Photography…..could it be any better?

Our journey over the past year has now brought us to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. My family and I are thrilled to be back and I have to keep pinching myself so that I can really believe that we are back in Canada for good!

I am settling into my new job now too. I am really enjoying my work and am anxious to see the images I help to create in print! I am also getting anxious to get back to photographing portrait sessions. While I love my job, I do not get to photograph people. I really miss that interaction, and I really miss getting the chance to meet new people and watch their relationships reveil themselves to me through my lens! I think that has to be my favorite thing about portrait photography, I get to see all the love a family shares, and I capture it for all eternity! That’s a pretty awesome thing!

Its been hard to watch the calender over the past month and a half because it is the anniversary of our trip to Hallmark. I remember the landmark days so well. Leaving our beloved in house in MI, arriving in MA, the first day of school and then everyday after that when I fell in love with photography even more! I’m watching Hallmark’s week by week page to see what the new class is doing and as soon as I see the picture on the front page, I am thrown instantly back into my own experience….holding that medium format camera for the first time, my first field trip, the first guest speaker…it has been overwhelming to stand back and look at where we are now! I am making a career out of photography. Everyday, I get to live and breathe photography. That’s really cool!

Class of 2007 Graduates from Hallmark Institute of Photography

A year ago, I could not begin to even imagine all that I would learn, achieve, and do in ten short months. It has been an amazing ride and it ended with a fabulous send off, Hallmark’s Class of 2007 Graduation on June 22!

The setting was beautiful and despite a couple of rain delay’s, the graduation was a wonderful event. My mom, Norma, and my Auntie Carol traveled from Alberta, my father in law, Darrell, his partner in crime Maureen, and also my mother in law, Nancy and nephew Caleb all traveled from Michigan to attend!

The keynote address was given by photographer Lois Greenfield, I am a huge fan of her and had hoped to arrange assisting her in New York City but the timing never worked out. She has fantastic work and her speech was so inspiring!

The awards portion of the ceremony kicked off with a big surprise for me, the very first award was for the student obtaining the highest credit overall throughout the year, and they called my name! I was so shocked! I also received the perfect attendance award, along with four other students, and I also had my portfolio rank in the top ten percent of all portfolios in my graduating class of 188 students! I was so surprised! What a great ending to an amazing year. View all of my classes achievements at Hallmark’s News page

And now for life after Hallmark…… I am busy packing this week and making arrangements for us to move to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I have accepted a job offer at Ridge Rock Studios where I will work as a senior project manager and photographer! I am so excited and very anxious to get up there and get started working! When we told our children that we were moving to Canada, they ran and immediately packed their toy bags and had them waiting by the door in anticipation! After 11 years abroad, we are finally going home!!

A year after taking the risk to change my career to something that I truly love, I will be entering the work force in a job that I can’t wait to get to “work”!

Hallmark Institute of Photography Graduation

Hallmark Institute of Photography Graduation

Front and Center

Each week on Hallmark’s website, they write a summary of what the student’s are doing. This week, a photograph from my review is featured!

You can check out Hallmark’s site here It will only be up for a week! I grabbed a screen shot of it just in case its already gone!



The Gentle Giant

Today, I got another once in a lifetime opportunity, courtesy of Hallmark! I worked with a 20×24” Polaroid camera! There are only six of these cameras in the world and Polaroid is on the verge of discontinuing the film! It was yet another fun and amazing experience!

The only thing I could think of to photograph was my family but the exposures with the view camera are often long and it requires a vast amount of light so it is difficult to photograph small children with. The sheer size of it is enough to intimidate an adult, let alone a child! My children thought it was just as neat as I did and we managed to get two images with all of us looking and smiling! We could feel the heat rush coming at it as the wall of lights went off! We now have a rather unique and very large family portrait that few people in the world have!

One rather amusing tidbit we discovered this afternoon is that my children have no idea what “film” is! They think every camera has a little screen on back to view the image on! It was fun to watch them see the Polaroid process and their delight in seeing the “film” was great! Isn’t it amazing how far the world has come in the past few years? My seven year old does not know what film is and if she has a question she can’t answer, she automatically suggests we google it and find the answer on the internet!

The passing of one era, this beast of a camera will soon become a distant memory in the photography world and I for one find it quite sad. I am hoping this week to get another chance to work with it, only I want to try a still life with it! A two foot pear would be a rather interesting piece of artwork to put in our home!

The 20 x24 inch “portable” view camera:

The gentle giant, Dragon Hare Studios

Jorah stands with the view camera behind her:

Scale, Dragon Hare Studios

The wall of lights used to light our family picture – 3 separate 2400 w/s packs!


My instructors process the Polaroid by matching the negative in the upper chamber with the positive in the lower chamber. Hanging down would be the equivalent of what used to pop out the front of a little Polaroid camera.

Developing, Dragon Hare Studios

The image on the positive, Jorah and Kadin were fascinated by the process!

Magic, Dragon Hare Studios!

I Did It!!!

Today was my portfolio review and my final portfolio passed! I am so happy and relieved at the same time!

As the day wore on, I started to become more and more nervous. My daughter had begged me to come to my review because she really wanted to hear what they would say about my portraits. We talked to her about how she’d have to sit really still for a long time and her teacher even gave her a “practice” session that morning at school! Brian went to go and pick her up at lunch time and when they returned, they brought with them flowers and balloons! My heart melted and my nerves were steadied then! My seven year old daughter became my rock! She held my hand and snuggled up to me all afternoon behaving like a perfect angel, and when I heard those wonderful words of “portfolio accepted”, she brought me her flowers and said “I love you Mommy”! My gosh, she made me cry! The only thing missing from the event were my youngest two children but I knew there was no way they could have made it through the afternoon! This really was a family effort. My husband and my children were definately my biggest cheerleaders and supporters, as well as my most favorite models!

I had a fellow classmate, Chaz Cruz, photograph my review. It was fun to look back at them because I remember so little of the actual critique. I just remember hearing “Kimberly, portfolio accepted”

After being called to the stage, we wait to hear if my work is accepted:

Upon hearing the word “accepted”, I turn to Bri….


for a giant hug, Jorah jumps up to hug me too…
a mommy pile

Jorah then ran off the stage and brought her flowers to me. It melted my heart and the tears started…..
flowers for mommy

Pauline started the review with going over each of my images giving me suggestions for improvement…..

Pauline reviews

And here, Bobbi continued the critique after stopping to tell us that Jorah had made her cry too!


The panelists who are reviewing my portfolio are Bobbi Lane, Pauline St. Denis and David Silver. Bobbi and Pauline both spoke at Hallmark during the guest speaker series so it has been nice to see them both again.

The reviewers gave me some great positive feedback! It was a wonderful feeling to walk off the stage knowing that after all of the worries, hurdles, sacrifices and stress, I had really done it! My portfolio passed and I will graduate from Hallmark Insitute of Photography! Let the next chapter of our lives begin!

May 20, 2010 - 8:11 pm

Cody - Thanks for documenting the experience! I’m a prospective student who is reading through as many blogs of current and past students that I can find. This is great.

Also, wanted to bring your attention to the “i-did-it” entry – the photos have somehow gone missing… Thought you should know.