday it was the big day. The wedding day went something like this.

Lead the family in a little bit of beach  yoga, (BONUS! I teach yoga too).  Then, I head to the spa to catch the ladies getting their nails done and relaxing before the day picks up speed. I make my  way down the hall and find the room where the bride is going to get ready. I snag a few detail shots and start getting used to the light in the room.  I catch the mother and sister of the bride hauling mimosa fixings, and let them in as we all “oooh and ahhh” over the details of the wedding gown and a maybe get teary over the words I hear the my best friend and sister of the bride rehearsing for the ceremony.
The bride arrives and the prepping and primping begin. I love this part of the wedding day. The excitement and the love towards the bride that happen the hour or two before the ceremony is so special. The rituals and the care that go into hair and makeup are like a rite of passage in many way.  I sneak away for a few minutes and make my way up stairs to see how the guys are getting along in their prep. When I got there I found the groom helping the boys with their vests, tucking in dress shirts and rolling up sleeves. The music is loud and the smiles louder. The joy and the anticipation is tangible as I snap a few more shots, and then get out of their way to finish up. I get back to the bride’s room just in time to see the flower girls arrive. And then it’s time for the bride to slide into her dress. This is another detail of the day that I adore. Watching all the hands carefully help and assist to make everything perfect gets me every single time.
A few final touches and everyone heads outside. The moment is finally here, and everyone takes their respective place.
The ceremony is short in length, but definitely not short in meaning. Not only do Veronica and Tram exchange rings with one another, but they each share a ring with the other’s son. (The boys are 6 months apart in age and some of the nicest teenagers I have come across yet). You may kiss your bride!
Bartender! Drinks for EVERYONE!!! Here’s the entire party, look at that beautiful gang of family and friendship. Seriously, this group was so much fun!! The grandsons and the grandmothers and great-grandmother. Mom of the bride with her two gorgeous daughters. The matriarch of the family – isn’t she beautiful? I had a really great conversation with her later in the week about family,traditions, and respect in the Vietnamese culture. I also got invited to dinner any time I am in Sacramento. um that’s another one you say YES to when you are asked.The new families!Cousin chaos doesn’t stop just because you grow up…. A sweet moment between the baby and grandmother, I think Lemon was challenging her grandmother to a race, don’t you??! You guys, this pink wall… I was all heart eyes over it. Sorta like these two are with each other.
The wind wasn’t cooperating, with our portraits. Good thing these two have such great senses of humor. And then, we headed to the party!!! I don’t know what is happening here, but it seems serious… hard to believe with this gang, so maybe they were just plotting the play list (or trying to figure out where Tam left his passport?)Speeches to make you laugh, speeches to make you cry – champagne to help you celebrate!Is it hot in here or is the cake about to go up in flames? !! Don’t worry, we caught it as soon as it started, it was out. Then we were all schooled in the Jamaican cake cutting traditions. And then, the steel drum band started and the bonfire was lit (and then, it truly was HOT IN HERE!)- the party was on!!Veronica and Tram, your wedding day (and week) was one of the most amazing and heartfelt times I have had the pleasure to document. Your families are so much fun, and the love they have for you and your boys is tangible. Thank you for including me (and my family) in this incredible adventure!

Keep chasing the light,

Vanessa

Make Portraits – Self/Love Market

You know what’s fun? Well besides hanging out having a picnic in perfect PNW weather at Point Defiance Park this afternoon? It’s logging in to Facebook and Instagram to see portraits that I made on Friday night being posted and used for profile photos!
I was one of the vendors at a Handmade PNW Market event called, “Self Love Market”. It featured female entrepreneurs and invited women to join us for an evening of shopping, networking and mingling.At first I wasn’t sure if I should really be there (hello gremlins of “I’m not hip enough”, “I’m not a very good networker, this stresses me out”, you can go away now). I didn’t have a set up and was having a hard time figuring out where to locate myself. Inside was too cramped and small, and out back wasn’t really where the flow of traffic was headed. But, that’s where I decided to land and am glad I followed my instinct, because look at that lighting that mama nature threw around for me!As the evening moved on, the light got prettier, and ladies started to wander out the back door to find me. I found a two spots that I liked the background of, and had such a fun time photographing each one of the women or groups of women who braved getting in front of my lens.This morning when I received this amazing note back from one of the ladies in response to getting her images, I knew I had made the right decision to be at the market,

“Thank you SO MUCH for these.

I’ve never had head shots or any kind of portraits professionally taken before. I had a tough week this past week, and wasn’t totally sure that I wanted to go to that self love market. The fact that I had no makeup or hair done other than the red lipstick I put on at the market, would make me not want to get a photo taken. I’m so glad I did because you made me feel special in that moment. Thank you so much for that.”

It is my hope that anyone and everyone who steps in front of my lens feels special and seen. 

Thank you to all of you who came out to the event and for everyone who helped make it such a special evening.

Event Details:

Living With The Camera – Inspiration | From the Archives

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

Source: Mortal Muses

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At the library I spotted a book on display, “Dorothea Lange – Grab a Hunk of Lightning“. I quickly picked it up and added it to the pile of children’s books that the kids had handed me, and we headed to the desk to checkout our goodies.  When we returned home, each of us plopped down in the small apartment living room that we are calling home right now, and dove right into our new reads.  I have really been wanting to understand what makes a beautiful and provoking portrait lately and this book was just the thing to get my head spinning. I want my craft to really speak to my audience and tell stories in a way that I know words can not.  I know my work is no where near what Dorothea was doing in her career, but by studying her images, the way she framed and used the light, I can begin to create a more powerful frame. 

I believe in living with the camera, and not using the camera. Suddenly, if you are working a lot, it takes over and then you see meaning in everything. You don’t have to push for it. That’s what I mean by the visual life. Very rare. – Dorothea Lange, KQED San Francisco Audio Recording 1964-65

The kids and I have been spending a lot of time together, and that means they are most readily available subjects. My son is now in a half day kindergarten and so we have all morning to get out and explore our new city. Luckily, they will humor me by being my models.  Well, most of the time anyway.  And if one won’t hold still for the shutter, the other usually will. These images are examples of what I have been getting.  I am purposefully processing these in black and white instead of color. Perhaps that is in part to looking through all of the Dorthea Lange images that have been floating through my mind, but I also get a totally different impact when the color is gone.  Stripping down the image to the whites, grays, and blacks seems to let their eyes and expressions do the work, rather than the colors happening around them.  Do you find that to be true as well?

Keep chasing the 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!

115/365
Sister houses
108/365
burger and a shake
106/365
Dinner and drinks
Untitled
Fifi and the walrus
Untitled
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