October – Week 1

In the art of wine-tasting there are basically six steps: use your sense of sight, then swirl, sniff, sip, spit and finally drive home safely.  Just as there is an art to tasting the fermented juices, there’s an art to seeing subjects on and around the grapevine.  In capturing the art on the vine with your camera, the possibilities are endless.  But there are six invaluable techniques that can be remembered easily with the acronym GRAPES.

  • Get in close
  • Reflectors
  • Aperture
  • Polarize
  • Exposure
  • Spritz

I don’t always apply all of these techniques.  Sometimes the clumps look best with a little bit of water and sometimes not (Spritz).  Regardless you always want to pay close attention to the use of light and choosing your composition!  Last week the first rains came early to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys causing some vineyards to be harvest earlier than planned.  Too much rain can bring mildew to the vines.  But the water drops in your image can help with your focus and give life to your shot!

Although harvesting begins in August for some grapes I enjoy the last crushing because the leaves are more colorful in October into November.  Even after the harvesting you can find clumps of grapes here and there and your presence in the vineyards isn’t as intrusive or treating to the vines and growers.  The grapes that remain longer on the vine gives them a higher sugar content needed for certain kinds of wines.

My morning in the vineyards was on a cloudy day which provided a wonderful defused which pops the color and prevents hot spots in your backgrounds!  I would have like to photograph all day but it began to rain so that forced me to enjoy the fine art photo galleries at Mumm’s Winery on Silverado Trail and a glass of sparkling wine.

My second shot is also about light.  The San Francisco Yacht Club at the Marina was bathed in first light a couple of days ago.  When the light hit the top of the sail boat masks the water was still not illuminated by the sun except for the reflected masks.

The first light of the morning will make everything white look orange and glowing.  Sometimes this intensity of light only lasts a few moments so you want to be there when it happens.  I was actually just out walking but carried my Canon PowerShot S95 which fits in my pocket.  If I took my camera bag out every morning I would never walk – so this is a nice compromise.

You may taste wine blindfolded to enhance your experience.  But when you go to the wine country you must journey with eyes wide open – the images you create will rival all others.  If you haven’t looked at my portfolio “Art on the Vine” – go to it.

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