Egyptian Fun Foto: Bicycle and Bananas

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"Egyptian Bicycle & Bananas" © Aisha Abdelhamid

Today I discovered and began following a wonderful blog, “Cee’s Photography.” Cee is an incredibly creative soul with a talent for sharing her fun with many other creative souls through several different challenges she has originated on her blog. I’m looking forward to participating in her “Share Your World” weekly activity, but the Fun Foto Challenge caught my sleeve and tugged my hand until I found myself wanting to join in the fun!

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Cee’s Fun Foto challenge for this week centers around the use of sepia tones on a photo. Cee says:

This week’s color filled topic is sepia tones.  Sepia is a reddish-brown color, named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish Sepia.  I hope you have
some fun with this weeks challenge. 

Inspiration grabbed me, since I have a background full of photo editing experience, and after all these years I have never produced a single sepia tone graphic, not counting the one in the Adobe Photoshop 2.5 (don’t laugh, it was ages ago) tutorial. Immediately I recalled a photo I took earlier in January of my neighbor’s front yard. Their bicycle caught my eye because of its interesting neutral tones and its woven basket attached behind the seat. Then I spied the flower at the top (bottom?) of the new banana bunch draping from the banana tree, and ran for my camera!

I get really excited about bananas, I’m so easy to please. One of my dreams when Mohamed and I were still living on our farm in South Carolina, was to have lots of banana trees. They wouldn’t survive the SC winters, so I had to postpone the realization of that dream, but Mohamed promised me he would plant bananas along our fence nearest to the canal when we ever made it back to Egypt. He made good on that promise the first spring back here, and this year we have eaten loads of bananas from those gorgeous dream come true trees! But I missed the flowering season, and luckily found my opportunity to photograph the flower in my neighbor’s yard. The flower looks unmistakably like the head of a sheep!

This is the photo, untouched, taken from a second story verandah window of our home:

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View of our neighbor's front yard, with banana trees and bicycle

Our neighbor’s home was hastily built in the chaotic time following the 2011 revolution. It is little more than four walls and a few rooms divided between themselves and an incredibly vast population of farm animals for such a small structure. But it represents freedom for this family, a chance to live in their own space without sharing it with the twenty three other members of the family they were sharing four walls and a barn with prior to the revolution. The time for building a permanent home will come later, but this is a great start for them.

The mom and dad who live in this home are really hard working farmers, and their three children join them dutifully in the field beside their home. You can see the field planted with cabbages in this photo. I watched the mom come out one day after planting this banana tree, and she stood a long time, quietly admiring its beauty. Maybe she had the same dream as me, of having banana trees in her new home, and she was enjoying the dream come true! I was so happy for her when I saw the tree flowering, and the banana bunch starting to develop and droop, showing off her delicious blessings of bananas!

To achieve the sepia effect on this photo, I first applied several layers of “twilight” filter effect to heighten the contrast while reducing the number of colors in the image. This resulted in the vignetting of the borders, which I like as it reminds me of the very early photography of Daguerre, famous for his sepia toned “Daguerreotype” photographs. This is the intermediate step between the untouched and the finished photo:

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You can see this is not yet a true sepia tone image, because of the presence of green. A few more tweeks of brightness, contrast, and color spectrum reduced the image down to sepia tones and I added some framing for a finished look. One last touch with a bit of text for a title, and that’s my first try at a sepia tone image:

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"Egyptian Bicycle & Bananas" © Aisha Abdelhamid

I’m really looking forward to participating on a weekly basis, and meeting everyone involved with this fun!
I hope you’ll join us at Cee’s Photography Blog, where you will find many more links from the great folks participating in her challenges!

Technical stuff, in case you’re interested: I’ve taken the plunge and never once used anything else but my new Samsung Galaxy Tab2, 10.1, with an android operation system, to build my blog and do all the graphic work you’ll find here. A touchscreen does present some challenges, but the app developers are really doing a great job providing all of us pioneers with the right tools for the new machines. It’s been a huge learning curve finding and then correctly using the right apps, but I guess that’s half the fun of being a pioneer. I really love the WordPress mobile app for android, I use Picsart Studio for editing images, and Phonto for overlaying text on images. If you would like to ask any questions about any of this, or have any tips you’d like to share regarding your experiences with this, please feel free to do so in a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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12 thoughts on “Egyptian Fun Foto: Bicycle and Bananas

    • Thanks so much, Cee, for your kind welcome and encouragement! You are so creative and such an inspiration, I really encourage everyone to spend time on your blog – you’ve created a playground for our imaginations!

  1. I am always impressed by those images taken with smart phones i.e. Samsung Galaxy and pads — I have not had any success with mine … I like what you did with yours and the steps shown. Thank you for sharing — and welcome to the playground of fun! 😀

    • Thanks very much! You know I didn’t clarify that, did I? I use mostly my Nikon coolpix or my husband’s panasonic lunch and then import the photos into my tablet. Honestly, I only took one photo with the tablet and it was miserable lol I know exactly what you mean. It’s a great computer but a really bad camera! Thanks for visiting!

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