Thirteen years ago, I took this picture out the window of my dorm room in Trinity College’s Jarvis Hall. Over the years of renovations and upgrades between then and now, I don’t believe the room or the tree are still there. The iconic Neo-Gothic windows, however, are still there.
North of Berkeley, on Grizzly Peak, mid-century modern homes block most the sunset views. I imagine great sheets of glass and tastefully appointed balconies on the other side, but the street-facing side offers mostly abbreviated driveways and garage doors. When I can peak through, though, the gardens of white flowers give way to views above the trees to Richmond and the North Bay.
My past couple of posts have been images of San Francisco, foregrounded by nature and suburbs—the style I like to call a “civilization gradient”. This image similarly presents downtown Oakland, California, past the hilltop homes and Cal fields of Strawberry Canyon and through the invasive alien leaves of Berkeley Lab’s eucalyptus trees. The HDR processing techniques that Brendan and I use are perfect for settings like this, with an array of light intensities across a broad landscape.
Nothing like Nik’s Analog pseudo-vintage photoprocessing to produce the maximally creepy image. This particular lamp at St. Lawrence, ensconced in the boughs of a maple tree, creates the best patters at night. The tendrils extending from a central bulb remind me of the structure of a neuron.
Of all the plant phyla, I’ve always felt a particular affinity for the conifers. Those spiny softwood survivors have a diverse yet particular set of aromatic compounds that accompany them; I can chart a lot of happy memories to pine or cypress groves and their applied organic chemistry. Starting on the east coast, through the midwest, and finding myself in grad school on the west coast meant contact with a lot of different species. These ocean-wind-sculpted examples from Pacifica, California are particularly dramatic.