Sailor’s Delight

Sunset at an extremely turgid Red River.

Recently they built new on & off ramps at the base of the Jimmy Davis Bridge, an old, unlit truss bridge near my house. With the new ramps, the river shore area right under the bridge’s belly had been cleared, giving brand new vistas from a previously inaccessible area. I pass over the bridge on the way to work every day, reminded myself to get down there. I waited too long, forgetting about the annual river rise. This year’s rise looks to be a whopper. The river averages around 16 feet near us and is currently at 25, and most of that rise came over the last week. In the picture above, the rocks usually descend another sloping 10 meters. When I was taking these today, tons of debris came rolling by including the wooden top of a shed. Some of the debris is likely just junk jarred loose with the swell, but most of the large trees coming down were those ripped up by the tornadoes a little way up north. So for the photograph, I headed for higher ground about a mile down from the bridge. Even though the river will likely crest this week, it may not be until well in late June before I’ll be able to get under the bridge like I want.

As for processing, this started as a bracketed shot at 0, 2 & -2. I usually don’t bracket that wide but I wanted to make sure I captured all the red in sky. I merged the 3 in Photoshop and did the initial tone-mapping there. I used the tonal contrast isolated to only the rocks  in Color Efex. I then brought it back into Lightroom to reduce noise, warm globally, and then used two exposure gradients to emulate a NDF.

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