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Friday Slide Show: The Conservatory Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

15 November 2019

We were going through some old boxes looking for the combination of an old padlock that made an appearance as a prop in our Pelican review when we paused to admire an old HiTi dye sub print. We dug through our archive to find the original image, which took us back to 2003 where we ran across this old set of images.

They were taken at the Conservatory in Golden Gate Park with a Nikon 990 just after it had reopened after its four-year Millennium rehabilitation.

California's first municipal greenhouse, the Conservatory was built with a redwood frame instead of cast iron and completed in 1879 following the plan of the Kew Gardens Conservatory in England. Its exotic plants had to make their way around the Horn.

If you're visiting San Francisco with a camera, the Conservatory is not to be missed.

Its fogged white glass panes (2,600 thousand square feet of them weighing 25 tons and requiring two tons of putty) beautifully diffuse the light in the humid interior, making it easy to capture stunning images of the unusual inhabitants.

If you're visiting San Francisco with a camera, the Conservatory is not to be missed.

The only problem we seemed to have had was not unusual in the early era of digital photography and persists to this day with JPEG captures on smartphones. Burned out highlights.

The Nikon 990 in Program AE mode captured all of these using ISO 100 at various f-stops and shutter speeds that tended to be around f4 and 1/150 second.

We processed them in Lightroom Classic, applying a good dose of Clarity, a little Texture and bringing the shadows and highlights back within range. For an extra boost, we used Curves to darken the midtones on a few of them.

The orange flower was the most challenging. It was oversaturated, so we used the HSL panel to control the orange and red spectrum a little better.

But in general we were surprised by how well the color had been captured. We did apply a general edit to everything but after that, many of these didn't get touched.

But then you really aren't supposed to touch flowers, you know.

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