b&w museums and my failures with film

The first time I ever used black and white film, I was at the Portland Art Museum using my Olympus 30 RC point & shoot camera. This camera was the absolute bane of my existence. I got it for $15 at a garage sale, and I could not figure out how to focus the thing. Turns out, you can’t really focus point and shoot cameras, thus the name. Learning film is a process, folks, and I am only just beginning. (PS – if anyone knows something about how the focus works on this camera, I would love to hear about it!)

Fortunately, some of these pictures turned out, and I discovered a love for shooting black and white film at artistic locations. I tried doing a second roll on that camera and the film jammed and I accidentally ruined the entire roll trying to get it unjammed. Third time’s the charm, though, right? Wrong.

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There were a couple more failed attempts at capturing life on this camera. I got my film back from the Tulip Festival and cried when not one single shot came out focused.
 

I came very close to giving up entirely, and then I turned around within the hour and bought a Pentax K1000 off of Craigslist. Within the next hour I was downtown at the local university taking trial pictures.

After I got these shots back, I was relieved that I could actually figure out how to focus images. These pictures gave me hope that I could actually get better. The rest has been a learning experience with many patient friends and family as I tried out different shots at different locations with different people, many times in rivers or the rain (sorry Adriana). But one thing I never gave up on was taking black and white photos at museums. So when I got to go to The Getty with my family a few weeks ago, I saw an opportunity to redeem myself.

Not all of the pictures turned out perfect or even completely in focus, but it’s a step forward. There’s something unique about taking photos of art and removing the color. It forces you to look at the simple shape and construction of the works – how do the shadows work together to make up the figure? What is it that determines how a piece makes someone really feel? What shapes did the artist prioritize?

Fun fact, for a time in my life I wanted to be an art historian. I was also really into studying world religions. But my focus has always been on writing and book publishing, so I didn’t have time nor the resources to look into those subjects more. While I might not be able to justify taking college classes or paying money to study these things full time, I can combine these interests with other hobbies. It sometimes seems impossible to get started on any side project with limited schedules. We can only dedicate so much time to our hobbies before having to return to work (unless, of course, you’re one of the lucky ones who makes a living off your hobby). But if you go outside the box, you might be surprised at the paths you discover. Try combining some of your passions to save time – you never know what the outcome might be.

McIntire Wedding // What I’m doing with photography

Last week I had the honor of shooting my very first wedding.

I’m very humbled that my lovely friend, Liz, asked me to do this. She’s also a photographer. I met her through grad school at Portland State.

The thing that I learned pretty quickly with shooting weddings is that it’s more than just a typical portrait shoot. You’re not just taking pictures of a subject or an event – you’re taking pictures of one of the most important days in someone’s life. It really hit me during the ceremony. I was humbled. Not only was I allowed to witness this beautiful moment, I was asked to capture it on camera. Amazing.

Maybe this feeling of overwhelming  humility wears off over time, but I really hope not. I’m not planning on going into photography as a full-time career path. I plan on keeping it as a side thing. Mostly, I do photography for publicity and social media. But if a friend asks me to take headshots or they need someone to take some pictures at an event for their website, I’m more than willing to step in and help. Being asked to do a wedding is such an honor to me. It blows my mind that I would be given the important task of capturing the whole day – forever. Being asked to capture something like this is no small request, and I cannot thank Liz enough for trusting me with this.

I’m not going to call myself an official photographer. That’s why photography is not at the top of my services page; I’ve got a lot of other things going on right now. I’m technically working three jobs at the moment, so starting my own photography business honestly sounds like a nightmare. There are a lot of other more well-established photographers who have put much more time and work into getting where they are. Trust me when I say they deserve your money a lot more than I do. In fact, I can even recommend some to you if you’d like.

Maybe down the road photography will become more of a frontlist business project for me, but for now, it provides a great hobby that gives me a break from reading and writing all the time. Don’t get me wrong – I love reading and writing. That’s why I’m in the publishing business. But I need other creative outlets outside of those things. Besides playing viola and taking pictures, I’ve also started drawing. Trust me when I say I’m no Picasso, but it’s still a great way to give my mind a break and my hands something to do. I’m one of those people that can’t really stop moving, unfortunately. It’s more of a curse than a blessing.

While I’m here mostly to talk about why I’m not calling myself an official photographer, I want to make it clear that I am still beyond grateful to take part in something like Liz’s wedding. She’s a beautiful bride. I mean, look at her.

Photography is a special and intricate thing. It opens doors into special moments in someone’s life that you wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise witness. I’m excited moving forward. And, as always, if you’re interested in any of my services, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Congratulations to Brian & Liz!

Opal Creek 7.4.18

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Yesterday, I went to Opal Creek for the first time ever. I know. A true Oregonian who has never hiked Opal Creek? What have I even been doing with my life?

The place was beautiful. It really lived up to the hype. But what made more of an impression on me was the eerie abandoned mines near the creek. Me and two girls were exploring off the main trail when we found some of these mine entrances that give off total horror-story vibes. I wrote a nosleep story to go with one of the pictures I took – will post later.

The girls I went with are currently in high school, and I’m so glad I went with them instead of the usual crowd. They dragged me all the way up the river. Like, literally through the river. We didn’t hardly even hike the main trail, and it was great. At one point, I slipped on a rock and fell completely in the water. Yes, I was wearing my camera. But don’t worry; I made sure to fall backwards.

There’s something great about finding friends that are willing to go out of their comfort zone and just dive into the water. Find yourself a couple people you can always rely on to go on adventures. You’ll be surprised at the places they’ll take you.

stahlman point // detroit, oregon

If you’re ever in the PNW around Salem, Oregon, I highly encourage you to take the trip out to Stahlman Point. It’s a 5-mile hike round-trip up a hill overlooking Detroit Lake and the surrounding valley. Both times I’ve done it I’ve tried to get to the top by sunrise, but I always vastly underestimate my physical ability and the time the sun actually rises. The view is so worth it.