Jungle Fever

I realized when I posted these photos on my Instagram accounts that my photography Instagram (@vivianapodinaphotography) still says I’m participating (PROCRASTINATING) in the r/WeeklyPhotos 52 week challenge. However, I haven’t looked at that challenge since March. The year isn’t over yet and I’d really like to catch up and finish the challenge with everyone else, so in an effort to have no more “zero-days”, I’m going to challenge myself to finish this challenge.

That said, I didn’t go into these photos with the intent of them coming out how they did at all. I was simply happy with another great makeup look and wanted to capture it in photos.

I added freckles to my face with an eyebrow pencil, a makeup trend and trick that I feel adds more dimension to an overall look, but especially so in photography. One of my favorite photo aesthetics is that of Claire Luxton, who uses her Photoshop skills to hyper-intensify gorgeous details like freckles and gem-colored eyes to bring out her subjects. I used her photography as reference and inspiration while editing, and brought out my faux freckles in this series.

I watched a few of her videos on Youtube to see how she edits and I combined a couple new tricks from her style of editing with my own. I’m very pleased with how these photos turned out and I think I might have to do some Twitch streams again in the future of my photo-editing because this was honestly so much fun.

I use myself as my subject matter for portraits about 95% of the time, but I’d really like to expand that and test myself and my skills in bringing out other people’s personalities and stories through my photography.

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Poppy Fields and Memories

IT. HAS. BEEN. A. WHILE.

Have I been keeping up with the r/WeeklyPhotos 52 week challenge?

No. Because I suck. And I barely have time to do extracurricular activities outside of my work/gym, in truth. However, I am determined to catch up, so stayed tuned.

In order to balance out my schedule, I took the day off from the gym today and I had some time to shoot flowers around the house. Our gigantic rose bush is in bloom right now, but tonight I’m going to share my favorite photo of the poppies in our front garden.

My earliest memories of poppies hark back to summers in the country side of Romania. Our next door neighbors’ backyard was FILLED with poppies and toward the end of summer, their youngest daughter Maria and I would pick the dried pods and eat poppy seeds like they were candy.

I recall everyone telling me not to eat too much because it would make me fall asleep. But while Maria did pass the fuck out, I would be totally energized. They have the same effect to this day. These poppies, however, are nothing like the tennis ball sized beasts that grew as tall as my 5 year old self.

They’re gorgeous nonetheless, so please enjoy and come back for more photos soon! It’s flower season!

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Week 3: Full Manual x Technical

r/WeeklyPhotos week 3 challenge is Full Manual x Technical.

I captured this water droplet at Cranbrook on a windy day, precariously standing on a slope. It was physically challenging, as well as technically, since I was adjusting my focus manually and this branch would not sit still. But I’m thrilled with the capture and the way the photo came out overall.

I’m also pretty thrilled with my post-processing edit. I think I did a great job with adjusting the colors to my liking, but also to showcase the beauty of this shot more eloquently.

This week gave me the opportunity to step back into my comfort zone. As you all know by now, I absolutely adore photographing nature. It’s difficult to find flowers in their natural settings in the winter, but I’ll be damned if there aren’t interesting dead leaves (and the dirty ground…) to capture. Especially here in the Metro Detroit area.

Here’s the technical breakdown:

f/1.8
Exp 1/320
ISO 200
35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX NIKKOR lens

 

Week 2: Color Harmony x Composition

This week’s r/WeeklyPhotos photo challenge was color harmony x composition.

As someone whose photography is color harmony on crack (I mean, seriously, just look at my florals) I found this past week’s challenge actually challenging. I think the major reason is of course because of the season – I’d say my specialty is definitely floral photography, so when there’s no flowers to photograph, I’m out of my comfort zone.

But I took to the streets on Thursday, even got REALLY out of my comfort zone and photographed things in stores – which I’m always really leery about doing because I don’t want to get in trouble for “taking pictures of merchandise”.

Anyway, one of my stops of Cranbrook House and Gardens, which is more in my realm of comfort. I shot some neat photos of foliage and things like that, but I got a couple shots of a fallen piece of a pine tree against the red bricks in the wooded fountain across from the main entrance of the house.

The original photo is vastly underwhelming, and I’ll post it below. But I knew when I took the shot that it had potential post-processing, and I’m happy that I was right.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for photography and more, @vivianapodinaphotography

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Post-processing

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Original

Looking Ahead

Hey there! It’s been a hot minute – what else is new?

Truthfully, I have been absolutely spanked by this year’s holiday season, but they’re finally over and I finally have consecutive days of time off coming up and I’m thrilled because I have a bunch of stuff I need to do to “get my life back together” as it were.

Anyway, with this new year, comes new goals and aspirations.

This year, I’m participating in Reddit’s r/WeeklyPhotos 52-week photo challenge. If you’re interested in joining, here’s the welcome thread for the challenge.

I didn’t get a chance to post week one within week one on here (but I did on Instagram, @vivianapodinaphotography) so I’m posting it at the beginning of week two here, because by the time I decide what I want to do for week two, it’ll be later in the week anyway.

So week one’s theme was “look ahead” – cause you know, new year, new goals and stuff like that. It’s coupled with the category vision.

We’ve been letting my neighbor’s cat come inside cause it’s super cold out lately (like, single digit and negatives) so he can have a snack and enjoy some warmth for a bit. Anyway, a few days ago he was making himself at home in my room and I found the perfect opportunity to not only take pictures of him because he’s my favorite kitty, but also, he stares off at things a lot – so you know, how can I pass up the cliche gazing in the distance opportunity?

Anyway, the first photo is the one I used for the challenge because it’s clear, but I shot him in full manual and I captured a few others I really liked. The second is a full manual shot, but it’s a bit blurry where I wish it wouldn’t be.

I find the trouble with shooting full manual is often that staring through a tiny peephole, I can’t always gauge whether my focus is going to come out like I think it will when I actually snap the photo. But we’ll see, maybe I’ll get better at it this year.

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A Cozy Gnocchi Soup for Rainy Days

Hey fam.

It’s a windy, rainy day today and I have the weekend off, so I was feeling the cooking fire under my butt this morning and I made brunch (bacon, eggs, and cheese bites) and lunch/dinner – a gnocchi soup that’s so good, my friend Betsy has even made it. And the only reason I mention that is because we’re both stubborn people at times and it’s difficult to convince each other to do simple things like HEY WATCH THIS MOVIE. But HEY, she tried this soup and has added it to her cooking lineup, so that’s awesome, right?

Anyway, the original recipe is a vegan version – that I’ve made until Christmas and Easter lent. However, today I made it with reduced fat milk and it turned out just as well.

Here’s the link to the original recipe. And here’s the recipe breakdown if you don’t wanna move your eyes from the gorgeous photos I took of my soup.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
4-5 stalks celery diced
5 whole carrots diced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
4 cups + 3 tbsp. water separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 package gnocchi
pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until veggies are softened (approx. 10 minutes).
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl.
  3. Dissolve bouillon in 4 cups water to create “chicken” broth.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture, “chicken” broth and almond milk to veggies. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add gnocchi and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with fresh parsley.