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: 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 December 2014

On Moraga St. between 15th and 16th Avenues in the Sunset district of San Francisco is one of the more stunning staircases you will find anywhere in the world. The risers of its 163 steps are all tiled in a mosaic that takes a vertical slice of the planet from its seas to the sky.

Tiled Steps. Inspiring.

Known as the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps or the Moraga Steps, the staircase is the work of over 220 neighbors who sponsored the tiles by Irish ceramist Aileen Barr, mosaic artist Colette Crutcher and over 300 neighbors who helped make them. Starting in 2003, it took them two and half years to complete the project.

Climb Down. Easier than the walk.

It's a tough subject to photograph.

From above, you can't see any of the risers of course. On the stairs themselves, you can only see what's above you or at your feet. And from below, at the foot of the stairs, you're really at the wrong angle, with the staircase falling away from you. And the top risers are so far back from the bottom ones with only the width of the street to back up that keeping both in focus is no small trick.

Where's one of those miniature helicopter pilots when you need them?

Complicating matters is a stand of trees on the southern side that cast a shadow until later in the afternoon, when the sun moves in front of the staircase to set in the Pacific.

Wait, we're not done complaining.

It's a long hike up the stairs, too. But at the top, the view is spectacular. And once you've caught your breath, you aren't far from Grandview Park where a wooden staircase takes you to a breaktaking view north of the Golden Gate.

We've visited regularly. These images were captured in October 2007 with a Canon Rebel XTi and the 18-55mm kit lens. ISO 100, f5.6, various shutter speeds from 1/60 to 1/125 second and various focal lengths.

We cropped a bit in Lightroom and applied the same edits to all of them using the Copy and Paste Photo Settings command. We did apply basic Lens Corrections but no perspective correction. And Clarity helped immensely.

The stairs are just off 19th Avenue, also known as Highway 101, where traffic is always congested. So they make a nice little detour. And, if you have time, a view like no other.

BackBack to Photo Corners