Palm trees, wine grapes, a perfect sunset in the making. The only thing missing is Don Henley singing, “welcome to the Hotel California…” in the background. Maybe it’s just me but whenever I look at this picture, I think it epitomizes a certain stereotype of the California lifestyle. Or maybe it’s because I was standing in shorts I took this photograph with November just round the corner. What do you think?
Doesn’t this door just look like an enchanted portal to a magical realm? OK…maybe I just have an active imagination. Well, I discovered this passageway at Rancho Sisquoc winery in northern Santa Barbara county one late afternoon recently and it definitely drew me in. The cobalt blue door, the red and green vines, the warm dappled sunlight. It was obvious that the ingredients for an image were present, it was a matter of arranging the elements. I tried a few different compositions and this is the one that felt the most right. There’s a lot more photographs to be made on the grounds of this picturesque winery. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but a gorgeous drive especially in the Winter and early Spring when the rolling hills on the way are vivid green. If you go, say hi to Becky and Alex in the tasting room and don’t miss their River Red blend. Delicious.
I had to do it. After running across that field of squash & pumpkins I posted last week, I kept thinking how great a a bunch of real Halloween pumpkins would look bathed in that warm sunset light. Well, I finally found my perfect patch just outside of Solvang, CA thanks to Chelsey, the owner of Valley Grind, the best coffee shop in Santa Ynez and my sometimes unofficial office. A wide open field with nothing blocking the western sky but some low hills in the distance. I got there as the sun sank below the horizon. Soft orange sunset light illuminating orange pumpkins, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were plenty of keepers but this was my pick of the bunch. Maybe because it’s so close to the picture I had in my head. This is another example of the glowing quality of post sunset light I mentioned about in my last Photo Tip – imagine what this lighting would do for a portrait.
Since we are in the middle of harvest season, I thought I would share this recent image. This field of squash and pumpkins caught my eye as I was leaving Bridlewood winery in the Santa Ynez Valley just north of Santa Barbara. I had been taking photos of their vineyards…o.k. I was doing a little wine tasting too, great Syrahs by the way. The very last rays of sunlight were raking across the field and the warm light made the yellow and red gourds glow with an almost electric intensity. I pulled over and jumped out in time to make a handful of photographs. Just another example of the minor miracles that occur around us everyday.
Did you catch the YouTube video making the rounds this week of a moose that decided to take a dip in someone’s backyard swimming pool? It reminded me of my own moose & swimming pool encounter. I was finishing up an architectural photoshoot of a luxury home in Steamboat Springs, CO a couple years ago. I had picked out a nice spot for an exterior dusk shot and was waiting for the light to get just right. I looked down for a few moments to adjust some camera settings and when I looked back up there was this big bull moose drinking from the swimming pool. After getting over the initial shock of seeing what I was seeing, I started clicking off frames. The noise of the shutter attracted his attention and he lifted his head and looked right at me. A moose may be nothing more than an overgrown deer but up close they are plenty intimidating. Thankfully he decided I was harmless and continued about his business.
According to the homeowner, moose are pretty regular visitors. He thinks they are attracted to the saltwater in the pool. Spotting a moose anywhere in Colorado isn’t all that uncommon these days, but at one time moose were hunted to virtual extinction throughout the state. Today’s thriving population is a result of a reintroduction program begun in the late 1970’s. Welcome back, boys.