The move to Hartford has offered me the opportunity to capture this time sequence (like the ones I took in Kentucky and the North Country) with a dramatic view of Travelers Tower over the course of a day. If the image appeals, it’s also available as a dynamic wallpaper for macOS that will change your desktop with the time of day.
Why save RAW camera outputs from (in this case) six years ago? Digital photography is a rapidly advancing field, and the advent of machine-learning-based noise reduction techniques has completely changed what sorts of images are salvageable. This lovely shot of Berkeley’s fire trails and tall (but invasive) eucalyptus trees stayed in the “unusable” pile for half a decade because I took it freehand, just after sunset, before I deployed my tripod—resulting in an ISO 4500 image from my old D7000 that was just too noisy. Topaz’s latest filters solved that and now this photo can take me back to my California sabbatical.
Moving to downtown Hartford, Connecticut placed this view just outside my window. I used to look across the city to Travelers Tower (the illuminated building at right) from my dorm room at Trinity College; 15 years later, I realize it shone like a beacon because it was being actively lit from nearby rooftops. Perhaps that’s a good lesson for life: the achievements that stand out don’t do so by accident, but because of conscious effort.
Though it may lack the verticality of Blade Runner’s Los Angeles in 2019, the cloudy skies and slightly sinister oranges put me in mind of the film’s iconic imagery.
Like a child’s legos, spilled out onto the floor until they reach the wall of the room, the sprawl of Coachella Valley reaches from one mountain range to the other.
Of course, when that sprawl does reach the edge, modern California’s land conservation kicks in and a hard barrier appears between homes and desert.
Thanksgiving break meant another trip to Europe (like our previous trips to Paris and Prague)—this time, to Dublin. From atop Guinness’s Gravity Bar, we watched night falling on the city and enjoyed a pint.
Runways on runways on runways, with the Rayleigh-scattering-induced silhouette of the Chicago skyline in the distance, on this summer morning over O’Hare International Airport.
Sections of Chicago’s hinterlands that were once stockyards and meatpacking facilities have long since been converted to serve as industrial parks, but the sense of an endless grid remains.
Night falls and the well-watered communities give way to desert landscapes on the outskirts of Coachella Valley.
I was back in California this week—sneaking some early-morning photography before the events of the 263rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society began. The underside of the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge reflected the sunrise and showed off the arc of its structure.
This view of Coit Tower and the western span of the Bay Bridge brought to you by the oddness of San Francisco zoning and real estate that prevent view-blocking high-rise construction. (Whether that’s a good thing is another question…)
My favorite William Gibson quote is, “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” How we gauge futurity—or how we identify the traits we associate with future-ness—means that some places will have more “future” to them than others. A mountaintop in the Adirondacks might be pretty similar to its condition 100 years ago, while downtown Berkeley would be unrecognizable.
This image is a picture of the past, from the “future”: I wanted to print a tall, vertical image of Berkeley and the Bay but had (it turns out) never quite taken the one I wanted. I had taken the two pictures that went into making this image as part of a larger panorama in 2013 that never quite came out. Here in the present, I pulled in every technique in my arsenal—Adobe’s super resolution, Topaz AI noise reduction, frequency separation—to assemble two images from a circa-2010 16 MP Nikon D7000 into the 76 MP monster you see below. This one is definitely worth clicking through to full resolution.
Add a mile or so above the Mile High City and the sunset views are spectacular, even on clear winter nights.
Describing city streets as canyons is, at this point, a cliché, but that doesn’t mean that an image of San Francisco can’t be perfectly canyon-evoking.
Sunrise over Los Angeles and SoFi Stadium; time to say goodbye to 2021. See you in the new year!