Food Photography Workshop by Artu Nepomuceno

I just came from a Food Photography workshop by Artu Nepomuceno at a dainty Italian restaurant in Burgos Circle named Casa Italia. Sitting in a room with a random group of aspiring food photographers was like a breath of fresh air. Usually, I spend my Saturday mornings resting at home. But today, I was very much eager to learn and have a quick adventure in the city.

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During the workshop, Artu shared about the Do’s and Don’t’s in taking photos of food and drinks, specifically. He also talked about pricing, taking photos at different angles, appreciating the story and people behind the food, and even choosing the right gear, accessories, and props for this type of photography.

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My favorite part of the workshop was the hands-on activity. The participants paired up and attempted to style and take photos of certain dishes from the restaurant. My partner (Joe) at the workshop and I chose the plate of spaghetti. It was challenging because we only had limited props available. But, it was also fun and interesting to experiment with different angles and concepts.

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Afterwards, we all went back to the room and evaluated the photos we took. Artu showed the photos to the group and gave constructive criticism and detailed points for improvement. It was the part of the workshop that I appreciated the most because we were given the opportunities to apply the tips he shared earlier today and at the same time, we learned from the strengths and weaknesses of each photo shown to the group.

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Before today, I didn’t really think about how the number of forks used in a photo of a single dish would have an effect on the overall appearance. Haha. But, even in this simple illustration, I learned from Artu that it is better to use just one fork especially when taking a photo of one dish even if we wanted to show that the dish was for a couple or a pair. Using one fork (one set of utensils) shows the intimacy in the photo which sets a completely different mood. It was very interesting.

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Just before the workshop ended, our speaker asked the participants if we had any more questions. A lady in the room then asked him “Will you continue to have workshops in the future?” and Artu replied, “As long as there are opportunities, the teaching will never stop.” Aaahhh! I love how he casually and sincerely answered it. The teaching will never stop. Of course, on my part, learning about photography will never stop as well. There’s still so much to learn, to experiment with, and to take photos of! This year, by God’s grace, I will be sharing more stories and lessons learned with you through photography. Hopefully, you can share yours with me too!

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Thank you, Manila Workshops, for organizing this event! Thank you, also, Artu Nepomuceno, for graciously sharing your knowledge and skill in photography and food styling. May God continue to use you to inspire the young and young at heart to pursue their passions in life.

ARTU NEPOMUCENO

Website: http://www.open-art.photography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artunepo/

MANILA WORKSHOPS

http://manilaworkshops.com/

CASA ITALIA

http://www.casaitalia.com.ph/

When Insecurities Strike

“Words can build you up. Words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out.” –Hawk Nelson

Recently, a friend said something to me that crushed my heart. That friend didn’t mean to do so, but because the words triggered my past struggle with insecurity, it affected me so much this week. Even though I knew that it was just a joke, I started to believe in the lies in my head and the thoughts distorted my view of God.

During the week, I spent a lot of time pouring my heart out to God and I kept reminding myself of the truth: that God loves me and that my hope and security can only be found in Him. However, despite this, I still felt a huge burden on my heart even while I was asleep. There were times when I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and feel my heart break again.

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But, by God’s grace, He spoke to me one night while I was writing on my journal. I shared to Him that I think my top love language is “Words”. It fills me whenever people encourage me with words (e.g. in person, through social media or letters, etc.). On the other hand, whenever hurtful words are said to me, my heart cringes.

While I was sharing my feelings and struggle to God, He revealed to me the pride that was lingering in my heart. Why was I so affected by what my friend said? Why do I dwell on what others tell me? Why do I easily get hurt when people intentionally or unintentionally magnify my flaws and weaknesses or compare me to others through their words?

And then, it hit me. My thoughts and feelings were all about me. ME!! Immediately, God humbled me and I confessed the pride in my heart. I also asked God to help me honor Him with my heart and mind. That night, I was reminded that at the end of each day, it doesn’t matter how I compare to the people around me. It doesn’t matter how well I did or didn’t do at work or in my personal activities. It’s not even about how much I’m doing for Christ in ministry. It’s about what Jesus has already done for us. Because of God’s love, Jesus died and rose again to pay for the penalty of our sins, so we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

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“Did you hear what I said? Did you read the words I wrote down in red? I was broken once for you and no one loves you like I do.” –‘All the Broken Pieces’ by Matthew West

Nothing should concern me more than my relationship with God. Nothing.

Instead of being affected by what others say to me, God encouraged me to focus on His words and truths found in the Bible. His voice is the only thing we need to hear. Every now and then, I know that I will be tempted to feel insecure. But, I am encouraged by God to keep on remembering who He is in my life. The same God who created the universe and everything in it is the same sovereign and powerful God who can make beautiful things out of ordinary people like you and me. The same God who gave and sacrificed His Son for us is the same loving and gracious God who will continue to love us in spite of our imperfections, struggles, and mistakes.

Whew.

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After going through an emotional roller coaster ride this week, I woke up this morning with a grateful heart because of the hope that I have in Jesus. By His grace, He made today an extra special day for me because my friends from church (the ladies I’m growing with in a discipleship group) surprised me with a pot of flowers and verses to encourage me. They knew that I was struggling this week, so they made a simple but very encouraging effort to help me focus on Jesus again. I loved it so much because it affirmed my decision last night to dwell on God’s truth and His words in the Bible. Aaaaahhhh. You are amazing, God!

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It is my prayer that I may not only seek Him and His words this week, but, that He may also help me say words to the people around me that will edify and encourage them to remember and pursue God as well.

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I went out for a walk after dinner tonight because I needed some fresh air. I brought my camera with me and tried to take photos of the trees nearby and the stars that were twinkling up in the dark blue sky. After numerous attempts to take photos of the stars, I ended up with mediocre ones. In the photos, the stars were blurry and the sky was gray. I felt discouraged because I couldn’t adjust the settings correctly. Moreover, since I didn’t have a tripod, I had a difficult time making sure it was positioned still for 5 to 30 seconds.

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However, despite not having successful photos of the stars tonight, I had a refreshing walk outside. While I was taking photos and experimenting on the settings of the camera, I discovered a few more features that I forgot it had. It had various creative filters that display the ff. effects: soft focus, fish-eye, art bold, watercolor, toy camera, and miniature. Also, it was my first time to notice a simple feature: the camera’s panel illumination button, which lights up the panel’s screen when needed. After three months of using the camera, I only found out about these things tonight. It’s embarrassing, I know. -__- Because I didn’t intentionally spend time learning more about the camera in the last three months, I missed out on maximizing its settings and features. It was as if simply taking photos and adjusting the lens were enough. Aaaahhh!

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Tonight, I was reminded of the hundreds or even thousands of opportunities that I can do with the camera considering its nice features. But, this won’t be possible if I don’t discipline myself in developing my knowledge about the equipment and practice applying the techniques. If the inventor of this particular model saw me using the camera right now, he’d be pretty disappointed. He knows the camera’s potential. He designed and made it the way it is to help photographers experience the best when it comes to documenting moments, sceneries, portraits, and many more. It would be a waste to take it for granted. On my way back home, I was motivated to finally pursue knowing and maximizing the camera this year. So, I am keeping myself accountable to you.

Trying out one of the creative filters.
Trying out one of the creative filters.

I really appreciate the short walk that I had outside because it also helped me see the importance of understanding and living out my purpose by knowing my Creator first. Just like my experience with the camera, I know that God created me the way I am for a special reason. He knows my “features” and limitations and He knows how to maximize them for my good and for His glory. I can go on everyday doing what I usually do or what I know, but if I don’t spend time knowing God and His plans through His Word, I will certainly miss out on experiencing Him and His best for me.

 

A simple daily exercise: Take a walk outside and breathe.

Breathe in God’s Word. Breathe out prayers.

 

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”-Jeremiah 33:3

Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015
Photo taken in Baguio last Dec. 27, 2015

Hello, 2016!

It’s the first day of 2016 and I couldn’t be more excited! Woohoo! There’s always that wonderful feeling whenever I am reminded of a brand new start. Because of the New Year, I’ve been seeing quite a lot of resolutions in my news feed. Some of my friends plan to avoid eating junk food this 2016, while, others will do their best to refrain from shopping for a year.

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I’m still working on my action steps and resolutions. But, more than these things, I find delight in knowing that we can place our hope in God, whose mercies are new every morning. It is because of Him and through Him that we can experience breakthroughs, miracles, and personal transformations this 2016. Yes, regardless of our past, weaknesses, and fears.

“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” –Lamentations 3:21-23

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As we welcome another year, I would like to share one of the treats that remind me of having and enjoying a fresh start. It has been two years since I last prepared Jell-O. So, recently, I tried to make a batch again. This time, I used oranges and watermelon as my base. If you have the time, I encourage you to give it a try as well! For starters, I recommended making the orange wedges first, since the watermelon is a lot more tricky to handle.

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Here’s to enjoying a brand new start and to having a hopeful and fruitful year ahead! God bless you!

“You’re making me stronger. You’re healing my heart.
With Your hands You hold me and You set me apart.

Now I’m made new because of You.

You hold my head up. You remind me who I am.
You hold my head up, I’m alive in You again.
I’m made new.”

-Lincoln Brewster’s “Made New”

(Special thanks to Mom and ate Camille for lending a helping hand. :P )

ORANGE JELL-O WEDGES

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WATERMELON JELL-O SLICES

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