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Friday Slide Show: Of Arias And Dahlias Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

14 September 2018

We had saved the date. We do every year. The date of Opera in the Park, that is. It's always held on the Sunday of the opening weekend of the opera season here. The company's star singers and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra perform for the public at no charge. Can't beat that deal.

We can't remember when we first started attending. We do remember watching the local public television station's broadcasts of Kurt Herbet Adler conducting the affair in Golden Gate Park's music concourse. That must have been in the 1970s.

When the gala moved to Sharon Meadow with its hillside balcony, we were there. With a picnic lunch and something to swill with the traditional finale, the drinking song from La Traviata.


But over the years, as the event grew in popularity, our initial enthusiasm waned more and more the closer the day got. The annoyances we'd encountered, frankly, were outscoring the pleasures were remembered.

There always, for example, seems to be some idiot in a helicopter or small plane flying noisily over the crowd during the performance. Then there are the people who sprout umbrellas and tents right in front of you. And the non-stop chatterbugs who are there to entertain their friends over that silly background music.

So in recent years, loathe to skip the thrilling music itself, we've taken to having brunch at home and, after taking the bus over to the Robin Williams Meadow (as it is now called), walking around the venue on our way to the Dahlia Garden in full bloom.

The sound system is good enough that you don't miss much. And if your feet get tired, there are plenty of unoccupied benches along the way where the audio is undisturbed by amateur comedians.


Alas even the Dahlia Garden is not safe from idiots. This year two women being dragged along by two large dogs (one a German Shepherd and the other a much larger breed). The larger one was upset by something. The woman being pulled along on its leash yelled out to some kids to get off their skateboards. But that wasn't enough. She instructed them to pick up their skateboards.

Even then the thing lunged at the kids, who remained about 10 yards away as it walked by. Everyone there to see the dahlias looked on in disbelief. Apparently there was only one person in the area who thought it was no big deal to bring a dog with a skateboard phobia into a public park.

Take a helicopter next time.

Apart from that, we rather like our new routine. Less calories for one thing. And we get home earlier, not having to wait for the concert to end before shooting the dahlias.


Which gave us a little more time to work on these images.

Lightroom continues to amuse us with its ambivalence toward our GPU, which passes the code test but doesn't have the video RAM. Lightroom always disables it on launch, but always needs it, so we always reenable it to get on with our edits.

Even more amusing are the color profiles the application now applies. There are more of them and they are either flat like Neutral or a bit too vivid (like all the rest, perhaps excepting Adobe Color). Keep an eye out for what's being applied behind your back.

We disliked our color images of the concert so much, we converted them to black-and-white using the Monochrome profile. That gave them a timeless quality, as if they were lifted from a long-ago newspaper account of the concert.

But we couldn't do that to the dahlias. They sing in color.

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