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Making a life, not a living

One of my BFF's, Kristin Knight bought a small staffing agency when she was just 21. She grew the company until she became what I teasingly (but accurately) like to call her, a "mogul." Now that she's 40 something and spent the last twenty plus years building her empire she's looking for something new and something creative. She's not sure what will come but she's excited about it. I'm excited just watching her. I told her that I'm sort of in the same place although I'm far from a mogul. My empire only expands as far as two kids, a husband and our new kitten, but I'm also in the situation where I'm more interested in building the life I want to live versus just working for the dollar (for the moment at least). Hopefully the two will one day merge, but for now I'm content just building my skills as a photographer and seeing where this journey will take me.

I don't think my husband (an aspiring mogul) can understand wanting to do spend so much time on a career I don't make any money at. In fact, I pretty much LOSE money running a photography business with all the gear I buy and classes I take. But doing photography brings me so much joy. I love capturing images of people and if they are paying me they don't generally mind me taking photo after photo of them. If I didn't have clients I wouldn't be able to get the shots I want to get.

The funny thing about my husband shaking his head at me turning down some great design jobs so I can spend more time NOT making enough money to cover my expenses is that I felt the same way about him when he was creating his own company. He was turning down well paying corporate jobs to do his thing for zero pay. In fact it cost us money for him to run a company because he needed to hire developers and fly around to meet with people, etc, etc. He was passionate enough to work his ass off for free building his own company and it is currently paying our bills. I remember being jealous of his passion for his work. Now I have passion again. Hopefully the money will follow for me too, but for now I'm so happy to have a moment where I can concentrate on what I want to do versus just bring home a paycheck.

Anyway, this is a really long introduction to the photos I took of Kristin last week to kick start her new life as a creative consultant, philanthropist, angel investor, yogi master, chauffeur to her kids, world traveler and champion of women's causes (human trafficking in particular.) I'm inspired by her passion and am excited to see where this next stage of life will take her. She too is now looking to design a life instead of just chasing a living. She is making the 40s look GOOD!

I'm thinking Kristin can add "model" to her list of potential second careers too!

Family Portrait Fun (beach + popsicles!)

Burien Normandy Park Des Moines Family Photographer

My most recent family photo session was with a great family on one of those rare, perfect Seattle days. We had fun walking the pier at the Des Moines Redondo Beach (popsicles!) and then heading to the Normandy Park Cove to run in the grass and check out the play equipment. I love these play date photo sessions. Thanks to the family for letting me share one of the best Seattle days ever! Enjoy your photos (through the less than stellar winter months especially!)

Film Is Not Dead (FIND)

My husband said to me, "Isn't the fact that you're attending a workshop called 'Film Is Not Dead' mean that it film is dead?" Me, "NO!" I let my husband know that there has been a bit of a resurgence in film photography. Labs that were closing down are suddenly hiring again. Sure, it is not the same as fifteen years ago, or even ten years ago but people are discovering the quality can't be beat with digital.

And the biggest evangelist of this is Jonathan Canlas. Pictured below:

I am so so so so happy I signed up for his workshop! As soon as I signed up I was allowed access to the FIND Facebook group and the FIND forum. Wow, this alone was worth the price of the workshop. The group has formed an amazing world-wide community of awesome photographers posting 24/7.

Being in the forum gave me the courage to experiment with film before the workshop. I borrowed my friend's Leica M6 to experiment. After shooting with the Leica I wasn't sure film was for me. Focusing the range finder took some getting used to and I wasn't sure I was getting decent shots. For one roll I thought I was shooting color but oops, it was black and white! And when I finished a roll of film and didn't have any more frames I wanted to "chimp" through my images to delete the so-so ones to take more. I was a little spoiled by the instant gratification of digital. But then I saw the results (that I didn't have to Photoshop) and film is pretty appealing.

Here are a few samples of photos I took before the workshop with a Leica M6 using Fuji Neopan film: Fuji Neopan

Yes, I want a Leica now! (Full disclosure, being a FINDer opens a can of worms for new gear you are going to want. Not that there's not an insane list of gear I want for my digital stuff too. Gear crushing is the curse of every photographer.)

Being on the "thrifty" side I decided to buy a 35mm Nikon F100 (even though most folks shoot medium format) to capture some photos on film. I figured I could use my Nikon lenses I use on my D700 with the F100 and save myself some cash. I finally tested out my Nikon F100 at the workshop and sadly, the piece of crap I got off of eBay is not focusing correctly. It felt off but when I got the film back, I knew for sure. The ones that were in focus though... wow! I love the color. Here are a few samples from my piece of crap camera. Yes, a piece of crap camera took these:

Film is not dead workshop Seattle

Once again, no Photoshop people! (Disclosure #2: I have a love/hate relationship with Photoshop. I love what I can do with it. I hate it for the amount of time it sucks out of me.) Results like this without the post-processing is really luring me in.

I've been continuing to shoot digital in my sessions since the workshop, but as the year goes on I may add a film option for my sessions (once I get that F100 fixed, or bite the bullet for a medium format camera.) Regardless if I chose to continue shooting digitally or in film I will say that the Film Is Not Dead workshop was well worth my money. It has made me a better photographer regardless of the medium. The best part of the workshop was meeting the amazing people in FIND in person and the awesome Jonathan Canlas. Thank you Jon for coming to Seattle! You have a friend in Seattle for life.

Happy Father's Day (via Blurb books)

Making a Blurb book for my husband's Father's Day gift reminded me of why/how I got into photography in the first place. I started off as a scrapbooker much to the amusement of many friends. I felt I needed to document our lives but the photography aspect started to take over. After working on this book though I was reminded of my main goal of preserving our memories.

One of the best things I did on our mid-winter break trip to San Francisco and Carmel was to write down quotes that the family members said that I wanted to remember. I inserted the quotes into the photos on some of the pages of the book and now those are my favorite pages. Note to self: Don't stop recording the quotes! These are equally as important as the photos.

I riffed off of Erin Cobb's photoshop templates from here to create the book: http://thecreativemama.com/one-frame-a-day/. It still took me quite a while to create the book but hopefully going forward it will be faster, because I'm determined to make more books.

Happy Father's Day!

Day of service (Happy Birthday Martin!)

"Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love." ~ Martin Luther King

Last year my son came home from school very excited about a movie they'd watched at school called "Our Friend Martin." He even convinced his teacher to let him bring it home so our family could watch it together. We no longer have a VCR in our house so I wasn't able to watch it with him. This year my daughter (1st grade) came home to tell me about Martin Luther King who was shot on a balcony. Martin has made an impact on my kiddos! Then I was looking back through my blog and found this post from last year vowing to do something besides fold laundry in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

We decided to collect food for the local food bank. The kids decorated the wagon (we used our new laminator -- hurray!) and we hit our street to collect cans and other non-perishables. Wow, the neighbors were really generous. I drove the food to the food bank today and was very proud of my family. I saw a lot of young mothers with their kids waiting to get food which of course really tugged at my heart.

Happy birthday Martin! We hope we made you just a little proud today. Hopefully my kids and I will make this a yearly tradition.