Jan 212017

I was treated to a wine tasting at a Tuscan vineyard. They took us into a cave where the family has been making wine for a very long time. We were shown how the wine is made and I was surprised to discover that they made white, red, and rosé all from the same grapes. As it turns out, the wine isn’t colored by the color of the grape but by how long the skins are left in the vat.

We were presented with a delicious rosé to start off the day. Unfortunately, I thoroughly enjoyed this and tucked back a few glasses before moving onto the rest of the tasting flight, which was voluminous. We were treated to food pairings for the wine. The owner’s mother appeared as we enjoyed lasagna made in strict accordance with her recipe.

This photo is taken from the spot that I put back the original few glasses of rosé. I, along with most of our group, got a good nap in on the bus ride back to Florence.

barrels of wine stored in a tuscan vineyards cave

Feb 262014

I really like photos of markets, but have never had much luck. People either look at you funny or strike poses, which puts me off a bit. This place was great as everyone just went about their business as if I wasn’t there. I really wanted to center the dome in the background between the two buildings, but there was a post in the way. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t contort myself into a position around the pole that would let me get it centered.

market in rome with wine fruits and vegetables and a dome in the background

Aug 142012

Failed trip into the Alps!

It seems like wherever I go, my first attempt to really strike out and take some photos failed. In Iceland it was trying to get to the most westerly point in Iceland, to photograph puffins, in one night. Today, it was an attempt to drive up a valley in the alps to see some snow-capped mountains. We set out too late, despite our careful sunset calculations and barely made it into the mountains as the sun began to drop. A great opportunity presented itself, a castle atop a hill lit beautifully by golden light but we couldn’t get off the highway to get down to it. By the time we came to an exit we decided we were too far along. By the next exit we decided to hop off and drive on the smaller roads so if any opportunities presented themselves we could actually stop. This meant guessing which roads to take. I guessed wrong and we began winding our way up a mountain with no easy way to turn around. Eventually, we got turned around and back down into the valley. By now the sun was on the verge of disappointing and panic had set in. We dashed back to the original castle. Trying to find a vantage point we parked in a town. Just as we were headed to a good view it was like a light switch had been flicked and the castle was blanketed by the shadows of the mountain. It was still a great drive, it’s just a bit disappointing coming back without a single photo!

Today’s Photo: Alice Bel Colle

My morning was much more successful. The hotel has a handy guide with a brief summary of all the surrounding towns. Alice Bel Colle caught my eye for its purpose built mound with a 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape. We rose early and made our way there. Once atop the mound we weren’t disappointed by the view, though the heavy cloud cover wasn’t ideal.

I spotted a rift in the clouds with a bit of pink light coming through and realized I could frame it up just behind this church. I shot 3 exposures at -2, 0 and +2 which was plenty to cover the range in the scene as the clouds dampened the light considerably.

View of landscape from Alice Bel Colle, Piedmont, Italy from church with bell tower and tile roof showing rolling hills and vineyards with pink sky peeking through clouds at sunrise.

Jun 172012

Where in Iceland is Johnny (hopefully)?

Today should be my first full day in Iceland. We’ll be picking up our jeep and making our way through Reykjavik to the entrance of the Westfjords. If we have enough energy, and leave early enough we may be able to take a detour to look around the Snaefellsness Peninsula on the way. After checking in it will be time for a nap before a full night of shooting. My plan is to drive along the south side of the Westfjords all the way to the bird cliffs that mark the most Westerly point in Europe. On the way there I’ll be stopping at a really big beach that looks pretty interesting on Google maps. On the way back to the hostel I plan on stopping at the Dynjandi Waterfall.

Today’s Photo: Winter Vineyard

After visiting Niagara Falls I drove the road running alongside the river towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. As I drove along the golden glow of the sun on these barren vines caught my eyes and I decided to stop to try to capture it. In the process of taking this photo I discovered that my camera was unhappy with the amount of water it had contacted while under Niagara Falls. It started firing off at will, the only way to stop it was to turn it off. This made taking my bracketed photos a challenge, and sifting through the multiple unnecessary shots the camera decided to add even more difficult. It was this incident that made me decide to buy a backup camera body. My Canon 7d‘s first big outing will be to Iceland where I expect it will first come into its own while photographing the puffins in the Eastfjords.

Barren grape vines in vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario

Something Interesting: Road Between Small Norwegian Islands

As it’s going to be my first day of driving in Iceland it seems fitting that I’d post this video of a drive, in Norway, that I’ve recently added to my to do list. This road looks absolutely insane! Especially with the waves crashing over it later in the video. Click here to view this amazing road.