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Sometimes a simple shoot can wind up your favorite. I love when the weather clears un-expectedly and I’m able to put together something fun last minute. When the sun comes out in November here in Oregon, all the photographers emerge, groggy eyed like vampires …cameras in tow. This last minute portrait shoot with Malaika was no different.

Mamiya 645 AF | 80mm F/2.8 Lens | Kodak Portra 800 Film | Scans by PhotoVision

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Co-Stylist + Location Assistance | Gina Neal Photography

Model Malaika McNamara

Location | Sandy River Delta in Troutdale, OR

Posted in Photographs
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More than any other kind of photographic moment, be it landscape, florals, or journalistic moments — I love portraiture. I love nothing more than expressing somebody’s soul on camera…if I’m lucky enough to pull it off.

I don’t know if I did…and I don’t know that my thoughts about the people below are even accurate having known them so briefly – but this is how they struck me and what informed how I took their photo.

Brooke (the first photo above) was one of my roommates, somebody who I enjoyed talking with and is a very interesting person. She has been through a lot in the past couple years and has a lot of wisdom born from the difficulties life can bring. Despite all that, she is a funny and engaging person with a light spirit who I really enjoyed getting to know. She is humble and doesn’t take herself too seriously, even though she really could because she’s totally beautiful and incredibly gifted.

Mamiya 645 AF | 80mm F/2.8 Lens | Kodak Portra 800 | Scans by PhotoVision 

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While I watched Jonathan Canlas work with this family, I had decided not to shoot at all so that I could absorb whatever I could learn from how he works. However, this little girl had a quiet way about her that I thought was so sweet. In a brief moment while her parents were being photographed together, she was standing by herself kicking rocks around and I was able to quickly pull out my camera and take one image. While I know nothing about this little girl, my gut tells me this image represents her shy personality pretty accurately.

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Maja was our model who worked really hard, never complained and talked to everyone with a spritely, joyful enthusiasm that I’ve only encountered a few times in my life. She is full of sweetness and legitimately loves everyone…judged nobody and treated everyone with respect. In a western world that has grown so entitled, Maja seemed completely contented and grateful to be right where she was, and nothing but a desire to absorb it fully. I was able to shoot this brief portrait of her during some downtime between shoots. It’s my favorite image from the whole workshop.

All images taken at the Forage + Fern Workshop in Galiano Island, British Columbia.

Posted in Photographs
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The final wedding shoot of the Forage + Fern workshop (that I took part in) took place in a cove of sorts – there was just enough wind to create beautiful movement in the amazing Leanne Marshall gowns and the ocean took on a deep blue color. The algae that washed up on shore was deep emerald creating a very fairy-tale like environment. To be honest, during this part of the workshop I found myself a little anxious and distracted, worrying about some things at home that I had to face when I returned. I did not shoot as much as I usually would have, but instead tried to let the experience wash over me (no pun intended).

In fact, for the rest of workshop I chose to put my camera down (besides a few images here and there) so that I could ask questions and learn rather than worry about my portfolio. I missed out on some amazing photo opportunities, but I was able to absorb direction and receive encouragement much more when I let my camera go. It was hard, but I don’t regret the restraint I chose to embrace.

Mamiya 645 AF | 80mm F/28 Lens | Kodak Portra 800 + HP5 | Scans by PhotoVision

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I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to go on a road trip alone and do some thinking and pondering about life. I met so many amazing, encouraging people on this trip — and was wow’d by so many creative perspectives, business know-how and of course sheer talent. I found myself very emotional when I was alone in my room, feeling challenged of course in my photography…but also just to be more brave as a person and open up more.

Special thanks to Kate Holland of Magnolia Rouge for pouring so much heart and soul into all her creative communities over the years. It means so much to me and countless others.

All images taken at the Forage + Fern Workshop in Galiano Island, British Columbia.

Creative direction | Magnolia Rouge
Photography tutor | Brumley & Wells 
Photography tutor | Jonathan Canlas
Hair & make-up | Jess Wilcox 
Wedding gowns | Leanne Marshall 
Jewelry | Ryegrass Studios
Sponsor | The Find Lab 
Venue | Bodega Ridge
Scans + Processing | PhotoVision
Posted in Photographs
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We all woke at sunrise to photograph a gorgeous (and last minute) bonus shoot at the Foraged + Fern workshop. The mist had settled over the grass as the early morning sun began to rise from behind the pines. Our model Maja was probably so cold but never showed it. I remember somebody yelling out “you look like a baby fawn!” – she did! It was magical and probably my favorite shoot of the whole workshop. Enjoy 🙂

Mamiya 645 AF |  80mm F/2.8 lens | Kodak Portra 800 | Scans by PhotoVision 

*Black and white is Portra 800 converted to black and white in post due to lens flare — I used the HP5 Medium Format Mastin Labs preset, with my own custom tweaks. Sometimes that will save you if you get too much light in your glass! Sometimes, being the key word – better not to get light in your glass to begin with.

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All images taken at the Forage + Fern Workshop in Galiano Island, British Columbia.
Creative direction | Magnolia Rouge
Photography tutor | Brumley & Wells 
Photography tutor | Jonathan Canlas
Hair & make-up | Jess Wilcox 
Wedding gowns | Leanne Marshall 
Jewelry | Ryegrass Studios
Model | Maja Rohling
Sponsor | The Find Lab 
Venue | Bodega Ridge
Scans + Processing | PhotoVision
Posted in Photographs
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Mamiy645af | 80mm F/2.8 lens | Kodak Portra 800 | Scanned by PhotoVision

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I recently attended the gorgeous Forage + Fern workshop hosted by Magnolia Rouge. This lifestyle session is dripping in Pacific Northwest beauty – it was really fun to be able to celebrate the natural part of the world I love so much.

When attending a workshop, with such amazing photoshoots prepared for us – it’s tempting to click away and become obsessed with trying to get the shots you want for your portfolio. This time around, I wanted to focus on learning and perfecting my use of the Kodak Portra 800 film stock. The pacific northwest has deep shadows, yellowy greens and it can sometimes be tricky to find the right film stock to achieve the pastel tones I love…paired with a contrasty pop that I crave. Portra 800 has really solved my issue, along with metering a very specific way, every time. I know everybody loves the other two stocks (Kodak 400 and Fuji 400H) — and I do use them still — but I don’t enjoy pushing film (makes me nervous) and Portra 800 just gives me the wow factor I want every time. So if it ain’t broke…(boy does it hurt the bank though). I’m excited to say that most of these images needed zero editing or adjustments, thanks to the system I’m developing with my amazing lab, PhotoVision.

I didn’t come away with a gazillion images, but the ones that I took I made count. I did not give myself any permission to hit the shutter unless I was fully satisfied (which makes going through images later so much more satisfying). This also allowed me to ask more questions, observe our teachers and fellow attendees in action, as well as exercise a sense of restraint that I believe is helping me become the kind of photographer I want to be. I have a long journey ahead of me, but I feel I’m finally finding the direction I want to go.

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I met many amazing people and received the encouragement I so needed. It has been a difficult year personally for me…and that tends to trickle into your professional life if you are a creative. It was a wonderful feeling to explore Galiano, have some travel time alone and enjoy the lavish but cozy Bodega Ridge resort. It was a trip I won’t soon forget.

All images taken at the Forage + Fern Workshop in Galiano Island, British Columbia.

Creative direction | Magnolia Rouge 
Photography Tutor | Brumley & Wells
Hair & make-up | Jess Wilcox
Model | Maja Rohling
Photo Lab | PhotoVision