Posts Tagged Natural Light Photography

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.

A day in the life – 12 in 12

We are shaking things up again, for the new year. We tossed around ideas of a new photo project and decided on a monthly “Day in the Life”. Twelve images in roughly twelve hours. Who is this “we” I speak about? It’s the amazing group of women that I participate in a blog circle with. So when you are done here on my post, click on over to Small Roots to see what one of her days looked like.

I have to say that I had a hard time getting going on this prompt. I have done these type of challenges before, but couldn’t seem to get going. I was overthinking things and feeling like the darkness of the winter in the Pacific Northwest was not helping me out in my efforts. What I did have on my side is a new camera that I have been learning how to use and the fact that I started off with a really fantastic image on my first go, sometimes (most times), its’ the getting started that is the most difficult.

Ready to see how a typical day unfolds for me?5:20am I am up with the dog and the cat. They get let out to do their business, I start the coffee and unroll my mat to practice yoga.  6:20am I remember the full moon and step out in the blue hour to see it’s beautiful bright face.7:20am Showered, and dressed. I say goodbye and head out the car. The fog is burning off, blurring the edges of the tree branches and tops. 7:35am My commute is short, a quick up and over the hill. I love the downhill view as I make my way to cross the Foss Waterway and over to the tide flats.8:15am The fog has lifted and the golden light dances off the buildings uptown and across the waterway to my office. I don’t know if I will ever get tired of this every changing view…

9:30am Meetings and note taking. 11:45pm I return emails, document projects I am working on, answer questions and mentor my team.

2:30pm The day has flown by, I get my coworkers to go out for a walk with me to clear my head and get some fresh air. It isn’t raining, so it time to soak up some sunshine! (apparently I have a thing about power lines, but gang, the sky is showing it’s pretty blue and I have to document it!)4:30pm When I come out of the office for the day, I smile as the the paper mill stacks pump out cotton candy into the evening sky. I could watch that magic at this time of night for a very long time if it lasted. 5:45pm Taco night. The cheese is grated, lettuce chopped and the turkey has been browned. 6:20pm Diner is over and the evening antics have begun.  7:45pm She’s practicing and working hard on her reading, but it’s time to wrap things up for bed time. 8:30pm Kids are in bed and it’s time to turn off the phone, sip on my tea, snuggle into bed, and back into my book.

It was a busy but beautiful day. Having the sun out was helpful, but the fog also added so much to my early morning start, photographically. I tried to not let one bad image stop me in the path for the rest of the day. I looked for little details, slices of light. I am still learning my new camera (it’s a Fuji x100f mirrorless, and I love it!).

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

October Fave 5 on 5

This month we (the other fabulous ladies in this blog ring) decided to mix up our five on five post. We wanted to shake up what we have been doing just a bit. So we picked the color red as our theme and are each sharing where we found pops of the color throughout October.

When you are done here, make sure to click over to Adriana’s blog- she has such a great eye for color, I know she’s got something lovely going!

Red … I found the color in the clothes and accessories that my clients chose for mini-session portraits.

And look at those autumn reds in this senior portrait session! Fall in Tacoma sure is gorgeous (and holy moly do I get good looking people for clients or what?!)

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-

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

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

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