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Friday Slide Show: Dry Creek Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

13 January 2017

After all the rain around here this week we needed a break and what better break than to revisit Dry Creek, whose name alone does the job. Except our "revisiting" was confined to looking through our photo archive for images of the valley rather than hazarding a trip there.

Hop Kiln. Man does not survive on wine alone.

The valley was formed by Dry Creek, which is a tributary of the Russian River near Healdsburg in Sonoma County. And if you're thinking wine country, you're right. It has the benefit of being watered by the huge Lake Sonoma reservoir, so it isn't really dry.

We last visited in December 2002, touring a few of the wineries until the sun set on us. We had our Nikon 990 with us, shooting tourist JPEGs. But we had a laugh looking through them the other day and thought you might enjoy a few of them, too.

Including what we propose is probably the best use yet devised for an Argus C3 camera.

Maybe that's what appeals to us about this set. Senseless. But beautiful.

A few of these shots were taken on the way to Dry Creek, we hasten to point out.

Walters Ranch Hop Kiln near Healdsburg was built in 1905 by Italian stonemasons as a significant contributor to the major hop-growing area in the west. You can see the well-preserved three sone kilns for drying hops, a wooden cooler and two-story press to bale hops for shipping.

And the rose nursery is just off Highway 101 near Santa Rose. "Random Acts of Senseless Beauty" is a play on the then-famous work Random Acts of Kindness that proposed the world would be a better place if every once in a while, spontaneously say, we did something kind -- just for a change. Senseless beauty can play a similarly delightful role, of course.

Maybe that's what appeals to us about this set. Senseless. But beautiful. Not exactly the epitome of digital technology, no. That's where "senseless" comes in. And yet a bit beautiful all the same.

We gave these the full wash-and-dry treatment in Lightroom CC, once again marveling at what a little modern image editing technology can do. It can't restore burned out highlights from a JPEG but it can bring out the micro-contrast with Clarity, straighten buildings out with the Transform tool and smooth out the noise admirably.

That makes these old captures worth revisiting in our book. Especially after being battered by a big storm for a few days.

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