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Friday Slide Show: Mission Carmel Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

16 January 2015

With Pope Francis planning to canonize Junipero Serra later this year, we thought we'd revisit our 2005 images of Mission Carmel, properly known as Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.

It was Serra's favorite mission, legend has it, and he was buried there in 1784.

We shot these with a Nikon Coolpix 990. We've taken 11,995 photos with that camera (which has fresh batteries in it so 12,000 is not out of the question), more than any other camera we've used.

Antique. We liked the color captures too much to indulge in a monochromatic preset but we did give it a shot. Here's what Antique looks like.

But it shoots only JPEGs and even with all the King's horses and men of Lightroom 5, there are blown highlights that can't be recovered. Still it was an interesting exercise to run these snapshots through modern image editing software.

We do still like the 990's color capture (and the composition). A couple of the interior shots show some camera blur, unfortunately. Those were 1/4 second shutter speed shots with ISO about 150 (for some reason, even though ISO 400 was tops for this 3.1-megapixel camera). Wonder how an iPhone 6 would manage the same shots today.

It was a marvelous summer day when we arrived in the late afternoon as a service was beginning. We peeked in before we wandered around the gardens.

The bell tower's dome is original, the only mission that can make that claim. The rest of the place required restoration in the 1930s. And the original fountain, long lost, was only restored to the Mission in 1984.

The California Missions are a horse ride away from each other running north to the wine country through San Francisco. They are among our oldest historic buildings with the romantic gauze of the past veiling them.

But lift the gauze and you'll see they are also controversial, the evidence of an invading force intent on replacing the long-standing culture of the local populations with their own conventions.

Nothing is ever simple in California.

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