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

6 March 2015

Just off the beach at the west end of Golden Gate Park are two Dutch windmills. The Murphy Windmill to the south, which was installed in 1908, has just been restored but the older Dutch Windmill to the north, installed in 1903, was repaired in 1980.

The windmills pumped water from the park's huge underground aquifer to irrigate the greenery that had been planted over the sand dunes. In 1913 motorized pumps were installed and the power system was electrified not long after. The Dutch Windmill, which stands 75 feet tall with 102 foot long spars, pumped about 30,000 gallons of water an hour, the Murphy Windmill about 40,000. The windmills were taken out of service in 1935 and fell into disrepair until their recent restorations.

Having a windmill around is charming enough but the Dutch Windmill is surrounded by the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden. Children love to run around the colorful flower beds, young people court and marry there, elderly visitors enjoy the garden's order. Everybody loves the place.

It's difficult to believe, sitting on a bench there in the afternoon, that the Pacific Ocean is only a few feet away, its strong winds ready to sand blast anything as fragile as tulip petals. But the site is in a hollow surrounded by trees that protect it.

It's the picture of grace under fire.

You can't take a bad photo of the windmill but it's hard to get a good photo of the gardens. Macro mode is your friend.

We were there as the sun was low in the afternoon sky. We came upon the site from the east, our camera set to ISO 200, f7.1 and 1/800 second for all of these. We were just playing tourist.

Our Lightroom edits of the DNGs started with adding Clarity and then adjusting Shadows and Highlights. One or two got an Exposure and Contrast adjustment as well, not something we typically do. But that's what sliders are for: experimenting.

We spent some time cropping the images, as well. They were shot as Raw but we use an aspect ratio of 16:9 to compose them in the camera. The slide show contains images with 16:9, 3:2, 1:1 and Custom aspect ratios.

It's a tiny, postage-stamp corner of San Francisco, but not to missed. It may not irrigate the park anymore but it can still fortify your spirits.

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