Casks and barrels

As I discussed in my previous post, looking for something new and unique in winery photography is fun and challenging, and it is rewarding finding a composition that can tell the story of winemaking from a different perspective.

However, sometimes, doing the obvious cannot be avoided. Everyone wants shots of their barrels or presses, or grapes being crushed or sorted, and at that point, sometimes you have to become more of an editorial photographer, capturing an image purely for the story. And that’s OK. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be boring.

Take this shot, for example. The winery uses standard barrels but also some really cool larger oak casks as well. The goal was to take a picture of those casks, obviously. And that is exactly what I set out to do. I took several, which, to my mind, all looked worse than ordinary and I began to wonder if I would do them justice.

But then I remembered my basic photography, and the often talked about rules of composition. First, you don’t have to show the whole “thing” you are trying to capture. Sometimes, a smaller detail is enough to convey idea of the whole thing itself, and may even produce a stronger image. Second was perspective. You can imply one thing by using something else. In this case, I needed to show the size of the larger casks. A simple walk around a stack of normal barrels revealed the shot you see here. Not only do you get a sense of the size of the cask because you can see it in relation to the size of the other barrels, but by doing so, the story of the winery using both is immediately conveyed. A nice bonus here was the lighting, which I think conveyed a serious yet romantic mood.

– Bryan Gray, Napa Valley Winery and Wine Bottle Photographer

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