Probably, most people who live in San Francisco don’t know how lucky they are, unless their last domicile was in Detroit, Cleveland or Philadelphia. San Francisco is blessed with a dramatic topography, a mild climate and an economy that is the envy of most cities in the United States. It has made the improbable transition from maritime city to tech and financial center in a mere 30 years. Silicon Valley has moved north bringing with it all the blessings and curses of a newly affluent citizenry invading formerly blue collar neighborhoods. There are certainly the disruptions of gentrification and affordability pushing working class and minority folks to the edges and across the Bay, but the city remains a regional beacon for natives, tourists and techies alike. For the past three months we have been working with a real estate partnership and management company building a photo library documenting almost every neighborhood in San Francisco from the Marina District to the Excelsior. The images will be used to illustrate their planned extensive website which ultimately will contain individual web pages for over 150 properties. It has been quite an adventure. Who knew that there was a neighborhood called NOPA or a bakery in the Mission called Tartine that literally has lines around the block or a tulip garden at the base of the Golden Gate Park Windmill?
Building Better Images
After being stuck at 21.3 MPs camera sensor size for the last five years, Canon has just introduced a 50 MP camera upgrade to its professional lineup. Now, with a little tweaking, we can produce very good-looking mural prints from existing, smaller files. So why bother with the larger image size? Well, the new Canon 5Ds allows some interesting formatting possibilities along with camera and image enhancements that will hopefully give us incrementally better images. Ultimately, we will be able to create images that will be only limited by the refracting power of the lens on the camera. The cameras are not due out until June, but there is quite a buzz among the professional community and photographers are starting to queue up with anticipation.
What is a RAW file and why bother?
Most pros shoot in RAW file format. A RAW file is just basic digital information that comes off the sensor in an unprocessed form. It is akin to a traditional photographic negative. It needs to be processed in an app. Adobe has even developed a specific file format for RAW files called, Digital Negative or DNG. RAW files need to be processed by specifically designed software so that the images can be transformed into useable digital files. Up to now, we have relied on Adobe products, Photo Shop and Light Room, to do the job.
Recently, we have started using a file processing application called Capture One. They all do the same thing with slightly different user interfaces. But what we have noticed is quality differences between the two softwares and significant image enhancement capabilities in Capture One. With Capture One, we can now get details in shadows and highlights that were lost in other software. We can also get more accurate color renditions and crisper details giving us just better looking images overall. As a matter of course we save all of our RAW files. In the future, even better software will be able to build even higher quality images from the existing files taken years ago.