Archive for 'Bellingham Lifestyle Photographer'

….don’t go swimmin’ with a mermaid, son, if you don’t know how to swim!

– Shel Silverstein

It’s a crazy and exciting world beneath the calm ripples of the pool’s surface.  I had nearly forgotten what it’s like to open my eyes underwater and enjoy the carnival that hides beneath the surface.  This circus act is my family, while vacationing in Sunriver, Oregon.  Shot on a Lomo LC-A+ with Lomo 400 and Ektar 100 films.  Together, the results were funky and unexpected.  Jump in with me and see…the water feels great!

swim like a fish

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At the start of the year I took a little hiatus from shooting photography.  It wasn’t scheduled or planned.  It was a spontaneous break.  I had a moment of realization that I needed to do it.  I needed to turn away from the online photography forums, and on a whim, I removed myself from my favorite online forum and also a few Facebook photography groups.  I shut down Photoshop and Lightroom and a breathed a happy sigh of relief.  However, hours after quickly severing those ties on that sunny January afternoon, I found myself sobbing in my car, feeling broken hearted.  I was already missing my friends, an online group of ladies who share this passion of mine, and already feeling like I was saying goodbye to a part of my past.  But I knew I needed something different for myself.  I knew that I HAD to step away.  In doing so, I also vowed to step away from critiquing other photographer’s work (because photographers are a tight knit community and we are often asking each other for critique of our work and always willing to help each other out).  I was finding that I was seeing negative first, noticing the little things that should be different in a photo, in order for a photo to be perfect.  And I was realizing that perfection is overrated.  In trying to be perfect, I found I was losing site of myself as an artist, seeing the negative first, and finding that my style was becoming lost in this sea of photos that are constantly flowing through the internet.  I knew that I needed change.

Just before I shut down the photography forums, and stepped away, I chanced upon a wonderful blog post written by the extra-ordinary Diana Palmer of Yan Photography.  Her blog post went viral.  It was called “Sick of It” (you should read it if you haven’t already).  Her predicament struck a cord with me and I fell in love with her attitude and her confident voice.  I dove deep into reading her heart-felt blog.  What I didn’t realize then, is that this one blog post would lay the foundation of my journey for the next 5 months.  I learned that Yan was shooting film and was part of a growing number of photographers who were still shooting film, and joining them were other photographers also turning back to film.  I was intrigued.  I loved film photography as a kid.  I loved winding to the next frame and waiting for the roll to be developed.  I was more than intrigued, I was beginning to find my direction again!  This was the start of a new path of self discovery.  I picked up a film camera at a local camera shop.  I began reading book after book on the subject, falling more in love each day with the unique beauty of portraits on film.  I started to buy film and I broke my ‘no internet’ pact and found a group of film photographers dedicated to helping others starting out.  I was hooked!  I was happy to slow down and enjoy photography again.  Shooting film forces you to slow down, there is no LCD on the back of the camera and each frame costs money.  And then you have to wait patiently to see the fruit of your labors.

It’s this wonderful and patient process of learning about film, shooting film and waiting for film to be developed where this blog post picks up.  In April, I was excited to meet up with Becky, an Arlington photographer, also shooting film.  I drove down to meet her and spend the afternoon talking about photography, film, metering and shooting.  I brought my digital camera along too (because I haven’t yet gained enough confidence in this new journey to shoot film exclusively and I wanted to be able to fall back on my digital images, just in case) and had a great afternoon shooting Becky’s adorable family.  Those scans FINALLY arrived last night and it’s an understatement to say that my heart was racing with anticipation as I opened my e-mail and began downloading the image files.

For me, embracing film is embracing a more organic side of photography where grain is beautiful and skin isn’t souped into model perfection and pores actually exist on skin.  While embracing film I have found that I am also embracing the imperfect photo, where motion blur shows life and the photography is about the moment.  A real moment without a head swapped in Photoshop to create the perfect combination.  I feel alive again.

Here it is, my first kind-sorta-portrait session mostly on film, and I am absolutely wearing my heart on my sleeve by sharing these here.  Details | Nikon F5 with Kodak Portra 160 and Fuji 400H | Nikon Digital.

hello film

Bellingham Washington Family Photographer Bellingham Children Portrait Photographer Fun Children's Photographer Bellingham Children Baby and Family Portraits Washington State Children's Photographer Fuji 400H Film Portraits Bellingham Washington Greater Seattle Family Portraits Whatcom County Photographer Images by Kristin Bellingham Family Photographer Whatcom County Film Photographer Bellingham Children's Portraits Bellingham Film Photographer Images by Kristin Children's Portraits Natural Family Portraits Bellingham Family Portrait Photographer Images by Kristin Bellingham Family Photographer

P.S.  Doesn’t Becky have the absolutely COOLEST camera?

Last week, the Pacific Northwest was hit with a winter storm that left us stranded at home due to snow, wind and ice for 5 consecutive school days.  During that winter storm, I am sad to admit that I didn’t take a single photo.

Day 1.  I did not take any pictures of my boys playing in the snow because I knew there were would be time later, with “plenty of snow” in our forecast.  On day 1 of our snow days I missed photos of the building of the igloo and snow ball fights.  I missed images of us sitting around the kitchen table drinking hot chocolate with swirls of whipped cream.  I missed capturing the wide-eyed excitement of my boys enjoying Winter’s first snow.

Day 2.  While on the phone with fellow Life Story Photographer Laura with Laura Morita Photography, I proclaimed to her my decision that my Life Story images needed to be 1) in “portrait worthy” attire, and 2) worthy of being framed on the wall.  I told Laura that because my son’s hair was too long, that I wasn’t worried about taking any pictures of the boys during their snow days, because I wouldn’t be using it for a Life Stories project.  Consequently, on day 2 of our snow days, I missed photos of the boys sledding on the front hill, roasting marshmallows in the fireplace, bundled up boys with layers of coats and scarves, cold noses and a dog with adorable snow paw prints.

Day 3.  I came to my senses.  What kind of mom am I to skip pictures of my son because of his hair?  I love those thick, tousled curls.  What kind of mom am I that I won’t take pictures of my kids in everyday clothes?  Is not the true portrait of my oldest son a boy who wears shorts in the winter and a football jersey at every opportunity?  I put my foot down to the nonsense.  I made a new declaration.  I was not going to let my life memories be held hostage to haircuts (or lack thereof) or so-called portrait worthy clothes.  I was going to embrace the everyday moments, embrace the snow, and take pictures!  I was excited about the day.  I didn’t have a plan, but the day was going to be “our day” and I was once again, going to document the memories.

On Day 3, in preparation for “our day”, while the winds gusted with a shivery 3-degree wind chill factor, I started early and cleaned and vacuumed the house, I made a homemade coffee cake that made the house warm with the smell of vanilla and cinnamon, I built a cozy fire in the fireplace and prepared ourselves for fun (Monopoly anyone?).  And then, just as quickly as I had decided to embrace our everyday moments in pictures, I was thrown another curveball.  I had stepped outside to restock the firewood and while carrying a large load of firewood in my hands, I stepped back onto our wood floors into an unseen puddle of snow that had fallen inside.  Before I could catch myself, I slipped and fell to the ground pounded by the 7 pieces of firewood I had in my arms.  I hollered.  I screamed.  I even cried.  I definitely scared the boys.  I had severely bashed my forearm (which was bleeding) and smashed a finger that was turning a dark shade of blue.

Day 4.  The snow turned to ice.

Day 5.  The snow melted.

And I don’t have a single picture.

How is this related to The Life Stories Project?  Well, I was blessed to finally realize that life is “Perfectly Imperfect”.  That while I love a classic portrait with boutique clothes and impeccable styling, I had somehow lost sight of my roots in photography, and my love for authentic and real moments.  I love my kids for who they are, and it is the everyday moments that I desperately want to hold onto.  When I slipped, I realized that sometimes in life you fall, and sometimes you can’t hold on.  So while I can, I am going to embrace the imperfect moments and hold onto them for as long as I can.

As my arm and finger heal, I am left to think about the perfectly imperfect photos that are buried in the gigabyte cobwebs of my computer.  Lost there, or not there at all, due to my ridiculous standards I have imposed for “perfect portraits”.  Perfect is overrated.  Perfect is boring.

This month, my project is to resurrect a few lost images and embrace them for what they are: wonderful images of my family, perfect in EVERY way.  With an open heart and mind, I am now embracing their perfectly imperfect moments and welcoming them not only onto my walls, but also into my portrait work (this is life changing, really!).

This is Life.  Perfectly imperfect.  The times that we want to remember.

I love the lazy days of summer, when you roll out of bed, eat breakfast, and throw on some clothes to run outside and pick the juiciest blackberries before the birds get there first.  That’s the way it was this day.  A fun morning picking blackberries with my sister and my nieces.  I later taught my sister how to can homemade blackberry jam.

Blackberry Picking Time

Do you remember the nights when you could snuggle with your kids and read them bedtime stories.  Do you remember when they were EXCITED for the story?  Did you also have one that would listen intently and then the another that would be lost in her own world?

Story Time at Bed Time

Do you remember when playtime was your day’s only appointment?  A time to be carefree.

Play Time

(Sadly, this is also a eulogy for Humphrey the Hamster (honorary class pet of my niece’s classroom).  While my nieces so lovingly doted upon Humphrey while in their care, he met his demise to a dog, while being cared for at another classmate’s home.  RIP Humphrey.  You were a good hamster.)

To add insult to injury, here are my memories of 2012’s first snow.

Snow Time | The First Snow of 2012

Thank you snow storm of 2012.  Somewhere along my photographic journey, I fell out of step with my true self and drifted away from the photography that I love and cherish, photography that speaks of the essence of a child.  It IS those imperfect moments that I love the most.  Thank you snow storm of 2012.  You have opened my eyes AGAIN to the magic and purity of photography and the importance of tightly holding on to our everyday memories.  You never know when YOU will slip and fall and be unable to hold on.  Are you prepared?

Thank you for allowing me to a bit long-winded this month. Thankfully, photography is more than an occupation for me.  It is a journey.  A journey where I am continually finding myself and growing in character.  When I am lost, I am grateful that the journey has provided a path to get back on track.

The next Life Story in the chain is by my friend Laura from Laura Morita Photography.  She’s a rare and unique talent in photography.  You are lucky if you live in the San Francisco Bay area, because you can pick up the phone and book her right now.  You can read her Life Story post HERE.