Archive | April, 2011
April 21, 2011

Five Foods We Miss

Five Foods We Miss

We’ve been back in the States for four months now. We’re still pretty unsettled, living with a friend, sleeping on an air mattress, and searching for jobs. Our travels seem almost like a dream at this point. As soon as we got back into the swing of things in the city, it seemed like we never left. It’s hard to believe we did and saw so much.

The single thing we’ve missed most about traveling is the food. We’ve made it a point to seek out some of our favorite dishes from the road here in Chicago. But, it just isn’t the same. Here are some foods that we’ve been pining for lately.

Thai Street Noodles

My favorite thing about Thailand was the street food. Little old ladies at each corner dish out the best soups I’ve ever had from a huge bubbling pot. The soups usually had chicken bits (I don’t want to know which parts…), noodles, and lots of vegetables. The broth was so flavorful and satisfying that we’d have it for almost every meal. Plus, you can’t beat the price. You can get a huge bowl of soup for under $2.

Tomàquet amb pa...

Spanish Tapas and Pan Con Tomate

I love, love, love Spanish food. My favorite tapas were the boquerones (fried white anchovies), fried calamari, and olives. I’m also a huge fan of the Catalan appetizer of pan con tomate. Crunchy toasted sourdough bread is topped with a little olive oil and then a fresh juicy tomato is squeezed over the top. The quality of produce in Spain blew me away. I’ve never had tomatoes that tasted so good!

Thali time - Jodhpur, India

Indian Thali

Indian is always high on our list of favorite foods. One of our favorite items to order in India was Thali. It’s almost like a lunch combo special. You get a big plate with lots of little curries and sauces with bread and rice. It was always very filling, full of flavor, and super cheap.

Middle Eastern Hummus & Falafel

There are a lot of great Mediterranean restaurants in Chicago, but we have not been able to find any that serve up hummus and falafel as good as we had in Egypt and Jordan. Our meal of choice in Jordan usually consisted of a cucumbers, carrots, tomato, and pita along with a big bowl of hummus and a side of freshly fried falafel. This usually cost us just under $2 including a couple of Cokes! I still haven’t quite broken myself of this food habit and head over to our local Middle Eastern joint and get the vegetarian platter at least once a week fro my falafel fix.

Lunch time - Izmir, Turkey

Turkish Kebabs & Tea

Another of our all time favorite street foods is the Turkish Kebab. Chunks of meat are rubbed with lots of yummy spices and grilled before your eyes with peppers and onions. I love the way the Turkish kebab is served wrapped in tortilla-like pita and then a tube of paper that is peeled away as you eat. After you stuff yourself with a kebab you must have the obligatory glass of Turkish tea. Don’t forget the sugar cube!

What foods do you miss?

April 12, 2011

It’s a Small World

It’s a Small World

Tilt-shift is pretty cool.

It’s my new favorite post-processing trick, in fact. The photo is manipulated so that a life-sized location looks like a miniature-scale model. I had seen these fake miniatures before, but I never knew why it looked miniature. I have a bit of free time on my hands, so I learned the technique. These photos are actual locations from our world travels….now in mini form through the magic of computers.

For the miniature effect to be credible, shoot subjects from a high angle. It looks best if the photo is taken from above and far away, like a landscape with lots of rooftops or street activity. It creates the illusion of looking down at a model.

Miniature Toledo, Spain

I found several good tutorials for creating Miniatures using Photoshop. First, choose the area of the photo for your focal point. I like choosing an area where there are lots of people, cars, or activity happening.

Miniature Porto, Portugal

Make sure scale is maintained. See the little people and cars in Porto and the boy with his mule in Petra?

Miniature Petra, Jordan

Miniature Jodhpur, India

Some miniature holy cows would have been cool in this shot.

Miniature Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Don’t over do it. It is easy to lose detail with strong bokeh. You want a shallow depth of field, but not too shallow. Aim for somewhere between kiddie pool and tabloid magazines.

Miniature Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

If you want to try the effect for yourself, a little googling will give you several great tutorials, but here is the one I like:

Have you experimented with tilt-shift? Post a link to your mini-photos below.

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