I spent a few days earlier this week attending a conference in San Antonio. While the conference was informative, it was an all-day affair which left me with little free time to do much in the way of photography. Fortunately, my hotel was right on the River Walk, so when some co-workers and I went to eat each night, I made sure I had my camera with me.
The San Antonio River Walk is exactly what it sounds like – a series of walkways that run along the banks of the San Antonio River. The River Walk is home to numerous bars, restaurants, and shops and is a major attraction for both tourists and locals, as I found out when my first night in town happened to be the night the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship.
I was eating at a restaurant on the River Walk on my last night in San Antonio when I saw this scene. What caught my eye originally was the contrast between the white tablecloths and the red napkins, and I took several shots of it. Then I noticed the couple sitting at one of the tables, and I immediately thought of a the type of scene you might see in a painting.
In order to achieve this effect, I processed the image in Lightroom as I normally would. I then opened the image in Photoshop and used the Topaz Simplify 4 plug-in. This is an incredible plug-in that lets you take a photograph and turn it into a painting. There are numerous presets from oil paint to watercolor, and, with the various sliders, each preset can be tweaked to achieve the exact look you want to achieve. For this image, I chose the watercolor present, made a few adjustments to the settings, and created exactly the image I had envisioned.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 105mm, 1/60 sec, f/4