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Friday Slide Show: Gump's Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 December 2016

It's an old truism that when two San Franciscans meet for the first time, they invariably ask, "What school did you go to?" And they always know they are talking about high school. It happens to us all the time. In a restaurant, at a trade show, wherever we go.

Gump's. Old fashioned tree toppers are just one treat.

We'll let the sociologists mine that for meaning but the other thing San Franciscans are especially fond of is our department stores. You mention the White House or I. Magnin to people of a certain age and they light up. Mention Dragonfly or Lazy Susan to others and the same thing.

None of those fun places survive today. But Gump's, established in 1861, still stands. We prize it today almost like a museum, full of artworks. But the truth is that we go there to buy special glassware (for weddings or big birthdays) and stationery (elegant thank you notes) and all sorts of little trinkets (salt and pepper shakers) that are gorgeous and yet surprisingly affordable in such a high-end store.

And at Christmas it's a fun place to shop for ornaments.

We dropped in last weekend and were amused to find ornament versions of avocados and Chinese takeout boxes and sushi, among other things. We were also very glad to see glass tree toppers. We always worry the hand-painted one we bought at Lazy Susan decades ago will be dropped and we'll have to resort to some angel.

We'd brought along the Olympus but we'd completely forgotten we left its battery in the charger.

We'd brought along the Olympus but we'd completely forgotten we left its battery in the charger. So there we were downtown with a camera and no battery. "Buy one," Joyce suggested. But it wouldn't have much of a charged, we were sure.

Fortunately, we had our iPhone 6 Plus with us. It's not the first time it's stepped in to photograph something we otherwise would have missed because of a battery issue.

And, we suspect, it allowed us to seem like an ordinary tourist just taking a few snapshots for his own amusement rather than some guy with a sophisticated camera taking shots for his Christmas card business.

The uncommonly polite staff, consequently, just smiled as we wandered around taking stills and videos (some of the carousels move) and chimping at them right away (well, you have to play the part).

We processed these JPEGs in Lightroom as we usually do for a set of Raw images destined for our Friday slide shows. But we used our Capture One Pro simulation preset to start with, added a modest bit of Clarity and pulled the Highlights back (on every single image) as we opened up the Shadows and enabled profile corrections. We did straighten a few and rotate and crop a little bit, too.

So while you're looking at iPhone images, you have to give Adobe more credit than Apple for the results. The colors are much deeper, the detail sharper, the noise eliminated and the blown highlights typical of iPhonography are contained if not quite recovered.

And if you like what you see but don't live anywhere near San Francisco, don't despair. Gump's has a Holiday Shop you can browse online. And until Dec. 8 you can get ornaments with free shipping when you use the code 4TREE16.

Happy holidays can start right now.

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