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Friday Slide Show: Dogpatch Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

18 July 2014

We have to confess to a special fondness for the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. We've been visiting it for years, watching it develop and yet stubbornly resist gentrification. Its condos never seem exclusive and its industrial neglect never seems seedy. Its 1860 houses charm with the same warmth as its innovative restaurants.

Dogpatch. A study in contrasts.

A study in contrasts. So black and white seemed the right tone to set when we shot these images in 2011 using a Nikon 1 V1. We've always been fond of this set. Sometimes color photography seems to allure us with nothing but eye shadow and lipstick. Black and white, on the other hand, always seems as familiar as a family photo album.

These shots were taken in a very small area of Dogpatch so they aren't representative of the neighborhood. Our favorite butcher isn't there, for one thing. Or our favorite photo studio. Not to mention the Japanese restaurant or the tapas place, among other restaurants. Or Hell's Angels headquarters. Or our favorite smokestack. Or....

These images have a certain spunk to them, like the neighborhood. A study in contrasts. Barbed wire, yes, but it's dancing along the top of a wall. Unreinforced masonry peppered with broken windows under a sky streaked by a vapor trail. A stately building boarded up. A cigarette butt nested in a decorative sidewalk medallion.

But maybe our favorite is the bayscape with the rundown dock on the left pining for the park on the right with the dry dock further out and a ship at anchor still further away. Life in 1/250 of a second.

We shot these JPEGs in black and white (except the last image which was in color but monotone). We stuck with ISO 100 and f9 on the 10mm prime and the 10-30mm zoom. So the shutter speed varied.

Everything was processed in Lightroom 5.5, bumping up the Contrast and Clarity and adjusting the Highlight and Shadow sliders to refine things, for the most part. A few images required the Upright tool, too -- which is becoming a real blessing.

That third image, looking up at broken windows, is a good example. There was just something disturbing about the original capture. At 10mm (27mm equivalent) it bent the straight lines into a soft curve. But we also weren't standing parallel to the building. We thought we could just straighten it out but there was no straight to it. So we let Upright work its magic and suddenly, even though it wasn't straight, it was no longer disturbing.

This not-entirely-remedied perspective solution was applied to the stately building, too. You can get those verticals parallel but the building won't look stately any more. You want to be looking up at it a bit.

Dogpatch may not be on anyone's list of places to go in San Francisco but if you get lost there you just may have the time of your life.

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