February 16, 2024  •  Leave a Comment


This week I would like to make one last (?) trip back to 2012 to look at three images that I've overlooked all these years. After a little massaging on the computer, I am pleased with the effort and wonder why it took me so long to find something worthwhile in my archives from ten years back.

This first image shows how bloody romantic and dramatic the Oregon Coast can be. The area attracts people from all over the world who really don't have any idea of what they are getting into. Fran calls this the "Winter Beach Experience", available for your enjoyment all year round. She loves it, although I don't think the Chamber of Commerce has this in mind for a new advertisement campaign. In fact the only real difference between Summer and Winter on the Oregon Coast is that in Winter the rain tends to be horizontal in nature. The scene above is from August, and what you are looking at is the dreaded and feared "Marine Layer." This occurs when the typical morning fog refuses to dissipate, and the expected high for the day plummets 20-30 degrees.


This is my snapshot from the day, which clearly shows the disappointing weather, but does not really convey the mood. I first went for the crop tool, since the  upper portion of the sky above the seagull (which I initially thought was a piece of sensor dust) didn't add anything to the photo. There was clearly enough gray sky without it. To my eye the 2:1 panoramic crop was better suited as usual to the beach and emphasized the energy (foolishness?) of the two hikers on the beach. Keep in mind that I was out there to witness their trek. The next move was to convert to black and white, since there wasn't a shred of real color around anyway. I cleaned up the beach a bit after I spared the seagull, and then tried to deal with any exposure and contrast changes that would enhance the mood of the image. I kept this a little simpler than usual, since it is pretty easy to use Lightroom tools to "correct" an image and render it completely differently than the mood you wanted to convey. If you pay attention to the histogram, and try to make it more balanced, you will ruin the high-key look that attracted you in the first place. More sophisticated algorithms like "Dehaze" obviously are not called for here. Even using "Dehaze" in a negative manner seems like gilding the lily. I even kept sharpening to a bare minimum.


The result might still contain too much definition, but I feel that it certainly conveys the kind of day that you might encounter on the Oregon Coast on any random day of the year. At least the dog, and certain random photographers, will still have a good time.

                                                                  LEFT FIELD CORNER

These next two shots come from a delightful day in Seattle at a day game in July. The Mariners schedule a few day games each Summer to encourage an easy trip from Portland. If everything works out reasonably correctly you can leave Portland at a reasonable hour in the morning and get back before the witching hour without having to deal with any traffic on I-5. The train station is just a short walk from the ballpark, and you can have a fun day and feel so much more intelligent than most of the other thousands of fans at the game.

Safeco Field, or whatever the hell they call it these days, is a very nice rendition of the throwback ballpark style that started with Camden Yards in Baltimore. This despite the fact that it is not related to a Seattle reality or history at all. The King Dome was such a horrible place that almost anything would have been an improvement of course, but there is no denying that it can be a very nice place to spend the day. It has enough quirks and idiosyncrasies to prod your interest, and this architect can feel proud of a profession that can sometimes produce something so beyond what is simply required to make gobs of money. Of course gobs and gobs of money are being made, and I will skip my usual rant about how it is impossible to imagine how the young fan that I once was could experience all the good times I had at the ballpark when minimum wage could get you into the game. The nicest thing about this park is that the field is always accessible from the concourse, which also allows you to ramble completely around the place if the game turns less than riveting.

This detail of the corner of left field shows an architectural homage to several old ballparks like Fenway and others that keep a long fly ball in the field of play by erecting a wall for the ball and the poor outfielders to bounce off in pursuit of the highlight reel. The deliberate uncoupling of the foul line and the lower stands also allows for a crucial few feet for a ball to fall foul, or an area where a misplayed fly ball might bounce around and turn into a triple.

                                                                  EVERYTHING AS IT SHOULD BE

It didn't take much to improve this snapshot unless you are an anal architect-turned-photographer, and the you do them because you care, even if very few other people notice. "Dehaze" and sharpening tighten everything up a notch while making most of the colors a little deeper without making the exposure too dark. You can clearly critique each fan's fashion sense a little better, while the foul line and the 331 mark will now let you put off another trip to the eye doctor. My judicious and "absolutely necessary" crop has eliminated the guillotined fan above the Yankees logo, while also brilliantly allowed both the foul line and the bleacher wall to hit the bottom corners like God intended.

                                                                  ORIGINAL ROOF SNAPSHOT

The biggest architectural move at the ballpark is the incredible "non-dome", ie. the moveable roof that hovers over the stadium even if it is not closed. It is a wonder, even if it is kind of silly, and it moves! Slowly enough that it cannot respond quickly enough to a change in the weather, which makes "roof or no roof" more of a strategic decision than anything else. Be certain that sports radio will have many opinions on the day of the game, bolstered by analytics that will declare certain victory or defeat based on the location of the roof rather than the abilities of the team. Of course it is better to leave the roof off to the side of the stands so that you can watch baseball in the sun or at least under the stars as it was meant to be. But the nice thing about this roof is that even when it is "closed" it doesn't completely cover the stands, so that the some of the hoi polloi still get wet. In fact, if there's any kind of wind, the rain will blow in because the lid does not close over any exterior walls. Thus you still get to watch baseball outside, even if you are under a roof. And it moves!

                                                                  THE ROOF IS A STAR AS A BLACK AND WHITE FLYING SAUCER. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

My conversion to black and white really helps here, since that "blue" Seattle sky will only impress fans from Portland. Black and white, with some use of the "Dehaze" slider, crisps everything up to emphasize the structural bravado. Remember, the lid a good ten stories above my head. As usual deepening the blacks and raising the shadows reveals most of the details of the structure. A small crop of the mechanism at the top purifies the curve of the roof edge. The steel now almost glows beneath the clear white sky.

I hope you can see how easy it is to improve some of your old snapshots, even a decade after the fact. Of course your mileage, and your opinions can vary. But that is what makes the world go round.