Saturday, July 20, 2019

Photographically Painting the Blue Mountain Vineyard Image


About 15 years ago I created Pacific Northwest: The Ultimate winery Guide for Chronicle Books. One of the wine regions I photographed was totally new to me, the Okanagan in BC, Canada.

So a couple of years ago my wife and I revisited the region. But on this trip, I wanted to photograph Blue Mountain Winery Vineyards, which somehow we didn't include in the Chronicle picture guide book. (I highly recommend their wines.)

So early one the morning I scrambled up a steep rocky slope. Balanced on crumbling shale, I looked down on this scene. It was almost like someone planted a vineyard in Yosemite Valley.

That night reviewing the day's take on my MacBook Pro, I knew the image had great bones, even as an unprocessed RAW file directly out of my camera at the time, a Nikon 810 camera. But it just didn't make me sing opera. Yet.

So a couple of weeks ago I finally processed the RAW file in Adobe ACR (for my wife, that is Adobe Camera Raw processor). Better. But still no opera performance.

Starting with some basics, I wanted to keep the viewer's eye from wandering out of the photograph; so I darkened edges, like the vineyard edge center far left and road center right. Darken those edges.
Then I did some initial adjustments and started painting with textures, which also darkened the edges all the way around. 

I love adding detailed textures, layering them like watercolor washes to change color, mood and light. I shoot these texture images my walks, hikes and photographic safaris. 

This is just one of the dozen or so textures I painted into the Blue Mountain vineyard image. This photograph is taken during one of my escape camping trips along the McKenzie River in the Oregon Cascades. Then, using various blending modes to paint, creating the feeling inside of me.

But the sky was still blah. Adding several cloud images and adjusting the perspective, helped. Still, no dramatic standing ovation opera performance, yet.

I kept experimenting by adding various water textures in various blending modes. All told, the image took about one week to finish, with some of the time proofs just sitting on the wall to germinate.

A few finishing touches of painting with texture images made the opera and orchestra sing for me. My wife wants a large print on our bedroom wall. 

What do you think?

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