In search of wine and color: Napa Valley

I wasn’t enthused, but I do enjoy shooting with Laura. In fact I haven’t been enthused about many shoots this year. It’s not been a wonderfully healthy year for me, so I’ve stayed close to Sacramento. And, I haven’t been overjoyed with my images either. I may be just too critical, or it might be that I haven’t traveled any distance to shoot something different.

So when Laura suggested we look for Fall color in Napa, I said the vines are turning brown. She said they were changing color! She also wanted to pick up some wine. Off we went down the Silverado Trail where many wineries and vineyards are found.

She was right. The vines did give us some color. The fog gave us some drama. The eventual sun gave us some good lighting. And, Laura got her wine!

I’m glad I went on this outing. All I had to do was sit and enjoy conversation while she drove.

A shooting challenge: The Old Sugar Mill, Clarksburg, California

Every time Greg (who is now deceased) and I passed The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, we drove on. Neither of us drank wine and weren’t interested in visiting the wineries represented there. So here I was shooting at the venue with my Toastmasters Photography Club–All About Photography.

I started this Toastmasters Club a couple of years ago to combine my two passions. Both have changed and added to my life. When this venue was chosen for our quarterly outing I thought, “Well you’re going to have to shoot whatever is there.” For all my trepidation, I had a great time. I do believe you need to challenge yourself to grow as a photographer.

While it now houses 11 wineries, the factory, built in 1934, was an operating beet sugar refinery. You’ll see pictures of the old buildings with broken windows, etc. Most of them were locked up for safety reasons. Oh, I would have loved to been able to shoot in them. I was told renovations are in the future.

Now, it’s also available for weddings and other events. They do have a nice lawn area and one building, which you will see, is quite usable for a themed wedding.

What did I learn? Never say never. Challenge yourself. You might be surprised at the outcome. Have you found yourself shooting in a place you thought you’d never go into?


Busting out: Hobbling back to Locke

I really shouldn’t have, but I needed to. A week of being a couch princess, I needed to get off the recliner and out of the house so I took advantage of Tuesday’s with seniors. I told photo buddy Greg that I would sit in the back seat, foot up and bring a book along if I got tired and couldn’t shoot. Marlene occupied the front seat.

I packed light, got in the back seat, put my foot up on a pillow and readied for my day out. We went down to Locke so Marlene could experience the small town. As Greg says, every time he goes back, he finds something new to shoot. And we did. I found it difficult to shoot, not bend down and see the possibilities through the discomfort. Oh, if you just came into the story, I had minor foot surgery a week before this outing. I was still in the “shoe,” sitting on the recliner part of the couch and was going crazy. Right now, I’m once again on the recliner with my foot up because I was on my feet a good part of the morning.

Getting back to the Locke trip, Greg always goes down different roads. You never know where you’ll end up and what you’ll be taking pictures of. I had fun, was exhausted and, knew before I saw them, that my shooting was off and pictures weren’t super. I didn’t care.

So I did what i shouldn’t have but needed to. Enjoyed it. Here’s the results.

Dial “M” for manual, mossy trees and mustard: Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley is the place to go to find mossy trees and mustard plants, and shoot on manual. It’s actually where I had a significant breakthrough on shooting manual. I think I have a smidge more to learn, but I’m mostly there.

Known for its wineries and beauty, Napa Valley was the target for our Exploring Photography Meetup group a couple of weeks ago. We met for lunch and then went off in search for mossy trees and mustard. We had four in our car, and without written directions, we were relying on memory to follow the verbal directions given us. Of course that didn’t work, so we just followed our noses!

Before lunch, we did stop at Turnbull Winery to look at their Ansel Adams exhibit. We took the time to shoot what we could of the winery.

After lunch, we found mustard (a yellow wildflower that seems to grow well under the barren grape vines) accidently while driving to where we thought we remembered the mossy trees to be. It was a small and accessible field–a great find.

Luck followed us to the mossy trees also. These trees had lichen hanging from the barren branches, giving the trees an eerie look. We saw the trees but then went up to the Chappellet Winery and was quickly dismissed back down the road! We did stop to shoot the trees.

Now on to the mossy trees and mustard, both shot in manual!