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Friday Slide Show: Edgehill Mountain Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

21 June 2019

We live across the street from a mountain. And it makes a nice neighbor, shielding us from northern winds and eclipsing the glare of the setting sun in the summer.

Its history is recounted by the Edgehill Mountain Open Space Committee:

Originally part of Adolph Sutro's San Miguel Ranch, the property was sold following his death in 1898. After the land became one of the city's first subdivisions, known as Claremont Court, houses were built on the mountain's western and southern slopes. The first major problems began in 1952 and '53 when winter rains sent part of Edgehill Way and one home sliding down the mountain. In 1985, Edgehill Mountain Park was established when the city purchased one acre of the mountain's undeveloped western slope and designated the area an Open Space Park. In 1997, a slope above some newly constructed homes collapsed during a rainstorm, cascading mud and rock onto the houses below and sending an unmistakable warning that the park could not survive the environmental destruction generated by further residential development.

Edgehill Mountain Park remains open space on the undeveloped southwest side, maintained by volunteers that include the surrounding grammar schools and scouting organizations. One little path skirts across the overgrown hillside linking the gated community to the older homes circling the top of the mountain.

We gave you a black-and-white peek of those view in an October 2014 slide show. But those were shot years before in 2005 with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D and a Minolta 18-70mm f3.5-5.6.

This time we focused mostly (but not entirely) on the mountain, taking a step in to the open space park before coming back down the hill. Uh, mountain. In color. With a Micro Four Thirds camera. And while we started out with a 14-42mm f3.5-56 zoom, we couldn't finish with it.

Were there a church graveyard, we might have buried our old lens on the spot.

It started developing the dreaded "check the status of the lens" error that indicates the fragile ribbon cable within the housing had broken. Were there a church graveyard, we might have buried our old lens on the spot. And hummed taps for the years of unselfish service it had provided.

Instead, we went back to the bunker, fiddled with it endlessly and got it to focus again briefly. But we knew better. We could hear the ribbon crunching as we zoomed. So we packed along our indestructible 43-86mm Nikkor mounted on a Lensbaby Tilt Composer.

And we needed it. The 14-42mm M.Zuiko failed as soon as we zoomed. So we finished the shoot with the Nikkor.

It was difficult to focus with the Nikkor. We didn't aid our cause by stopping down the lens in the overcast light shaded by the forest of the open space. We really should have opened it up to focus before stopping down to shoot.

Even then we were usually too close to our subjects. We seemed to need a few feet rather than a little more than one.

Still, we managed to get the shots that appealed to us without sliding down the hill.

When we got back to the bunker, we copied them to the laptop, converting them to DNGs and then backed them up to our three external drives. We took a look at them in Photo Mechanic 6 and were relieved to see they were mostly in focus.

So we batch processed them in Piccure+ because we were a bit dissatisfied with the quality of the image's in last week's slide show compared to a similar shoot in August 2018. Piccure+ was the difference.

That produces a sharper image with better tonality than we usually get from the camera alone. It also turned the DNG into a TIFF, which we imported into Lightroom to crop, straighten, denoise and tweak.

The mountain is an enchanting place with a postage stamp-sized forest from which to view the sun setting over the Pacific. And not a bad neighbor either.

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