Announcement. New beginnings

Lately I’be been absent from this blog, but not without a good reason. Since then I finally launched my website, I ordered my business cards and started a new blogging section on the new website. I’ve also been busy with uploading images for stock photography and I’m happy to say I have a great approval rate – better than I actually expected. I have no idea if I will be able to continue to blog here or not. I guess I’ll just leave things grow organically and will figure it out on the way. I’ll continue to follow my reader feed though to see what you guys are up to.

Now, I would like to share some links with you if you are curious about my new online presence (they are in fact all links to different sections of the website, so once you get there you can see everything):

At the moment I am testing a Fujinon 60mm macro 2.4 lens I borrowed from a friend, and although these are not macro pictures, I wanted to share them just because I love the autumn mood and the colors 🙂

See you soon friends, have a beautiful holiday season. ❤

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Wide-angle Halloween portrait

I’ve been waiting for a Halloween photo challenge to share this photo and I feel Transmogrify is perfect. Wide angle lenses are not usually used in portraits, not in ones where the subject is so close anyway, but any now and then they make the perfect tool to turn a normal image into something quite extraordinary and blown out of proportions. Perfect for a Halloween portrait I would say 🙂

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Winter bloom. A collab photo project.

Ines Monnet and I ‘met’ here, in the blogosphere, a few months ago, and we clicked. At the time we had similar concerns (and I think we still have) but somehow it helped both of us to talk to each other and get an outsider opinion. We also decided we want to do a collaborative project, and the theme was a flower portrait, but as we found out it’s not that easy to pick and find a common ‘subject’ when one lives in Texas and the other in Switzerland. We decided on a white rose, just because we thought that must be something easy to find in both places, well… it was not. In the end, funnily enough, we chose something that has ‘rose’ in the name, but couldn’t be more different as a subject: rosehip.

Although in Dallas we have no sign of winter (it’s still in the 80s – 90s or 30s in Celsius), I’m still excited about winter coming so this bloom inspired me winter. I researched this winter’s interior design colors and what I found was right up my alley: deep, dark, rich colors (blues, greens, reds, oranges) strong contrasts of complimentary shades (just searched this on Pinterest).

Because there was no way I would have such a backdrop at home, I just focused on getting the right light on the rosehips, as far away from my walls as possible, so the background is smooth (I added a photo of the setup at the end of this post). I shot with my Fujifilm x-T1, and the fx56mm 1.4 lens (equivalent of 85mm), at 5.6. To change the background color I applied a cross-process in Lightroom and minor adjustments, and then moved to Photoshop to add some texture, contrast and brightness. At my suggestion, we agreed on making a triptych, but here I am cheating a little bit, as I could’t make up my mind on which three images to choose. If I have to frame these, I would rather do it vertically, on a narrow wall. I feel like because of the bottle neck, they won’t go well together on an horizontal plan.

I can’t wait to see what Ines has done with our assignment, it was so fun to do a collaboration – it really pushed me a bit harder than if I was doing this by myself. To be honest, I would had never chosen rosehip as a subject to begin with. 🙂

Later edit: Check out Ines’ part of the project: Triptych | A collab photo project. I am smiling now, because I just realized we picked two different plants, with a similar look :)))). But I am loving it. I think is all part of the experience and I like we kept the element of surprise.

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And the setup: my mini natural light studio at home 🙂

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‘Asking for help’

If you are anything like me, you also have a hard time asking for help. Maybe you think people are too busy to make the time for you, or maybe you are afraid of being told ‘no’, or maybe you are just not sure what to ask for. Sounds too familiar to me, and I’ve been stuck for a while because of that. But I feel juices are flowing again. And the main reason for that is me asking for help and taking decisions even though I was not 100 percent sure of what I wanted.

So, by reaching out to people for help, this is what I have achieved in the past three weeks (things I’ve been procrastinating in the past one year):

  1. Submitted photos for iStock and Adobe Stock, I had a one image approved for sale on Adobe. Still waiting to hear back from iStock.
  2. I finally ordered a signature logo. After one failed attempt – note that this hasn’t discouraged me – I went on and tried again, and now I am the proud owner of my own professional signature logo (see on pics below).
  3. I am working on two photographic projects with two fellow bloggers, thanks to Ines Monnet. (thank you for the inspiration!)
  4. I finally asked a friend photographer to help me with feedback on my portraiture so I can work on my online portfolio, and not only she helped me to choose some images, but her feedback helped me understand important things about curating my own work.
  5. Above step gave me the drive and material to finally work on my website and online portfolio. I am halfway there and the website will be on air in about one week.
  6. I identified a friend who could teach me Photoshop basics. One on one tutorial is now done and I feel so much better knowing those basics. (I still prefer Lightroom for editing, but sometimes you just need Photoshop for things Lightroom can’t do). It makes me feel smarter and more confident. 🙂
  7. There are more things I am working on, but the overall feeling is that now I am one step closer to understanding who I am as a photographer. And all this is due to me asking for help.

So, if you ever feel stuck, don’t get trapped in your little world and suffer, reach out to people, friends, family, strangers, anyone really. I’m here if you need me 🙂

And my entry for the H2O WordPress challenge. For some reason ‘fish schooling’ seemed like an appropriate metaphor for the theme of this blog. These were made at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with my Fujifilm cameras at very high ISO, from 12800 to 25600 (at this ISO, the camera only shoots in Jpg format).

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For the love of Gilmore Girls

I try to keep this blog as curated as possible, but I have a crush on ‘Gilmore Girls’ and I want to share this with the world :). A combination of iPhone photos / Hipstamatic and Fujifilm x100 images from today’s Gilmore Girls Revival stunt in Dallas.

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Make a wish

For y’all dreamers out there 🙂

Seen in Grapevine, Texas.

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Low key flower portraits

I’m not such a big fan of speedlights, but sometimes there is no way around it. When I switched all my camera gear to Fujifilm, I kept my Nikon Speedlight SB-700, without really knowing if it’s going to work with the Fujifilm system. I wanted to put this one out here because I looked this up online a lot and I only found vague answers. I had to figure it out myself (and I’m not a geek at all!). So, the answer is they work together, but only having the speedlight on the manual mode – which is fine by me. Today I used it for the first time to produce some low key flower portraits. I used a black dress as a background 🙂

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The future of architecture

I am still editing and sorting the last month’s travel photographs, and this week I really wanted to enter the WordPress photo challenge, Quest.  To be honest, because the theme is so subjective and vast, I could have posted anything – the very act of photographing, for me at least, is a quest.

Architecture always fascinates me, but architecture, even if it’s impressive and photogenic, it’s not always responsible. Not the Moesgaard Museum (MOMU) in Aarhus, Denmark. As you can see, the building, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, is an extension of the landscape, how every building in the future should be, in my humble opinion.

Seeing this gave me hope that our quest for being in harmony with nature, while still living an urban life, will be answered by urban planners and architects of cities of the future.

The last image is an iPhone pictures of The Graubelle Man, the world’s best preserved bog body from the Iron Age and the ‘star’ of the Moesgaard Museum.

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Stock photography

Nothings shows I am ready for rejection quite like submitting my first images to iStock. I’m looking forward to their feedback though, since one of the most difficult things to do as a photographer is to curate my own work. No, this is not what I submitted, I’ll keep you updated with the process :).

Below patterns and textures of Denmark.

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A town of too many tales

I don’t know how I feel about my native town. I was born there, but because my parents had to work and I had no one to take care of me, I lived almost my entire childhood (up to 6yo) with my grandma, 400km away in the countryside. It may not sound too much 400km today, but at the time, when cars and gas were a luxury and there was only one overcrowded train to get you somewhere nearby, it was like an ocean apart. It was not a bad childhood, but I know for sure it was one of longing. I don’t want to get too deep into this topic, but I clearly remember two episodes: one when I was sniffing on one of my mom’s dresses because it smelled like her, and one when I was sick crying for few days after my mom visited and left back. I came out ok, so no big deal, but I can’t pretend the feeling of abandonment was not there.

Anyway, back to the town I only came to live in when I was about 6yo, Targu-Jiu, I think I loved it back then, but it is hard to explain to someone from the Western world how was it like living in a Communist country as a child. Every day I was spending probably a couple of hours in queues to buy bread, oil, sugar, chicken or, in the special days, oranges and chocolate. It didn’t bother me, everyone else was doing it, so it was a kind of a ritual. The rest of the time, when I was not at school or doing homework, I was playing outside, reading books and my obsession, arranging books in my parent’s bookshelves. I don’t remember I felt like missing on anything, but at the same time, truth be told, I didn’t know what the alternatives were. Where food is concerned, I know we didn’t have all the choices the western world had, but we were probably eating better and healthier than other kids in the world. Every family in Romania had a farm at the countryside, and we always had fresh food straight from the farm.

To cut this long story short, my parents built a house and moved from the apartment we lived back then, so I didn’t get the chance to see that neighborhood for a very long time. This time we made the time and went back for a little walk down the memory lane. The place seemed so small and crowded, but still full of life. I don’t imagine is a bad life for kids living there, but I would imagine is a life everyone would want to escape at one point or another, even if it’s only moving closer to the city center (it’s a small town, so it would’t be that far anyway). I have no idea how to describe this place, but it’s like anything else I’ve seen in my travels.

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The one on the left was my building. When we were kids and stupid, we had unrestricted access to the rooftop, and we were jumping from one building to another! Thank God I’m still alive.

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Our apartment was on the 4th floor, on the left, where the blue balcony is now. I spent many hours on the balcony watching the world pass by or secretly watching my crush passing by while my heart was pounding out of my chest. 😀

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Some of the view from my balcony.

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Same old building in the neighborhood, except that there were no AC units back then.

And a different part of the city, one that wasn’t touched by communism as much. One part where you can get an idea of what this town could had been had the plague that is communism never existed. Many times I wonder what if… 😦

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