Friday, June 20, 2008

Making a Wow Photograph

Image straight from camera

Photoshop layers
showing what it
took to optimize
the image.

Sometimes people ask me, "Well, aren't you shooting digital?" Within that simple interrogative comes an assumption that I just snap and print. Yes, that's possible. But I'm interested in making my photographs sing. When I'm finished creating an image, the reaction I'm hoping for is "Wow, that's a great photo."

So I just wanted show the work that goes into the making of a single photograph. The screen shot shows the Photoshop layers that went into creating the above simple photograph. And just to give you a sense of scale, most of my digital capture images end up being about 450-500 MB, with some exceeding 2 GB.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Name Winery, Win Wine #3

I just happened to have this photograph on the hard drive from a recent trip. This isn't a winery, but rather a wine growing region about as far from my nearest town of Sherwood, Oregon as you can get. Yes, those are palm trees along the road between the vineyards.

Avoiding the deer-in-the-headlights portrait

This is Cecil Zerba, of Zerba Cellars, one of the wine growers/vineyards profiled in my new Oregon: The Taste of Wine book.

First thing Cecil told me when I arrived was, "I hate to have my photograph taken." And worse, since his wife knew I was coming to interview and photograph Cecil, she laid out "nice" clothes for him that morning. Well, fortunately for me, Cecil disregarded his wife's wardrobe and put on his regular clothes, which was just fine by me. I like the editorial, more natural look.

When we started with the photography, with a little interaction he would flash an easy smile. But he stood there like a deer-in-the-headlights as seen in the photograph to the left. Nice smile, nice clothes, nice Rembrandt lighting on his face, but no cigar.

When I gave him something to do with his hands, continued our chatter, a much more relaxed photo resulted. To put a little sparkle in the eyes, I usually use a slight strobe, often on camera.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Name Winery, Win Wine #2

Here's the second Name the Winery and Win Wine challenge:

This is the winery seen from the vineyard rather than the visitor's parking lot.

This sign is seen from the driveway to the winery.

Just in case you missed the May 15 posting, here's a review of the rules:
Periodically, I will post a new photograph(s) of a winery or vineyard somewhere in Oregon or possibly, the world. After a period of as-of-yet undetermined time, a select group of highly-regarded judges will choose one person who has guessed at least some of the wineries/vineyards correctly as the winner.

The prize: a bottle of fine wine from Willamette Valley Vineyards.

The rules are loose, but hurry before I drink the prize.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wine god Dionysius and Jesus

Warning: This posting might be controversial for some.

While doing some research about the origins of wine, I came across Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. Check out what Wikepedia has to say: "the inspirer of madness, and a major figure of Greek mythology. He represents not only the intoxicating power of wine, but also its social and beneficial influences.

"He was also known as Bacchus and the frenzy he induces, bakcheia. He was also known as the Liberator, freeing one from one's normal self, by madness, ecstasy, or wine. The divine mission of Dionysus was to bring an end to care and worry. Scholars have discussed Dionysus' relationship to the 'cult of the souls' and his ability to preside over communication between the living and the dead."

Now check this out: Some compare Dionysus, the Greek wine god to Jesus. Both were said to have been born from a mortal woman but fathered by a god, to have returned from the dead, and to have transformed water into wine. Some argue that Christian notions of eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Jesus during communion was influenced by the cult of Dionysus.

I'm amazed on how much has been written about this controversy. Just Google: "Greek wine god Dionysus and Jesus".

What do you think?