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Friday Slide Show: Mount Davidson Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

3 January 2014

As the new year begins, we're still battling stagnant air here with Spare the Air alerts today and tomorrow, preventing any wood burning. Not that we're complaining. The winter storms in the rest of the country are frightening.

slide show

Views From Mount Davidson. New Year's Day. Click the thumbnail to start the slideshow.

On New Year's Day we took a little hike to the south of us, scaling Mount Davidson, which is really the tallest peak in San Francisco. We hiked up Twin Peaks on Christmas Day, so we didn't want to neglect Mount Davidson.

It was sunny with that haze sitting over the bay and low lying areas. We had our Nikon D200 with us (once a Camera of the Year, you know) and a Nikkor 35mm f2.8 on it with a circular polarizer to cut through the haze.

At the top of Mount Davidson, where we took the East and Southeast shots, we took photos for families that didn't want to leave anyone out of the picture. A nice sentiment we recommend to everyone.

Funny thing about the D200, though. People always compliment us on it. Doesn't matter if we have a tiny 35mm prime or that silly Rexatar 28-50mm zoom on it. The D300 never gets the same praise. Nor our Canon.

We finally figured it out though. It's the vertical grip. That impresses people. Maybe we should worry about the Vertical Grip of the Year instead of the Camera of the Year.

It takes a long time to master a camera. We looked at the D300 for a few weeks, incredulous that we couldn't divine how to set up exposure bracketing. Not our fault this time. Nikon moved the function to an unmarked button. On the D200, it's right there waiting for you to use it.

But there's also always been something that felt right about the D200. The D300 is no slouch, certainly, and we're well aware of its improvements. But we don't have quite the same rapport with it.

We picked just a very few images for today's slide show because we wanted to convert them to black and white. We used Adobe Camera Raw 8.2, which provides sliders to darken or lighten tones by color. Even after converting the image to grayscale, it remembers the colors, which provide an automatic tonal mask for each color. That's a lot of fun. You just go down from one slider to the next, moving them left and right to see if it improves things at all.

Can't have that kind of fun with a preset.

You may also notice we fooled around with the crop too. The very narrow image was shot between two buildings that don't add anything to the composition but which we avoid with the 35mm prime.

So these are heavily manipulated images from the Raw data. We tried not to eliminate the haze while adding to the drama, particularly in the sky. That's where moving the blue sliders helped a lot. And the yellow sliders (given our dry winter) brightened the landscape.

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