Odd pumpkin out

Whaddaya know, this is my 50th post in the (almost) 6 months since this blog has been in existence! Slow, yes, but steady… 😛 I’m gonna use this teeny occasion to thank you visitors and followers for all the support and encouragement you’ve given me in my cozy corner of the blogosphere. I must say that I’m continuously learning from you and every other talented person here, so thank you for that!

This time, I’m posting a lovely photograph that I did quite some post-processing on. Leanne has been hosting her and Laura’s Monochrome Madness series for a while now, and the next post in the series will be a Christmas Special, where submissions are still monochrome, but with a splash of color included. And this is what I submitted, though it’s more Halloweeny than it is Christmassy. 😛

Odd pumpkin out

Odd pumpkin out

It did take some effort to get this photograph to a point where I was happy with the result, and I loved working on GIMP for the processing. Though I did a lot of little (and not-so-little) tweaks to finally be able to give this version the nod, I’ll mention the three things that I thought were more challenging than the others, or provided some opportunity for learning. (Or both. 🙂 )

Usually, for a color-splash picture like this, it’s easier if one chooses a picture where the required color is either distinctive in the photograph or concentrated in an easy-to-select area. Here, all the pumpkins are orange, and the one I wanted to select, while still elliptical, is unevenly so. :/ I isolated the color-pumpkin by additively selecting progressively smaller areas, and did that take time and patience, or what!

Then there was the matter of the blurriness at the bottom-right outline of the color-pumpkin, because the pumpkin in front is not in focus. A straight-out cut-n-paste of the color-pumpkin makes an unnatural clear-cut edge appear in that area, so I had to add bottom-right sections with different blurs and transparencies to recreate the original blurring and make it look natural.

As I experiment more and more with monochrome, I see on so many occasions that it’s a very different ball game, and I love the unique challenges it poses. So it’s no surprise that a combination of monochrome and color is doubly challenging! 😀 The original photograph showcased the color of the pumpkins, and lighting was not a highlight in it. Well, with monochrome, the pumpkins would actually need some light on them to give them some dimension. With the right settings, the light in the photograph itself sufficed, and the monochrome pumpkins looked fine. But compared to them, the color-pumpkin started looking just so bland (and unnatural. Of course. 😉 ) I then had to add some light effects on the color-pumpkin to make it blend into the scene.

There might be a lot more that I can do to make the picture look better, but I’m satisfied for now with the learnings from this effort. What do you think of the result?

Horse carriage ride, anyone?

Ready to ride

Ready to ride

Alright, alright, this is not a real horse carriage, but these plump ponies seem as eager to trot away as any real horse, don’t they? I love the umbrella on the carriage, too!

I clicked this at Disney World, Florida near the replica of the Terracotta Army. (You can see the soldiers from the army reflected along the right side …)

Iced tea

Iced tea is one of the few drinks people all over the world are familiar with. If I’m not in the mood to go through the mind-boggling repertoire of drinks on a restaurant menu, or am unable to make up my mind, I just order a lemon-flavored iced tea. It’s universally available, plus there’s no way they can mess that up. Except if they decide to add too much flavor. Nothing beats a chilled iced tea that has the slightly bitter taste of tea…

Chilled Iced Tea

Chilled Iced Tea

I must admit, though, that I haven’t tried to make more than a couple of varieties of iced tea. That’s something I’m gonna try out during hot summer months next year.

Which is your favorite flavor of iced tea, and how do you like it — sweet, or unsweetened? Or do you drink a totally different variety — the Long Island one? 😉

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Empty Ferrero Rocher Container

When my sister and I discovered Ferrero Rocher’s ‘Collection‘, we fell in love with it. Three different types of mouth-watering, yummy chocolates — dark chocolate, hazelnut, and coconut; they were just made for gobbling up. It was with the greatest restraint that we managed to not finish off the entire stash in one go. All too soon, this is what was left of it — an empty container. My mind’s eye can still see the candies that used to occupy those spots.

Okay, I’ve convinced myself — I’m buying these again tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll dream of chocolates tonight.