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Painting San Francisco

This is sort of cool. I had to go out to the old Naval Air Station in Alameda again a few days ago (photos from previous visits are here and here), and I took some photos looking across the bay to San Francisco. Unfortunately, they didn’t come out very well, in part because some kind of distortion was introduced into the images. I don’t know what caused it—possibly something I did wrong (I’m still learning how to use the camera properly), or maybe the effects of the heat rising from the old runway where I was standing in the hot sun, or maybe…

Anyway, for whatever reason, the images aren’t very clear, but when I was looking at them in full resolution, trying to understand why they didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, I noticed that the distortion actually produced a pretty nice “painterly” effect, almost as if they weren’t photographs at all, but rather oil paintings done in a slightly impressionist style. I didn’t edit or manipulate them intentionally to create this effect—this is how they came straight out of the camera (I did crop them, so these are just small pieces of the full images).

Telegraph Hill

That’s the Bay Bridge with Telegraph Hill (topped by Coit Tower) behind it. Here’s another one (from a different original image) of downtown SF:


If anyone happens to know what might have caused this particular kind of distortion, I’d be curious to hear an explanation. I checked some other photos that I shot from the same location with the same camera (and similar settings) a few months ago, and while they aren’t necessarily any crisper, they don’t remind me of painted landscapes the way that these do.