Category Personal Projects

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!


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!


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

Five on Five – October 2106

On the fifth day of each month a group of photographers shares their favorite photos from the previous month. It’s a blog circle! Make sure to follow the link over to Adriana’s October post when you are done here. I still can’t believe we have been doing this for four years. These woman keep me shooting and posting regularly and it’s a treat to see what each of them were up to every month.  I attended Click Away 2016 in Seattle last month and was inspired to start picking up the camera for me again. I realized I had almost stopped taking images of the kids unless it was with my cell phone (no shame, there is a cell phone image in here or two) I realized I wasn’t practicing and that’s no good at all. The kids have been amazing this month in humoring my requests and allowing me to stick the lens in their faces regularly. As a result, I have gotten a few portraits that I am absolutely in love with.

Fifi –

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And O-boy
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And the two of them together…
Oregon Coast Family

It’s felt really wonderful to give myself permission to have the camera in  my hand for me again. And I truly believe that the more I pick up the camera for me, the better I will be for my clients. And that’s a win-win all around!

Now head on over to Adriana’s blog and see what October looked like for her.

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

A Boy, a Book and a Cat – Tacoma Family Photography

Can you believe that golden glow? It was cool out the other evening, but the setting sun drew us out to the backyard for a little last minute sunshine therapy before dinner. He didn’t want to put down his book, but agreed to join me.obookworm-3-of-14Someone else thought it was nice that we were outside, too. Hey kid, whatchya reading?
obookworm-5-of-14Harry who? Maybe if his name was Fuzzy I’d sit awhile.obookworm-12-of-14obookworm-7-of-14 Ooooh… wait, this book corner is good for a face rub, isn’t it? obookworm-11-of-14obookworm-9-of-14obookworm-10-of-14What’s that over there? Ahhh, the dog is outside now too? I’m going to go chase her. Have fun reading about Fuzzy, er I mean Harry.obookworm-13-of-14

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

Parking Lot Polaroids

It’s fall Polaroid week and I didn’t have time to scan in any of my little rectangle gems to share throughout the week before hand.

But, yesterday morning I made a snuck off while I had my coffee (at the cost of totally getting behind on the morning routine and schedule, oops) and ran these shots through the scanner.  I couldn’t pass up posting this series that I started with the kids last weekend.

Plus, it’s Friday, and Friday is for Film…
FocusInPhotography - Parking Lot PoalaroidLast weekend we found ourselves in Santa Rosa, California for a wedding. We had the morning to burn as we waited for the mini van full of cousins to arrive from Reno.

We also needed something stronger than the hotel coffee as well as fresh air. So, we took a walk to the nearest Starbucks for goodies and then wandered on to a great playground and park to let the kids run!FocusInPhotography - Parking Lot PoalaroidOn the way we noticed there were several buildings and various colored garage doors. I decided to have the kids stop at each one we spotted (and that looked different from the last) and snapped a photo.While I attempted to direct these two little squirrels of mine (stand here. no more in the middle. wait, over here) I realized that they were too hopped up on their morning bun and chocolate milk for me to actually get them to listen. To be honest, I think they are better this way – The Simpson Traveling Circus in all it’s goofy, wacky, wound up glory. Love me a good photo series, I can’t wait to keep going with this one!

Happy Polaroid week and Film Friday!

Keep chasing that light, Vanessa

September’s 5 Favorites!

On the fifth day of each month a group of photographers shares their favorite photos from the previous month. It’s a blog circle! In this post I will be a link to the next person at the end of the post. Read on and enjoy our favorites from September.

Nothing like sliding in at the last moment with a post. October has been a whirlwind and we are only 5 days deep! Let’s slow things down a little bit by re-living what my five favorite images were from last month…


These two started school on their birthdays (one on the 6th – who turned 8, and one on the 8th who turned 6) –
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Oh man, this wedding… still can’t get over how beautiful these ladies are.


And this Pioneer Square engagement session was so much fun. The one month countdown is ON for Lydia and Aaron as of today (I’ll be posting their full engagement session early next week so stay tuned)!


And then there was this kid who killed his senior portrait session down town Tacoma.ShampSeniorSesh_FIPWebReady (114 of 139)

And a bonus shot, that wasn’t taken by me, but one I am SO proud of. My son took this image while at the zoo with his grandma. I couldn’t love this shot more!


Have you made the rounds yet? If not, swing over to Adriana’s blog to see what September looked like in her corner of the world!


Keep chasing that light- Vanessa

August’s Five – Vanessa Simpson

This is a re-occurring post that I share on the fifth of each month. It’s a chance for me  share  my five favorite images – personal work, client work, or anywhere in between.

This post is a part of a larger group project that I participate in with several other talented female photographers. When you are done here, please click on over to Adriana’s blog to see what she was up to this August.
20160814-IMG_9933A hike to Rattlesnake Ledge (I share more on ViewFinders, if you want to see!)VanessaSimpson2016 (2 of 7)Abstractions in the garden. Playing with a rented 100mm lens.BetsyShyeWedding-7993These stunning brides… I can’t quite get over the love in their eyes. (more of their big day will be up on the blog soon!)
UntitledA moment during the early morning rush out of the house. I was stopped in my tracks during kid drop off chaos. I have been exploring boundaries in my work and in my mind so much lately, this summed things up in so many ways for me.
UntitledBefore the splashing and cannonballs, there is this.

Here’s to an amazing September!!


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!


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.


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.

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.

April’s Five on Five

April- full of adventure, family, play time, friendships. You were exhausting and beautiful and re-affirming in so many ways.  I really do love these five on five posts where I get to relook and recap all the adventures I had with my camera. Make sure to click on through after you see what I was up to and check out the other woman in the blog circle, starting with Adriana at Smallroots.20160401-IMG_8456
Date night with my hubby.

20160408-IMG_8504Our new garden! My husband worked so hard to build these new raised bed. Food not lawns, plus it brings everyone out to visit in the neighborhood. It’s pretty fun.20160416-IMG_8546My boy playing in the woods while we were camping in Olympic National Park. 20160422-IMG_8611A boat, on a lake, by our private cabin. well, not my private cabin, but a sweet little spot I stayed at outside of Bend, Oregon. 20160422-IMG_8614Peel apart film, tree hugging, sister hood and a weekend away with some amazing ladies.