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 7: Fill the Frame x Composition

There’s several elements about this week’s challenge I want to talk about.

Firstly, when I first read the theme, I was instantly excited. I LOVE close-up, frame-filling photography. In fact, often times I have to remind myself to pull back and capture more in the frame. So this week’s challenge was a bit like home.

Secondly, I’ve been wanting to recreate a photoshoot I did several years ago with ice cubes. So I did. It basically involves melting an ice cube in your mouth and letting the water be pulled by gravity to the ground. It’s messy, but it’s worth it.

Thirdly, I ordered a new wig and it came in as I was prepping for this shoot, so OBVIOUSLY I had to throw it in there.

Lastly, afterwards, as I was trying to figure out zoom bursts, I discovered aperture priority actually makes for amazing selfies.

Therefore, for this week’s challenge, I’m submitting THREE! photos and they all fill the frame. With my face. You’re welcome.

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f1.8 – 1/50 – 500 ISO

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f1.8 – 1/160 – 400 ISO

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f/1.8 – 1/160 – 400 ISO

Week 6: Alternating Rhythm x Vision

I really liked this prompt because rhythms and repetitions are so enchanting and relatively easy to find, whether they’re naturally occurring or man-made.

I chose to photograph a garnet mala bead necklace that I used to wear with a lot more frequency a few years ago. Now it just hangs with a bunch of other necklaces I don’t wear.

Anyway, I’m in love with the way this photo came out. It was accidental. I was standing by the window to catch good light and my drapes got in the way. Or rather, enhanced the photo. It looks like my hand is coming out of milk and it makes me want to recite “out of the ashes I rise with my red hair and eat men like air.” (Sylvia Plath, you’re welcome.)

F-stop: f/1.8
Exp: 1/200
ISO: 500
35mm NIKKOR lens

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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

 

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.