Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Friday Slide Show: Fourth Street Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

21 August 2015

We haven't gotten out of town much lately. Various reasons, none of them serious. But the other Saturday, some friends invited us to dinner. They offered to pick us up and drive across the bay to a restaurant in Berkeley.

Fourth Street. A studio for the imagination.

We didn't jump at the chance. We thought we could replicate the meal here. Save a few bucks in gas, bridge toll and restaurant markup. But they've been wanting to try this particular restaurant. And who were we to argue?

We can't remember the last time we had been to Fourth Street in Berkeley. It's one of many spots in Berkeley which we have always thought of fondly. Berkeley has a charm you would never suspect if all you've ever seen are clips on the evening news. Same goes for Oakland.

There is, in fact, an East Bay charm we grew to appreciate during summer vacations with our father's mother in Albany, just north of Berkeley. The mornings were sunny for one thing. And the blue jays were all the alarm clock you needed.

You either like a place or you don't. We like Fourth Street.

Grandma would be in the high-ceilinged kitchen in the house Grandpa had built, listening to the news echo on the radio as she made breakfast. We seemed to get up fully dressed and ready for any adventure.

Adventure? Sure. Our older cousins were somewhere in the house, too. They really knew how to get into trouble.

But that was Albany. Fourth Street was something else entirely. Same East Bay charm but dressed up to go out at night. And we were not long out of college when we spent a happy afternoon or two there.

You either like a place or you don't. We like Fourth Street.

So after dinner on Fourth Street we felt compelled to take a little stroll. It's not many blocks and the stores were all closed but the air was fresh and it was warm and we needed the exercise after a full meal. We had also brought along a camera.

Last year when we photographed After Hours, we had a dSLR set at ISO 800 and thought the next time we try shooting a business district at night, we'd go 1600. So we did that.

But even wide open, the shutter speed was too slow for several subjects. Anything moving.

Still, there is something about shooting through windows when the doors are locked that appeals to us. Time stopped. Everything in its place. But life elsewhere.

These took a bit of work in Lightroom CC. We spent some time working out the right noise suppression levels. And we had a lot of straightening to do, too.

Unlike After Hours, though, we had a variety of subjects. Fourth Street retains a bit of its industrial past and there is a train station just to the west.

The stores are not all big chains, either. But they're not quite neighborhood places either. They seem almost to be personal statements. They have character.

The images themselves stand alone, too. They don't need the theme of a slide show to hang together.

Reflections play a big part (sticking a street lamp in a living room display at a furniture store) but they don't inform the industrial images (the old roll-down steel door lit by a fancy new LED lighting fixture). And then there were the little touches: a message taped to the front doors, a playful display or three, the shell of a store undergoing construction.

We could have spent all night there. But the thought of blue jays in the morning sent us home to the fog and the wailing sirens of the city.

BackBack to Photo Corners