Napa Valley is beautiful. There is no denying it. But, I admit, I am biased, since I live here. Saying that, though, doesn’t change the truth, and it is a truth I am happy to do my best to capture with my camera–and share with you.
My wife and I spent all day Saturday at Dillon Beach with our dog, Otis, and I left my camera in the car so that I could run around with like a 8 year old, splashing in the ever-so-cold water, chasing my dog, chasing my wife and doing my best to not to fetch the tennis balls other people were tossing into their water for their dogs to chase down. It was cold and foggy, like it always is there, but that’s a good thing.
But I DID bring my camera–as I always do, as it’s nice to take shots other than wine bottles in my studio–and on the way home I started to feel pretty stupid that I was at a typical Northern California beach (typical=gorgeous) and I didn’t take a single shot. I mean, I DO love to take pictures and the coast simply begs to be shot. Thankfully we hit Carneros just as the sun was setting and Corinne (my ever patient muse) helpfully suggested taking some picture of grapes. Grapes? Yeah, I know, just what the world needs, right–more pictures of grapes. I did want to get a shot of the setting sun glowing behind a cluster, so I got out of the car with my macro lens and starting shooting. (I’ll post one or two of those soon.)
I got a bunch of shots and we packed it up to go home. When we were just about to leave Carneros I saw a raptor sitting, on all things, a raptor box in a vineyard, perfectly silhouetted by the setting sun. We whipped the car around, pulled over off the road right across from the hawk, which waited until I was just finished composing and took off, serving as a great reminder why I don’t practice wildlife photography. As I was getting back in the car, though, I saw the view pictured here; the sight blew me away and I think it was the nicest shot I took all day. To bring out the high-contrast of the scene, I combined 8 different exposures in Photoshop to create this HRD image. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
– Bryan Gray, Napa Valley Wine Bottle and Winery Photographer