In the United States, the ubiquitous Neo-Gothic architecture of college campuses is an intentional throwback to far more ancient campuses in Europe. From a present-day perspective, of course, the “new” campuses of the east coast have existed for long enough that the anachronistic campuses now blur into a single time period called “old”. On the west coast, however, structures like Berkeley’s Sather Tower (a.k.a. the Campanile) are clearly artificial additions in the otherwise-contemporary landscape.
One of my favorite images, taken in 2017, captures a person watching the Bay Area sunset from Grizzly Peak. When Photoshop’s new Super Resolution processing brought me back to some of my images from the same vantage in 2013, I was surprised to realized that I had already captured a very similar image. The difference between the burned-out foreground of 2013 and the lush grasses on 2017 is particularly interesting.
While there’s a real island in the distance on the left side of this image (Angel Island, in this case), the steep Grizzly Peak hills and the road over them transform hilltops into “tree islands” like the one on the right.
The “let’s enhance” action continues with this image of Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, Strawberry Canyon, and South Campus from the top of the Campanile. It holds a special place in my heart because it shows the entire terrain I traversed going to and from work during my first year in grad school.
Extracting additional information from an image by “enhancing” it has long been a ridiculous trope of police procedurals; it’s with great amusement that I noticed that Photoshop’s new “Super Resolution” capability (which uses machine learning to quadruple the resolution of an image) is under an option called “Enhance”. The first subject for enhancement was this picture I took of Berkeley and San Francisco in 2011. It’s worth the click-through for the full resolution version.
(Adding to the super-resolution theme, this image also contains, in the lower-center, the Molecular Foundry and its associated center for electron microscopy.)
Berkeley’s Normandy Village was constructed as a sort of “Disneyland version” of a French village, but being constructed in the early twentieth century, it included covered car parking spaces. The challenge, of course, is that the size of the average automobile has grown substantially in the past 100 years. “Compact” and “mid-size” cars barely fit; only the Mazda Miata at the left size of the image looks properly at home in its bay.
In the era before the Bay Bridge and BART tunnel, the ferry between the East Bay and San Francisco departed from the end of a long pier. (The pier used to be even longer—the Berkeley Marina extended into the water around it.) The ferry ended service in 1937, after the bridge opened, but remained a popular location for fishing until it deteriorated to its current unsafe state. I’m kind of fascinated to see its skeleton jutting out into the Bay, a linear form amid rolling marine layer clouds.
I remember thinking at the beginning of my “serious” return to photography in 2011 that I’d someday look back to those pictures of a particular place and time (Berkeley in the early 2010s) with a sense of nostalgia that then random street scenes didn’t necessarily offer at the time. This view of a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV parked outside the Cheese Board has now become one of those images: in 2020, the prohibition on diners in the road median is now being enforced, while the parking for the cars see here has been largely removed and replaced with additional sidewalk seating.
We’re not far from the ninth anniversary of the founding of Decaseconds, and I came upon this arresting image of Berkeley Marina, the Marin Headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge (never before published here) while searching for just the right anniversary shot. I’m fascinated by the way the orange emission of sodium vapor lamps lighting Berkeley (I’m sure now all swapped for white LEDs) matches the Rayleigh-scattered oranges of the winter sunset. The same wavelengths of light, coming from completely different mechanisms.