There are some cities that I love to visit time and again. Each time I find more and more things to photograph or rephotograph. Toruń is one of those cities. It is situated in the north of Poland along the banks of the Wistula River, which runs through from Gdansk all the way to Warsaw and on to Krakow in the south. At the weekend I found myself here and took the same route as I always do through the city. There were some places where I wanted to go to capture images I had failed to get before or have been duds when downloaded from the memory card. The day was hot and the city was bustling.
One of the things I have captured before is the Flisak Fountain, Flisak meaning raftsman or bargee, a person who looks after the cargo on barges and ships. According to an old legend, the city of Torun was overrun by a plague of frogs. The towns people did everything they could think of but couldn’t get rid of them. The mayor of the city offered the hand of his daughter to any person could rid the city of the frogs. A flisak (raftsman) played his violin and drove the frogs from the city, as promised the flisak for his reward he received the hand of his beloved daughter and lived happily together.
The Flisak Fountain is a great photo opportunity, as my wife relaxed in the shade in the town square I headed over to the fountain and started snapping away. The fountain is circular with golden frogs squirting water from their mouths. As with a lot of town squares this one is inhabited with pigeons and a few flew over to the fountain. I originally thought that the birds came to the water to bathe and cool down from the heat of the midday sun. Too my surprise they started drinking straight from the fountain spout itself. I quickly trained my camera and started shooting off frames. As it happens others saw what I was photographing and started doing the same. The birds flew off and people left. I hung around knowing the pigeons would return and they did. I got a few more frames before people noticed again that the pigeons were back.
I was ecstatic; I knew at this point I had got my picture of the day. I dared not look at the LCD except to check I had captured something and reassure my thoughts. When I got home I waited a long time to download the images to the computer and then to look and process. I actually processed one of the two images last night and shared it on twitter and facebook.
The first image I processed in Adobe Camera Raw and then imported to Photoshop where I used Alien Skin to adjust the colour toning, then Topaz Detail to add detail to the head of the pigeon and the golden frog. I reduced the noise of the image and then added Topaz lens effect to add a slight zoom blur and then finally sharpened the image.
With the second image, I processed the image in Adobe Camera Raw, imported to Photoshop and cleaned the image by cloning and patching some background details. Colour toning in Colour Efex and then reduced noise, before using Topaz detail to bring out some more detail in the pigeon and the fountain. Finally I sharpened the image and burned in some highlight areas.
Out of the two images the second is the one I really wanted to capture, with the claws of the Pigeon clinging onto the eye of the frog, the bird also has his beak in the spout of the frog. In the first image the depth of field is shallower which I emphasised in the processing.
I really like these images, Do you? Let me know your thoughts using the comment box below.
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