“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, a bridge to our future.” ~Alex Haley

It seems like only yesterday that I photographed my friend Ashley’s wedding. It’s been two years, and now she and her husband have two adorable daughters! I was delighted when she asked me to create some family images on film for them! Ashley is an amazing mama, a hard-working teacher, and a talented photographer. Her family was a delight to spend time with. I hope I see this beautiful family many times through my lens as these girls grow up!

I created these images with my Contax 645, my Nikon F100, and Portra 400.

“Family is one of nature’s masterpieces.” ~George Santayana

It’s important to give back to the community.  This summer, Henry joined the Heartland Youth Choir. Every fall, HYC has a silent auction fundraiser. I was asked to donate a family session, and I was happy to do so. Often these donated sessions go unused, so I was very happy to have the extended Grimaldi family schedule their session just a few weeks after the fundraiser. This family was an absolute delight to photograph! We had a little bit of a time crunch because of a family member’s deployment overseas and other family members’ scheduled committments. That meant we shot this at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning in below freezing temperatures. Most photographers would tell you that is a recipe for a nightmare session, but this family made it fun and memorable. I rarely shoot family sessions digitally any more, but I chose to use my digital camera this time so that the deploying family member could see the images before leaving. We created these images at my favorite local park, and I was excited to discover a fire pit hidden away in a far corner.  The blazing fire only added to this family’s loving warmth.

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” ~Calvin Coolidge

Sometimes I just need to take a time out and focus on what I want to know and get better at. This year has been a year of rediscovering why I love photography.  I took an online class, tried several new films, bought one new camera system, and acquired several new lenses.  Of the lenses I acquired, three are modified lenses from a guy named Tom in Poland who runs the Bokeh Factory.  Two of the three are fixed apertures at f/2, and one with a maximum aperture of f/1.4.  All of them are manual focus lenses.  I’d taken each one out with me on different sessions throughout the summer to shoot a roll or two, but I never really spent enough time with any of them to begin to know each one or to begin to feel confident with any of them.  I decided to do a session of personal work in which I brought no other cameras or lenses than these three and to shoot multiple rolls of film with each. The biggest challenges with these lenses for me is nailing focus–especially because the depth of field is so shallow at f/2. I know that the only way to get consistent is to practice.  This session was great practice.

I learned that the Contax Planar 50/1.4 on my Nikon F100 was the easiest to focus and works well with the focus confirmation light in the viewfinder. I learned that the Zeiss Planar 80/2 (the beloved lens of the Contax 645) is a little more challenging to focus but much easier to focus on the Pentax645nii at f/2 than it ever was on the Contax. However, I have to be careful using the focus confirmation light/beep on the Pentax 645nii because the focus area in the viewfinder is quite large.  It can grab focus on something close to what I want to focus on and give me confirmation, but it may not be what I want to be in focus. I think I’ll be better off in the long run focusing manually and trusting my eyes just like I do when I use that lens on the Contax. Yes, I still miss focus sometimes, but not as often.  I learned that the Cinelux is getting easier to focus on my Pentax 67 and I am getting more keepers every time I use it.  I’ve also discovered that I cannot use it in backlit situations because it creates a very unflattering lens flare that almost always has to be edited out.  I may have to devise some kind of lens hood for that lens.  I’ve also discovered that if I want the buttery textured bokeh that I love, I need to put the subject a few feet away from something with texture like leaves, grass, brick, or whatever.  And finally, I love how crisp and sharp each of these lenses are (when I focus correctly!) and how creamy smooth the bokeh looks. I may have to do a bokeh project next year where I shoot every session with one or more of my Bokeh Factory lenses all at f/2.

I’ve never done a sisters session before, but I’d love to do one again! I’m so grateful for friends with daughters who don’t mind modeling for me. These two girls are the sweetest set of sisters I know! They are as kind and humble as they are beautiful.  Both are talented and busy with activities, so we had been planning this session for the entire month of October.  Unfortunately, it rained every Saturday in October until the last, but by then, it had also gotten cold.  Our wardrobe plan of ivory cotton dresses was a little impractical.  To make the 30 degree weather bearable, I brought along my collection of vintage fur coats. I’ve known these girls since they were little because they are the same ages as my boys. They, too, are growing up way too fast! And I hope it will not be long before they are in front of my lenses again!

I created these images with my Pentax 645nii and a modified Zeiss Planar 80/2; my Pentax 67 and a modified Cinelux 110; my Nikon F100 and a modified Contax Planar 50/1.4; and Kodak Portra 160, Portra 400, and Kodak Gold 200.

“When the storm is over and night falls and the moon is out in all its glory and all you’re left with is the rhythm of the sea, of the waves, you know what God intended for the human race, you know what paradise is.” ~Harold Pinter

When your husband has a business trip to Maui, you don’t think twice about buying a ticket for yourself! Since this wasn’t our first trip to Maui and the last time we were there we did everything from taking a dinner cruise and a helicopter tour to snorkeling to watching the sunrise from Haleakela, we decided this trip would be a little more laid back with a lot more time on the beach.  So in between meetings we visited Lahina and spent the majority of our free time on the beach watching people and soaking up the sun, saltwater, and sand.

I created these images with my Rolleiflex, Nikonos V, Sprocket Rocket, Kodak Portra 400 and Ektar 100.

I also brought along my Super 8 movie camera and had a wonderful time documenting our trip.

Maui 2017

Uploaded by Jen Golay on 2017-11-23.

“Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.” ~ Eugene O’Neill

I sometimes fell frustrated and stuck in the quagmire of responsibility, parenthood, and the infinite lack of time. I want to travel to new places. I want to try all the cameras. Nothing I have or know is interesting any more. It’s a sick feeling, and there is no real cure for it. I’ve tried various remedies–buying a new camera. Planning a fantasy month of travel. Sulking. This time, out of frustration and to prove to myself how right I was that where I am is dull, I went to a place I’ve been to many times with the intention of demonstrating that I’ve seen it all.  I took my newest camera, a Hasselblad 500CM as a diversion. What I discovered was shocking! First, just walking through the trees in the fresh fall air will cure just about any ill. But most importantly, I haven’t seen it all.  There is always something new to discover if I look hard enough. So this is my new challenge: revisit places I’ve been to more than once and attempt to see them with new eyes. Ledges State Park was the first on my list.

I created these images with my Hasselblad 500CM and my Nikon F100, Kodak Gold 200 and Portra 160.