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My Very First Film Session

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!!!
 

DIL Documentary Session ~ November Camera Day

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. 


Find me on Facebook at bluehillimages or Instagram at bluehillimages.

Playing with Light | Personal Session {Utah Photographer}

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! 

DIL ~ Day in the Life photography ~ Personal session

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.

This was the first photo I took. It was early in the morning, very dark, and everyone was just getting up and getting on with their day. The day before, Monday, October 2nd, was the day the Las Vegas shooting was all over the news. I have to admit, sometimes when horrible things like this happen, I ignore them. I feel very deeply about things like this, and sometimes I can't deal with them right away. I push it to the back of my mind and let it kind of sit there, waiting to be processed. So I hadn't read a single thing about the shooting all of Monday. On Tuesday morning, I felt like it was time. I wanted to know more about it, I wanted to read some stories, I wanted to let myself acknowledge it and deal with it. I was doing just that when Nora came and sat down on my lap, and I saw her face illuminated by the screen and decided it was my first shot. I only took one photo, because I wanted to preserve the moment, but not make it about photography, so it's not perfect, and it's definitely not flattering or beautiful in the way you'd think, but it was exactly the moment I wanted to preserve, and it captures my mood and the feeling of the experience. It's probably my favorite image of the day for this reason, and it set the tone for the rest of the photographs. We were also challenged to get in the frame this week, and I felt like this was the perfect time, even though I was in PJs and not ready for the day in any way. It adds to the story.

This was the first photo I took. It was early in the morning, very dark, and everyone was just getting up and getting on with their day. The day before, Monday, October 2nd, was the day the Las Vegas shooting was all over the news. I have to admit, sometimes when horrible things like this happen, I ignore them. I feel very deeply about things like this, and sometimes I can't deal with them right away. I push it to the back of my mind and let it kind of sit there, waiting to be processed. So I hadn't read a single thing about the shooting all of Monday. On Tuesday morning, I felt like it was time. I wanted to know more about it, I wanted to read some stories, I wanted to let myself acknowledge it and deal with it. I was doing just that when Nora came and sat down on my lap, and I saw her face illuminated by the screen and decided it was my first shot. I only took one photo, because I wanted to preserve the moment, but not make it about photography, so it's not perfect, and it's definitely not flattering or beautiful in the way you'd think, but it was exactly the moment I wanted to preserve, and it captures my mood and the feeling of the experience. It's probably my favorite image of the day for this reason, and it set the tone for the rest of the photographs. We were also challenged to get in the frame this week, and I felt like this was the perfect time, even though I was in PJs and not ready for the day in any way. It adds to the story.

This image is of my daughter and her friend Summer waiting for their carpool. I just loved the soft cool morning light. This window is usually blown out completely when I shoot near it, so I liked how you could really see out to the road and the neighborhood. It also shows their little friendship that is strong and volatile, like sisters.

This image is of my daughter and her friend Summer waiting for their carpool. I just loved the soft cool morning light. This window is usually blown out completely when I shoot near it, so I liked how you could really see out to the road and the neighborhood. It also shows their little friendship that is strong and volatile, like sisters.

I call this one "Battle Stations." My favorite time of the day is when I've finally got everyone off to school and settled, and I have a minute (sometimes just a minute) to sit down and plan my day in my meticulously designed daily planner. My pot of Crio Bru is handy at all times, of course. Usually the sun is shining in warm and beautifully, and I find a sunny spot to sit and figure out my day. My puppy Luna decided to join me, and she is welcome as long as she doesn't ruin the moment. I didn't feel like she ruined the shot. :)

I call this one "Battle Stations." My favorite time of the day is when I've finally got everyone off to school and settled, and I have a minute (sometimes just a minute) to sit down and plan my day in my meticulously designed daily planner. My pot of Crio Bru is handy at all times, of course. Usually the sun is shining in warm and beautifully, and I find a sunny spot to sit and figure out my day. My puppy Luna decided to join me, and she is welcome as long as she doesn't ruin the moment. I didn't feel like she ruined the shot. :)

I teach a preschool gymnastics class in my home, and this morning was one of my gym days. I always have the kids draw a picture on the chalk wall over their name, in case they don't know what their name looks like and they need to remember where to sit when I tell them to go to their spot. :) I love this cute girl's long ponytail and hand on the wall.

I teach a preschool gymnastics class in my home, and this morning was one of my gym days. I always have the kids draw a picture on the chalk wall over their name, in case they don't know what their name looks like and they need to remember where to sit when I tell them to go to their spot. :) I love this cute girl's long ponytail and hand on the wall.

I also took this one to actually show some action during gym! I didn't quite use a fast enough shutter speed, but it captures the feeling of the moment.

I also took this one to actually show some action during gym! I didn't quite use a fast enough shutter speed, but it captures the feeling of the moment.

Battle stations part 2? HA! After gym, I decompressed with another cup of Crio and some social media.

Battle stations part 2? HA! After gym, I decompressed with another cup of Crio and some social media.

My office/library is where I spend a LOT of my time during the day, especially when I'm editing. It's my favorite room in the house (closely followed by my bedroom), and I wanted to show its inviting beauty. 

My office/library is where I spend a LOT of my time during the day, especially when I'm editing. It's my favorite room in the house (closely followed by my bedroom), and I wanted to show its inviting beauty. 

My view FROM my office is also important, especially since it currently features a tee pee. :)

My view FROM my office is also important, especially since it currently features a tee pee. :)

I'm kind of a homebody, and don't usually venture out for an actual outing unless someone invites me along. My sis Elise makes it a habit of going to IKEA on Tuesdays for kids eat free day. So, we grabbed our preschoolers, met up with my parents, picked up my brother who works a block away from IKEA, and got our meatballs. :)Is there any question about where we are in this picture?

I'm kind of a homebody, and don't usually venture out for an actual outing unless someone invites me along. My sis Elise makes it a habit of going to IKEA on Tuesdays for kids eat free day. So, we grabbed our preschoolers, met up with my parents, picked up my brother who works a block away from IKEA, and got our meatballs. :)Is there any question about where we are in this picture?

I took lots of "artsy" photos of the aisles and displays at IKEA, but they didn't tell a story, unlike this one. This could be titled, "Every Preschooler at IKEA. Ever."

I took lots of "artsy" photos of the aisles and displays at IKEA, but they didn't tell a story, unlike this one. This could be titled, "Every Preschooler at IKEA. Ever."

I was trying to get her reflection, but she was too fast, which is also a story. I love the tape measure in her hand. :)

I was trying to get her reflection, but she was too fast, which is also a story. I love the tape measure in her hand. :)

My puppy has been an enormous presence in my life for the last several months. I never expected to be a pet person, but my children--especially my son on the autism spectrum--are terrified of animals. Nothing to be done about that except constant exposure. So after warming up with a cat, when the opportunity to be a guardian family for a breeding dog for our neighbors came up, we took it. (She is our dog, but this family will breed her 4 times.) It has been challenging and time consuming, and she's still very spunky, but we love her. I walk her several times a day and do some training, so I needed this to be part of my day.

My puppy has been an enormous presence in my life for the last several months. I never expected to be a pet person, but my children--especially my son on the autism spectrum--are terrified of animals. Nothing to be done about that except constant exposure. So after warming up with a cat, when the opportunity to be a guardian family for a breeding dog for our neighbors came up, we took it. (She is our dog, but this family will breed her 4 times.) It has been challenging and time consuming, and she's still very spunky, but we love her. I walk her several times a day and do some training, so I needed this to be part of my day.

HAHA! I just thought it was cool that I caught her little yawn.

HAHA! I just thought it was cool that I caught her little yawn.

I was driving my Jane to her piano lesson, and Nora climbed in the front seat and hung her little self out the window. Since I couldn't drive anywhere, I took pictures. :)

I was driving my Jane to her piano lesson, and Nora climbed in the front seat and hung her little self out the window. Since I couldn't drive anywhere, I took pictures. :)

Another little still life. My mom gave me this little succulent and it sits by my sink. Sometimes she takes it away and prunes it and adds things, like these little shells. :) It's just cheery.

Another little still life. My mom gave me this little succulent and it sits by my sink. Sometimes she takes it away and prunes it and adds things, like these little shells. :) It's just cheery.

I always love the reflection of Jane's hands in the piano during her lesson. 

I always love the reflection of Jane's hands in the piano during her lesson. 

My Nora takes baths at all times of the day. And in my bath. Silly girl. She was playing peekaboo with her cute toes just then, so I grabbed the shot.

My Nora takes baths at all times of the day. And in my bath. Silly girl. She was playing peekaboo with her cute toes just then, so I grabbed the shot.

While I was meeting a friend to walk dogs (again), my girls were out playing at the park just before golden hour. Luckily I had my camera handy, of course, and got some cute shots of them together. (Apparently, I hardly saw my teenage boys on this day!)

While I was meeting a friend to walk dogs (again), my girls were out playing at the park just before golden hour. Luckily I had my camera handy, of course, and got some cute shots of them together. (Apparently, I hardly saw my teenage boys on this day!)

I don't love anything I got at Costco, but I wanted to document that I actually had my camera out the whole time we were shopping! :) This was a little date night for our monthly restock at Costco with my husband. 

I don't love anything I got at Costco, but I wanted to document that I actually had my camera out the whole time we were shopping! :) This was a little date night for our monthly restock at Costco with my husband. 

Of course, since we were at Costco, and buying a pizza for the kids, I got some sushi for myself and ate it on my cute sushi plate hand made by my wonderful college friend, Anne. (I guess I enjoy a bottom-left composition, I found out throughout this day. Not to self: next time, try something new.)

Of course, since we were at Costco, and buying a pizza for the kids, I got some sushi for myself and ate it on my cute sushi plate hand made by my wonderful college friend, Anne. (I guess I enjoy a bottom-left composition, I found out throughout this day. Not to self: next time, try something new.)

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. :)


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