Why HDR? Because!

This picture was taken right off the eponymous Dry Creek road. I am constantly amazed by the Napa Valley’s ability to present sublime photo opportunities that could, quite literally, be enjoyed by rolling down the window, composing, and pressing the shutter release. This image is actually one of my first cracks at HDR, or high dynamic range, photography. In a nutshell, HDR imagery is made by combining multiple exposures of the same scene into one image that captures the entire dynamic range of that image, from the darkest of shadows to the brightest highlights, all while preserving detail throughout. Nerdy? Yes. But until HDR came along, it was impossible for any camera, film or digital, to capture the same range of light in an image that our eyes behold. Much like life itself, it’s all about contrasts.

And I really like the contrasts in this picture. From the green grass to the menacing grey sky and the bright red color of the vestigial leaves on the vines, there is a nice array of color. But what I like most about this image is the threat and promise it seems to be hinting at. Dead vines and dark skies are balanced by the hope and promise of spring made manifest by the green tendrils of young grass. There is both bright hope and dark foreboding all at once, which, it seems to me, is what life really is—contrasts. It is that magical, tragic, and sometimes comical collision of extremes that makes life wondrous and frightening all at once. At the risk of being too clichéd (too late) that green grass, that verdant carpet of spring, would not be possible without the rain carried in those dark clouds. The good, the bad; the good sometimes only being possible with the help of the bad. Contrasts. I like it.

– Bryan Gray, Napa Valley Wine Bottle and Winery Photographer

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