2nd Week of February – weekly 2

Although it is winter the greening of the hills and the blooming of the first wild flowers makes it feel like “spring.”  Tomorrow our seasonal rains are supposed to return.  So this past week I took advantage of the sunshine.  Already the wild mustard is growing in many of the vineyards in Sonoma and Napa Wine Country.  Finding a section of vineyard that allows the vines to take you into the distant hills provides a beautiful image.  Adding an edge of road with water helped enhance this image.

So I mounted my camera on my tripod and used a 28 mm lens with a polarizing filter to eliminate the glare on the grass and pump up the blue in the sky.  This works best if the sun is at a 45-90 degrees angle from your lens (so you don’t want the sun behind you).  So getting to this vineyard before 8:30 AM was helpful.  My aperture was f/22 to give me as much depth of field as possible (that is a focus from foreground to background).

This week ended up being about “water.”  Although I did not get beautiful clouds in the sky at sunrise, I was able to take advantage of a small cloud that bounced the dawn light onto the bay water that was gently moving with the ebb tide.  The effect was as if there was neon like lines and circles in the water.  This is captured as I saw it.

Often when there are insignificant clouds at the horizon at sunrise you can look west to see what the first light will illumine with its golden rays.  This intense quality of light will last 15-30 minutes.  Or look into the water itself to see what light is picked up from the clouds as I did with this shot.  I needed a fast enough shutter speed to slightly freeze the movement of the water. Otherwise the colors would have just been a blur with no distinct lines.

I needed to use a 400 mm lens to reach the area in the water where the light was best reflecting.  In order to get a fast enough shutter speed at ISO 400 I had to give up some depth of field so some of the lines are soft from.  But I still like the abstract that I was able to extract.

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