Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

The Docks

with 22 comments

Can you think of a spot in your home town that brings you back to your childhood every time you visit? It had been years since I’ve come back to Red’s Java House in San Francisco, but stepping inside the old dining area, I realized that nothing inside has changed. Except for the prices, of course. Ouch!

When I was very young, my Dad would sometimes say “hey son, let’s go to the docks.” I knew that meant a trip to Red’s to grab a hot dog or burger. The dining room is antique and charming, but we’d always eat outside, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. I’d throw bits of bread at the sea gulls and stare at the murky, green bay water. My Dad would tell me these crazy stories of when he was my age. Jumping in the bay and swimming around, chasing wild animals with nets he and his friends had stolen from local tennis courts, running over the once barren red-rock hills of the city…hills now covered by houses, hotels, and other businesses.

(blue bottle coffee)

As a third generation native of the city, it makes me think of how San Francisco has evolved since I was young. Old, run down areas of the city now replaced by a culture of young professionals who insist on their $4.50 cup of fair trade, hand roasted and brewed cup of coffee every morning. Ok, I’m guilty of loving the gourmet coffee, I admit it! But every so often its nice to revisit the old days and grab a simple burger on a sourdough roll at Red’s.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G
BW Conversion: Silver Efex Pro II

Written by Jonathan

March 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

22 Responses

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  1. Nice story šŸ™‚ How do you do a BW Conversion: Silver Efex Pro II ?


    March 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    • Silver Efex Pro is a black and white editing program for digital photography by Nik Software. I use their lightroom plugin for black and white conversions.


      March 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      • It was really expensive, just to convert to black and white, 199 euro?


        March 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

      • Well, a simple conversion itself is one thing, but Silver Efex goes way beyond that. Black and white photography is an art form all on its own, so having software that lets you really explore black and white, in all its complexities, is probably a good idea if you’re into that sort of photography.


        March 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

      • I have now tried silver efex and I think the simulation of different types of film is very nice. I guess if you shoot a lot of B&W that this tool might be worth it, instead of mixing in PS or LR. I must say I really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work! Maybe a post about silver efex pro is coming soon? šŸ˜‰


        March 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

      • I just might do a post on it, stay tuned!


        March 23, 2011 at 8:33 am

  2. $4.50 coffee? I will see if I can get a government grant for a photo trip there. Seriously I love your story and you photo essay.

    Jim Dell

    March 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    • Thank you Jim! You should definitely come out to San Francisco again. First cup is on me!


      March 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm

  3. Love these photos and the story, especially the story of what your father did there!:DDD


    March 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    • Thanks Akane. My Dad was so much more adventurous than me when I was a kid. I’m surprised he lived through his childhood sometimes!


      March 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

  4. $4.50 for coffee – big big ouch! Love the story here – a picture of you as a young boy in the end of the post would totally complete the story =)


    March 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    • Hmm, you’re right! You wouldn’t believe how many pictures there are of me as a kid too, since my Dad was a professional photography for more than two decades =P


      March 7, 2011 at 10:29 pm

  5. How nice! I’ve never been to Red’s but it sounds really homey. And how neat that you’re 3rd gen native SF. That’s so cool; you have such history in SF. šŸ™‚


    March 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    • Thanks! Yeah, sometimes I forget just how long my family has been here. My grandmother was around for the 1906 quake for crying out loud! haha


      March 7, 2011 at 10:32 pm

  6. This restaurant definitely reminds me of the diners in New Jersey. Red’s definitely looks like they have amazing food. Great post.


    March 6, 2011 at 9:42 pm

  7. i have just purchased silver efex pro II – realy good software!
    thx for sharing !


    March 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

    • Same here. Still learning the ropes with Silver Efex. It’s an incredibly powerful tool!


      March 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm

  8. Great post here man… I especially love the first black and white shot… powerful and seemingly full of memories. I know what you mean about finding a place that brings back those thoughts man, just going to the park by my house brings a smile to my face no matter what the weather is like šŸ™‚

    Kelven Ng

    March 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    • Thanks man! You’re far from that park now though huh? Hope everything is working out for you in London. =)


      March 10, 2011 at 10:57 am

  9. Those photos don’t even look like San Francisco! Pretty awesome that the vintage look hasn’t changed. Those black and white photos are really sharp!

    Jasmine Lee

    March 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    • I know right? This is old-time SF, before all the trendy stuff swept through the town. Thanks Jas!


      March 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

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