Lake Merritt was the first place I touched soil -- or rather, marine sediment --after returning to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. We were perched above Oakland in a hotel room with just a sliver of a view, looking at the lake through what amounted to a castle loophole.
A photograph's true essence is visceral: How does it make you feel? What does the image inspire? It's an impression that defies pixel peeping -- where the mood and meaning of a photo can be crushed in a haze of digital noise, scrutinized at 100 percent.