Picture of the Week 28 – San Francisco Ferry Building

Canon EOS 5D ,Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
0.60s f/16.0 at 25.0mm iso50

One of our favorite destinations in San Francisco: The Ferry Building at the Embarcadero. It is a food lover’s paradise with all kinds of gourmet and food specialty stores.

This is a shot of the inside of the building from the second story, one level above the marketplace. Access is somewhat restricted, since the second floor holds offices for the Port of San Francisco, but they allowed me to walk within a certain area. I wanted to capture as much of the space as possible, so I used my widest angle (although it appears that the zoom lens had crept from 24mm to 25mm). I didn’t have the 16-35mm lens available yet that I rented later in the day, but it would have been helpful.

Notice the long exposure time of 0.6 seconds. I chose it deliberately by using the lowest ISO (50) and a really small aperture (f/16, anything smaller would have sacrificed sharpness due to diffraction), so that any people not standing still would show a lot of motion blur, which gives the scene a more dynamic appearance. The only way to get an even slower shutter speed would have been to use a neutral density filter, one of the few filters that is still essential even in the days of digital image processing.

Primarily, however, this is an architecture shot. At least to my taste, a careful alignment of the camera is a critical ingredient to this kind of image. This pretty much necessitates a tripod, although I cheated here by using railing as support instead of a tripod. (Of course, the slow shutter speed required firm camera support in any case.) Just to brag a little, I did not crop this image out of the camera, but instead got a good alignment before I clicked the shutter.

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