Tim Grey's Daily-ish Foto

By timgrey

Mur River

Every day I've been in Graz (11 days now) I've walked over the Mur River on my way into the old part of town. In fact, I've typically crossed over the river several times a day, heading toward a restaurant for lunch or dinner, or an opportunity to take photos.

Every time I see this river I'm amazed at how fast it flows. Graz is a relatively quiet city (despite being the second largest in Austria), and everything seems to go at a relaxed pace. But not this river. I rushes and roars and forms rapids and waves, and is really quite incredible.

Today I photographed it, as I have done on several other days. I was trying to think how to best capture what it is like to experience this river, and I realized a photograph really can't quite convey the sense. Here I used a slow shutter speed to achieve a blur with the water, but it still doesn't quite illustrate the energy of the river. Since I can capture video with my Canon EOS 7D, I also recorded a video clip. That helps, but it still doesn't quite convey what it is like to look down at the rushing water...

As I walked back to the Video2Brain studios after lunch, I was thinking about how I would interpret this image. My feeling was that it needed to have a painterly filter applied to it. I played around with a number of filters in Photoshop, many of which I liked, but none seems to be completely right for the image. So I played around with other adjustments, and settled on this. It's quite simple, really. I maximized the tonal range in Camera Raw, and then applied some basic adjustments in Photoshop. I applied Smart Sharpen as a Smart Filter with the image converted to a Smart Object (so the image must now be very intelligent!), using a very high Radius setting to get an exaggerated effect to enhance the sense of motion. I then used Curves to darken down the image a little, focusing on the darkest tonal values. Finally, a Vibrance adjustment boosted the colors. The result was something along the lines of the painterly effect I had envisioned, without the use of a painterly filter as I had expected.

Tomorrow I am scheduled to fly home. This is two days earlier than planned, because I changed my flight to avoid the British Airways cabin crew strike. Now it looks like the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland may cause a delay. So I wonder where I'll be when I capture my Blipfoto image tomorrow...

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