Week 8: Zoom Burst x Technical

Definitely still playing catch up, but listen.

This zoom burst challenge really got me challenged. And I’m giving up on it. I know I’ve achieve it before – and you know what, I’ll include one of my favorite shots from that time at the end – but this time around? I cannot get it down. So I’m calling this one a wrap and moving on.

It’s not really an effect I try to achieve, like, ever, anyway.

And then, here’s an old selfie from 6 years ago! in Philadelphia, when Maria and experimented with our cameras one night. I think we got the zoom burst down that night.


Week 5: Photographer’s Choice x Wild Card

Photographer’s choice!? You know what that means – definitely a selfie.

My neighbor’s cat and I have a mutual love thing going on and he popped up during my shoot after I got my hair done (hellooooo ORANGE! ginger). As you can see, I use a little remote to achieve these photos and cradling him for pictures often means it pops up into view.

F-stop: f/1.8
Exp: 1/50
ISO: 400

35mm NIKKOR lens (have I mentioned how absolutely in love with this lens I am??)


Week 4: Quiet Moment x Creativity

I’ve got some catching up to do for r/WeeklyPhoto’s 52 week photo challenge. I didn’t like what I’d photographed in week 4, but I have some down time today to sift through.

Anyway, week 4’s challenge was Quiet Moment x Creativity.

I was taste-testing Sugarfina’s Bourbon Bears (super delicious by the way). I don’t think there’s too much creativity going on in this photo, but it is definitely on the serene side.


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:

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






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.




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.


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


  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.