The one thing I can say with any confidence about traveling is the more I travel, the more I’ve come to realize that there is no such thing as “being prepared”.
Sure, traveling may look glamorous on the surface, but if it gets down to it and you’re not the kind of person who enjoys frantically running from airport to airport to catch a layover with 10 minutes to go with half a sandwich in your pocket, then, well, you may not be cut out for this kind of lifestyle.
Case in point: last weekend I headed down to the mystical Atlanta, GA intending to review that magical festival TomorrowWorld. (Literally something that had been a bucket list item for me for years now.)
Needless to say, if you’ve paid any attention to the news these days, it did not go well. Since Mother Nature up in Georgia was apparently pissed, and TomorrowWorld was out of the question, I had to come up with a contingency plan, and quick.
The Devil Went Down To Georgia...for some fried chicken.
First on the list was Mary Mac’s Tea Room, a traditional Southern joint that popped up on every “Atlanta Bucket List” I could find.
The Tea Room surprised me in the sense that it was, well, homey. As in your sweet little old grandma’s who bakes cookies and junk. It was composed of multiple dining rooms, each with their own names, color schemes and chandeliers, full of families, with Frank Sinatra crooning into the stereo and smiling faces everywhere. I loved it instantly. But it was too dark to photograph properly, so I plugged it into BeFunky Express, hit HDR and, BAM, let there be light!
I loved it a considerable deal more, however, when I got my hands on some of the food. I started out with a Mint Julep, a Southern drink made up of bourbon, mint and simple syrup, and decided to wash that down with about a pound of fried food.
Specifically, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried crawfish, grits and, of course, the Holy Grail Of Fried Chicken. Since the lighting in the joint was a bit varied, I used the mobile app to turn up the brightness and contrast and then elected to use the blur feature on the outside of the plate to disguise my gluttonous greed for the gravy.
The chicken was so good it made me feel all sorts of things I knew a sensible person shouldn't feel, things like wanting to take it tenderly in my arms and run away with it, far away to someplace where no one would judge us…
At any rate, it was handily one of the best meals of my entire life. My boyfriend Arthur and I decided to try our luck again at another established joint, The Vortex, which featured some extraordinary “Bypass Burgers” that could actually kill us. Game. On.
The Vortex had itself an impressive menu, not only on account of the burgers (in which the "Triple Coronary Bypass" alone was filled with three patties, three fried eggs, 14 slices of American cheese and 10 slices of bacon, complete with tater tots and 'Cheesy-Cheese Goo') but on account of the wonderful sass involved in the menu. I compiled a few of my favorite excerpts below:
Naturally, the Vortex wasn’t very well-lit, so to combat this pesky little issue I ran my photos through the fabulous Auto Enhance tool in the Photo Editor. Here’s a little side by side for comparison:
After stuffing myself with enough food to make me wonder if I was ever going to make it out of the South alive (I haven’t even mentioned my multiple sojourns to the 24 hour Waffle House yet), I saw something that completely captivated me on the street corner. I managed to capture a quick shot of it as my cab gunned down the street:
Not a fabulous picture, is it? But with a little love…
I used an external tool to crop out the man himself, because he was pure poetry, and saved the image as a PNG. It still didn’t look great…
I wanted to create an image that conveyed the soul of Atlanta as I felt it, so I went into the Designer, found a stock art photo of street art via Pixabay, and layered him over it.
From there I played around with the Artsy Effects until I decided on Oil Painting 3, reversing it so that the effect only applied to the paintbrush, and painted over him.
Finally, I then applied another black and white filter, reduced the effect amount to about 74 and painted over him to exclude him from the effect, which yielded…
When life gives you lemons, throw your hands up and just get some fried chicken instead. Seriously.
Turn your travel photos into a masterpiece today: