Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Friday Slide Show: The Embarcadero Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

21 November 2014

It was summer. Four years ago. We were downtown for a briefing on a Kodak printer. And we had a Sony WX5 with us, one of those forgettable digicams your smartphone has replaced. The dear departed past, we seem to hear Dave Frishberg singing.

Along the Embarcadero. San Francisco Belle.

On the way we took a few tourist snapshots. But you could also think of it as a photo assignment. Pass through the same streets you know like the back of your hand looking for something you've never seen before.

We thought we might share a handful of them but our first selection from the set of 29 left us with 17.

They were shot as JPEGs (the only option) at Standard quality with Dynamic Range Optimizer set to Standard, too. DRO is Sony's in-camera image optimization to save the highlights and open up the shadows. It works so well (just like Canon's i-Contrast and Nikon's D-Lighting), we never shot without it.

But the images still had more headroom than we expected. Mainly in the shadows. The tugboat, for example, had an almost black bow when we opened it in Lightroom's Develop module, but the Shadow slider brought out detail all around the front. That wasn't a great idea, so we slide back a bit, but we were surprised to find any detail in that blackness.

Highlights were pretty well preserved but a few of these shots got some highlight attention. Clarity was used on all of them so we had to open the Shadow detail, too. Only a few profited from the Upright tool, which surprised us. We thought a few more could have been helped by it.

We walked north along the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building that day. But not just on the street. There is a lovely little stroll on the other side of the piers, that we strongly recommend. There's a shot from the wooden pier looking back at it. You walk along an iron fence punctuated with famous quotes and street lamps hung with flower baskets as you look out over the bay.

We ended up among the city streets, amused by relics from the past and phantom skyscraper windows reflected on polished facades. There's even a gratuitous cable car shot featuring a cab and bicycle all lined up for a drag race (except nobody is driving the cable car).

Some things -- like digicams and Kodak -- don't last. Others -- like tugs and cable cars -- do. The dear departed past always has room for both. As a few old photos prove.

BackBack to Photo Corners