I haven’t been posting many of my personal sessions, and it’s so fun to post them, because I can use them to try out new film stocks, practice fun techniques, and just marvel in the beauty of film! So I loaded up a camera with Lomography 100 and went with the cousins and my Jane to the Thanksgiving Point Butterfly Exhibit. Perfect place for a fun colorful stock! Here are some of my faves.
I have come across a few people posting photos they’ve taken with film over the last several months, and though mildly impressed, I was a little confused as to WHY. Leave it to photographer Stephanie Bryan, who explained why she chose film during a Q&A at Insta Inspire Retreat, to convert the entire room in 5 minutes. I went home and bought a used Canon Rebel 2000 film camera on Amazon for $35 and some random rolls of film, and I was off! Little did I know there’s so much to learn about film stock, metering, rating, exposure, labs and how to choose one and communicate with them, etc! I was fairly certain my first two rolls I sent in were going to be either all white OR all black, and I wasn’t sure which!
But the experience I had while TAKING this very first roll was worth it. I'll explain about that in a minute.
When I finally got my scans back from Indie Film Lab, I might have shed a little tear. They were beautiful, despite my Fuji Superia 800 film 2 stops overexposed, my guessing without a light meter, and my not quite being sure how to focus my camera. I had just spent hours editing a session from a month before, and then these arrived and they were done. A couple needed straightening. I may have tried to get that 800 ISO grain under control a bit. But otherwise, no culling, no editing, no fretting. They were just...finished.
I even find I LOVE photos I probably would have thrown away. There are some that might never have seen the light of day if I’d take 5 other almost identical shots, but I love them for their authenticity.
Ok, so let's talk about that very first shoot.
With digital, it’s not unusual for me to take hundreds of shots in just a few minutes, constantly looking at the back of the camera, trying to get the kids to do something again or something different. Then I am anxious to get inside, go through those hundreds of shots and find keepers. I’ll spend an hour or two editing and finally have 20-30 shots I love and will never do anything with besides post a few. In the meantime, I’ve missed my kids actually having fun and being kids. I do my best to just capture the moment and be there, but sometimes it’s just more about photography and that’s that.
So when Stephanie Bryan described this exact scenario and said it made her put down her camera for a long time, I think every mom in the room could relate. Then she explained how film fixed all of that.
I was skeptical, but I thought it would be a good challenge, so I jumped on board. Then one day when I was all set, and the light was beautiful and it was warm and summery, I threw some dresses on my girls and pulled their hair into messy ponytails and asked if they’d like to go to a meadow with me. We even decided to bring the dog.
What happened next was pure magic. When I saw something beautiful happening, I took a shot. One. I asked them to sit down for a bit and then just let them kind of talk and play and took a couple more. The dog ran around having the most fun and made them laugh. They hid in the long grass and enjoyed the summer air and being sisters.
Then the roll (24 shots) was done. I didn’t have another camera—not even my phone. I couldn’t look at them or edit when i got home so there was no need to rush. So I sat, and they played, and I watched and played too. Magic, people.
I sent in my film and waited (patience?!). When the scans arrived, they were beautiful. I didn’t wish there were more or that they were different. They were just “perfect.” Just like that.
If that doesn’t make you want to try film, I don’t know what will. I’m not done with digital, but people, I’m pretty sold. Magic!!!
It's time for my November edition of my "Camera Day" where I take my camera with me everywhere I go! My kids are really starting to hate this day. HA! This time, I decided to do strict documentary style. That means, I was not allowed to direct or change anything, just observe and capture. No turning off lights, no asking Nora to move to the window . . . nothing. I also had to deal with teens who do NOT appreciate being documented. But I was determined to do it nonetheless, so I told my Ethan that I wouldn't ever get his face in the shot, and he was ok with that. Then we had a big discussion about why in the world I even want to do this.
So, one reason is because I am just trying to shoot every day, do personal and creative shoots, and Just get better and grow, right? And also because I was taking a documentary class, and I wanted to give that a go. But why do my camera day? It's my journal right now. I'm not necessarily blogging regularly on my personal blog, I'm not even currently writing in my daily journal/to-do list because I'm too busy even for that! So how do I tell the story of our lives right now, from the crazy mess that I don't have time to clean up to the silliness of Nora changing into 5 dress-ups per day? I take pictures. That's it.
This day, I took 1400 photos and narrowed it down to around 400. Yikes! I think I finally edited around 100. I'll share WAY less than that here, of course, but wow, it was an interesting exercise to really document our lives, instead of slowly watching for artistic moments. Of course, I still tried to do it artistically . . .
I actually got some of my very favorite shots this day. I love it! Documentary is definitely something I am drawn to, and even though I sometimes feel like there's a laziness to it, there are definitely challenges as well!
So here you go. A typical November Day In the Life of Cami Turpin. :)
And that is our typical November day! You'll notice it's mostly Nora, but she's the one that's home . . . and willing to have photos taken. I hope you enjoyed our little foray into documentary style, and maybe we'll revisit this another time.
Ever since I discovered this new photography education site--ClickinMoms--I have been a bit obsessive when it comes to taking inspirational breakouts and workshops. I just can't turn down a great way to learn a new way of looking at photography. One recent breakout I did (Luminous, Magical, and Memorable: Learning to Shoot for Light First with Nicole Houser) was all about light and how to use it creatively, especially in my home. I had never even thought to look for sun flare or use golden hour inside my house. And I avoided direct light through a window at all costs! But just a PDF and a couple videos and I was off on an adventure that would change my photography forever. I'm really in love with some of the images I got, and I've been using the inspiration ever since. Take a look at some of my favorite shots!
Ok, friends! Time to start a blog here on my website. :) What better place to start than a Day In the Life photography assignment? It will give you a little snapshot of who I am, and what I'm trying to do with photography.
One thing I LOVE to do, and will probably continue to do whenever I have time, is to take classes, workshops, breakout sessions, etc., to get some inspiration, learn new techniques, and continually improve in my photography. This will be a great place to post my assignments and link from my Facebook page.
I'm currently taking a photography workshop on Clickin Moms right now called Finding the Classic Beauty in your Every Day with Meg Loeks. This week's assignment was to carry our cameras with us for one whole day, finding beauty and trying to capture it. It's the kind of assignment I LOVE, because it combines photography, art, and journaling into one project. Although I didn't get any favorite images out of it, it was great to start looking with fresh eyes, see a typical day through images, and capture some important things. My photos may not be my favorite artistically, but they all have a special place in my heart and document something real and beautiful to me. I've decided I will probably do a camera day once per month, and I'm sure it will be a great journal project as well as a way to see if I'm improving in my art.
This particular day is Tuesday, October 3rd. Typical fall day.
Although I LOVE my room and my bed, I didn't take any photos of my very end of the day, because I just needed some actual down time without kids or cameras. :) Also, there was a giant pile of laundry needing to be folded on my floor, and that was NOT artistic. So that is the end of my day!
Great exercise! I recommend it to everyone, even if you only use your phone camera to do the documenting. It definitely made a difference in my day when I was on the lookout for beauty. I think it may even be more powerful when I'm doing it truly for myself and not an assignment. Look for the beauty in your every day, and it might just help you see it when life feels dark and hopeless, like it did to me at the beginning of the day. :)