Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is Vineyard photography more than f16 and be there?

Back in the old film days when I did heavy-duty studio advertising photography, when one art director found out I did landscape photography for fun, he told me that landscape photography was simple: f16 and be there. I didn't try to convince him otherwise. For example, even the being there is most often more than mere chance. I watch weather and especially like the drama found along edges of storms.

This photograph is a perfect edge-of-storm example. This is in the Umpqua region of southern Oregon. It had rained all day, but the forecast called for a small chance of some clearing. So I drove up into the mountains to this private little vineyard called Ferris Wheel owned by the kind folks at Brandborg winery and waited. Sure enough the clouds started to break–for about 15 minutes. I shot like mad everything I could think of.

Here's the RAW file of one shot:

This is one of the two RAW layer exposures I used. Please note that I open the RAW files as smart objects, but in this case had to unsmart the layers to combine them in the way I wanted.

Here's a screen grab of the work I put into this vineyard landscape.

Here's the final photo as I originally experienced and visualized it.

So was the pimple-faced art director right? I was there, after asking lots of people where I could find the most scenic vineyard, some careful listening to the weather forecasts and lots of luck. I didn't look in the EXIF file, but I probably used f22 on my 18mm lens to get both the foreground leaves and the distant clouds stuck in the Doug fir covered mountains all in focus.

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