While my normal images capturing the “civilization gradient” tend to be more focused on space (traversing from nature to dense urban areas), I sort of like the way this image reminds me of a traversal through time, from the Stone Age to the Information Age. As William Gibson says, “The future has already arrived—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
Or perhaps it really just reminds me of the vantage point from Caspar David Friedrich’s “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog“.
Far beyond the glowing web of Bay Area streets, the verdant Berkeley Hills are curving and waving and tossing in the wind.
This image is another in a series of my re-processings of less-than-new RAW files with Photoshop’s “Super Resolution” machine learning algorithm. As in those other cases, the added impression of detail is particularly astonishing when viewed at full size after clicking through to the original image on Flickr.
When the Bay Area feels so dense and overwhelming with information, people, and ideas, a drive up to Grizzly Peak is an escape.
Shooting summer landscapes in the Bay Area typically means swaths of gold, blue, and red. Bright pinks and magentas are much less common, but the jackets and graffiti of Grizzly Peak on this particular evening brought those novel hues.
“Escaping from it all” may be difficult in the Bay Area, but an evening picnic in the Berkeley Hills gets pretty close.
Going back over some of my favorite images with “Super Resolution,” there’s no way I was going to skip a second shot at my image that first captured the “civilization gradient” from nature through suburbs to dense urbanity.
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.
The hills south of Berkeley, California just keep rolling—hill after hill after hill.
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.
More adventures with Photoshop’s new “Super Resolution” machine learning algorithm, which quadruples the resolution of a processed image: a view of Berkeley and San Francisco from Grizzly Peak.
At the right time of day and with the right hints of weather, San Francisco looks extra futuristic. Home to the tech industry, I think the city usually merits the descriptor.
Grizzly Peak’s superhuman view of the Bay Area seems so inaccessible; that we could drive there (albeit on steep, winding roads) is surreal. The alignment of mundane cars along the ridge seems like a different phase of matter from the glowing roads and epic accomplishments of civil engineering below. I suspect that those mundane cars will become a lot more interesting when I look back at this picture in 30 years.
The (distorted) ring of the Bay Area, with “impassable” hills along the edge and “empty” water in the middle, reminds me of the ring-shaped space stations of science fiction. The strangeness of the Bay only adds to the perception of visiting an alien planet.
My time on sabbatical in Berkeley, California ends tomorrow. This has been an incredible experience (scientifically, photographically, and personally); looking out from Grizzly Peak’s incredible view, I feel like everything has aligned properly. Just as was the case last time I left, this grand view of the Bay Area is one I want to remember.
Until next time, California!