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Friday Slide Show: A Few Fountains Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 October 2018

We've almost always approached our Friday Slide Show feature in the same way. We hunt through our collection of shoots for either an old one we like or a recent one. Old or new but always by shoot.

We did make a couple of popular deviations from that approach for our slide shows on bikes and windows. But each of those took a long time to curate (we don't use the word lightly) from our collection of over 64,000 images.

But as we worked with Excire Search Pro for our recent review, it occurred to us that we just might be able to delegate the curation to an intelligent assistant.

We tried a few of Excire Search Pro's keywords to see what it would come up with. And, as we have previously reported, sometimes it's quite amusing.

Our search for "cookies," for example, turned up all kinds of round things from cupcakes to coins. We don't mind false positives in a search. You can select the correct images easily enough, eliminating the mistakes.

But it helps enormously to hunt for objects that are unambiguous. Like "fountains."

These images go back 18 years. The first one was taken in Albany, Calif., with a Kodak DC290. That was a 2.1-megapixel wonder with a 3x zoom that required four AA batteries.

So what is it about fountains?

In fact, quite a few cameras are featured in this group.

There's our venerable Nikon E990, which was our constant companion for years. Also in the set: Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, Fujifilm S5200, Kodak EasyShare-One, Nikon Coolpix P5000, Canon PowerShot SD850 IS, Nikon Coolpix S510, Fujifilm S100FS, Nikon D300, Olympus XZ-1, Nikon Coolpix S9100 and Olympus E-PL1.

We used to review cameras, in case you were wondering.

The later images were captured as Raw data but most of these were digicam JPEGs. All of them were processed for this slide show in Lightroom Classic CC using the Camera Raw controls for Clarity, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks and Saturation. We found we had to dampen the saturation on many of the early JPEGs.

One image whose composition we really liked didn't survive in color so we converted it to monochrome. Just one.

We also used the Upright tool and Lens Distortion panels more than usual. Fountains themselves may be symmetrical but we rarely got a straight-on, balanced view of them.

So what is it about fountains?

You certainly can't enjoy the happy, gurgling sounds in a slide show. And you can't be impressed by the powerful rush of buckets of water cascading from one level to another in other fountains.

There isn't a lot of color (although there is one colored-water fountain) and not a lot of detail in those sprays and shoots of white water. Most of the JPEGs blew those highlights out. It's to Lightroom's credit you can see any detail there.

Motion can be blurred or frozen and you'll see both here, mainly frozen.

Some of these fountains are quite old, going back to the Mission era. And others are rather recent. Some functional, some decorative.

There is something relaxing about a fountain. At least until a breeze blows the mist in your face. All that power artfully directed into a repeatable pattern.

But then we like watching water anyway. Just coming out of the tap or crashing on the beach in waves. It's where we come from, after all, and what we are made of.

Would that we were as graceful as a fountain.

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