Basic Image Editing

Today I was feeling a bit creative than usual so I picked out a photo I took during my recent road-trip and tried doing some image processing with Photoshop. As you guys might have read in my About Me section, I have been an Advertising & Media student so I have had numerous courses regarding “Image Editing/Manipulation” and “Digital Illustration”, was even lucky enough to have a separate course “Photography” that my prestigious university offered in my program. So that has naturally polished my Adobe (PS & Illustrator) skills and I’m quite proficient in using such softwares.. although did I mention somewhere before I can be lazy at times? 😛

So let me share a very BASIC kind of image editing which involves color correction that I did step-by-step.

  • As you can see, despite of the beautiful scenery of the valleys captured, this photo lacks color richness. This requires some editing!

 

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1

 

  • So first I started off with balancing its “LEVELS”. Now in my style of editing, I only play with ‘Midtones’ and ‘Shadows’. I simply avoid messing with ‘Highlights’ or ‘brightness’ unnecessarily because it just washes out your picture’s important details.
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2

  • After adjusting its “LEVELS”, I virtually divided the photo into 2 parts: 1- The top part mostly composed of sky and clouds. 2- The lower part composed of the mountains. Now focusing on the top part I felt the sky needs more ‘blue’ and the clouds need more pronounced ‘shadows’ and ‘highlights’. So without making use of the “Brightness & Contrast” feature that I DESPISE the most, I just adjusted the selective colors: White, Blue & Cyan. Now you can see the nice blue color of the sky has come out and the clouds have a bit more details with the shadows and highlights:
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3

  • Time to focus on the mountains. They looked dull and I felt the picture had not justified how beautifully the sun glared on these mountains to illuminate some parts of them and create mysterious shadows. Therefore, using just reds and yellows, I enhanced these selective colors to get this:
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  • Finally, for the finishing touch I adjusted it’s “Vibrance” and slightly tweaked the highlights to further enhance the color richness. The result:
Final

Final

 

So definitely now the photo looks much better and more ‘scenic’ than the original. This is the first time ever I have shared my secret of editing, even THIS basic. I usually avoid doing that 😛

Hope you enjoyed this simple walk-through of my basic editing process 😀

Original Vs. Edited

Original Vs. Edited

 

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LIPTON Russian Earl Grey Tea – A Bittersweet Symphony

If you are a tea-lover and now want to familiarize your tastebuds with the boldness of Earl Grey tea then LIPTON Russian Earl Grey could be your first pick. It has pleasant citrus overtones and a mild smokey hint of the bergamot fruit, which makes it less strong than the other brands and variants of Earl Grey, but more empowering than your cup of regular black tea.

Typically, Russian Earl Grey is an infusion of dried orange peel, lemongrass, black tea, bergamot oil and sometimes cornflower petals. But what I read on the package, the ingredients of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey contains:

Black tea, nature identical bergamot flavor.

So it’s a bit vague what other herbs they used in enhancing the sweet tarty flavor of their version of Russian Earl Grey. The box has 20 enveloped tea bags. I have noticed LIPTON Russian Earl Grey packaging in other countries slightly differs from this one available in Middle East so maybe the ingredients on those might also be more elaborate.

My cup of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey

My cup of LIPTON Russian Earl Grey

How I drink it

After dipping the tea bag into hot water for no more than 2 mins, I add half teaspoon of honey to enhance its sweet undertones and sometimes a couple of mint leaves. This is usually my evening tea for a quick refreshment and some caffeine dose.

You can enjoy it your way with other condiments like sugar, lemon or even milk. It goes perfectly with sugary baked goodies like donuts, cakes, cookies or anything sweet.

Like my review? Don’t like it? Comment below. Would be happy to hear from you either way 🙂

UPDATE UPDATE!! WordPress App brought back Country Stats!!!

Wow! Just yesterday I blogged about WordPress app missing out the “Views by Country” stats, in my last post WordPress App – Latest Update. And LOOK what happened today…!

WordPress - Country Stats

WordPress – Country Stats

They brought back the Country stats and also ‘Tops Posts & Pages’! They even changed the whole display settings of “Stats” itself – now there is no more a drop-down menu like shown in my last post, now every statistic is neatly displayed on the same screen so you can smoothly scroll it down and up. Looks much better and even MORE interesting.
It’s amazing how I was ruminating about it yesterday and the next day I find it happening! Looks like my post touched the app guys *hehe :p* or maybe not, but most definitely God heard me out and granted my wish =D (now I wish I had asked for something else too that hour)

But yea, on a very serious note, it also sounds like I wasn’t the only one disliking the missing part, of course it took MANY more “angry/sad” users like me to make them bring back those features in their latest update. But you have to agree, timing was GREAT! Right?!! 😛

So this is what they had to say about the changes in their most latest update…

Latest Update

Latest Update

WordPress App – Latest Update

Hey you all W ‘Pressers!

I recently updated my WordPress Android app to the latest version on my Galaxy S4. I’m liking the improvement in the interface – it’s much more simplified now, moreover, we can now browse and manage our media gallery directly from our phones with the app. The major change I noticed was made to the option “Stats” – now there’s a drop-down list for it like shown below.

Stats sub-menu

Stats drop-down list

It’s great. It’s precise for a quick viewing. But what I’m missing are the Flags! Views by Country statistics! It’s no more shown in the app. I know it’s not really necessary, given, the desktop version still has it. But it had its own charm – waking up and checking my stats first thing in the morning right from my phone, seeing the myriad of different colors everyday, the various flags and new country names (it’s always amazing finding out about new countries you never knew of) and then reveling in this virtual global community – uplifts me and motivates me to blog more often.

Here’s what the app says about their latest update..

WordPress app

WordPress app

Let me make another confession (first was obviously about I missing those flags :P).. I do use WordPress app more often for moderating, commenting, viewing my stats and reading other blogs.. but I don’t use it for blogging itself. There’s nothing wrong with the app, I think they are trying their best in improving our blogging experience on-the-go, but I personally like a larger interface and a wider keyboard for typing. I’m a loyal laptop user and always will be for typing up stuff no matter how many new models of mobiles with larger screens or tablets are released. There’s nothing as comfortable as the keyboard with typewriter-like keys and a bigger desktop.

So anybody using the latest version of the WordPress app? How do you find it? And am I overlooking something here? Maybe the country stats are somewhere there but oblivious to just me?

 

7 Essentials to Pack for a Road-trip

 
Recently I partook an adventure, going on a long road-trip from one city to another (1600 km!) through the deserts of Saudi Arabia. 20 hours drive was indeed a fun expedition, stopping by occasionally to admire some breathtaking sceneries, but was no piece of cake as rest-stops with motel and cafeteria facilities along the highway were encountered after very long intervals. But if a checklist of certain essentials is made and packed along before setting off, your road-trip could be comfortable, less tedious and more enjoyable.

Here is a list of those essentials I gathered from my own experience, some of these I was relieved that I took along, rest of them I wished I did!

  • First-Aid Kitfirst aid kit

Let me first share the mishap that took place during my trip. It was a bumpy road where we stopped to get some tea from a nearby cafeteria. When the car started, I lost balance of my cup of steaming hot tea I was holding and all of it splashed onto my hand. My hand was badly scalded but thanks to my dad who quickly poured cold water on it. Luckily we even had ointment for healing burns, so applied that too. With these quick measures my skin was saved from further damage and a torturous long trip.

When driving across the remote areas there’s not a good chance you would find any medical facility so first-aid kit is a MUST in every car! Even minor injuries could become severe if not treated immediately.

 

  • road-map-clip-art1Map

Whether you know the routes or not, a map and a navigation system in your car or GPS on phones will always come handy and save you a lot of time you might waste in trolling around, looking for a detour to avoid traffic.


chargepod

  • Chargers

Keep a travel charger for your phone and other electronic devices, like chargepods which have multiple adapters to charge more than one device simultaneously.

 

  • toiletriesToiletries

Even if you do come across one after miles of drive, you can never trust public toilet for sufficient water supply. Always bring along a good stock of paper towels, toilet papers, wet-tissues and garbage-bags. Trust me, get more than enough because there is always a chance of running low on them considering the unexpected occurrence of motion sickness or any spill that needs clean-up.

Other essentials to keep: soap, laundry detergent (you want to keep things clean, stain-free and smelling good), mouthwash, sunblock, moisturizing lotion, deodorant, etc.

 

  • Disposable dishes

disposable-plates-cups-and-cutlery

Taking regular dishware in your travel-kit and going through the pain of cleaning them is quite impractical. But you need something to put your food on and eat or drink with, right? Plastic plates, spoons and glasses are lightweight and safe to use. For hot beverages, use paper cups.

Also, cling-films and foil-wraps could be a wonderful addition to your kit. You can snugly wrap those leftovers and protect your half-eaten sandwiches or fruits from dust and flies, while avoiding any nasty food spillage in your car.

 

  • Snackslunch-box-vector

Help yourself with some travel-friendly eats like sandwiches, chips, carrots, crackers, nuts, etc, along the way when dining options are limited. A vacuum flask full of your favorite hot drink will go a long way. It will be a bonus if you have space to take along a cooler to keep your soft drinks cold and an electric kettle you can use at rest stops to make a fresh cup of tea/coffee while being easy on your wallet.

 

  • Waterwater-bottle

This should have gone without saying but I’m not just talking about a couple of individual drinking water bottles but ALSO extra gallons of water for multipurpose usage like cleaning, washing and also for your car.