80 & Awesome

My dad will turn 80 years old on February 23rd. That’s awesome and so is he. When I think of him, these qualities come to mind: kind, generous, smart, supportive, happy and easygoing. What’s not to love!

My dad lives in IL; I live in NC. I took this portrait while visiting him for his birthday this past weekend.

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My dad worked in a commercial photo lab from age 17 until he retired. He was our family photographer and took more slides than I can count. He helped me learn and enjoy photography. I began using a camera at the age of 7 and worked during my college summers at the photo lab where he worked. He’s been a big part of my photography journey.

As I took photos of him this weekend, I was reminded of him standing under the light of a street lamp when I asked him to be the subject for an assignment for my b/w photography college course. He’s always been there for me. Here’s that photo of him I took 35 years ago with my Pentax K1000.


Here are a few others I took, developed and printed while in college.

And here he is at age 80. Still the awesomeness he was and always will be!

Love you Dad!


Love the Wine You’re With

On a recent trip to Napa, CA I did love the wine I was with! And I loved the husband I was with. We had a great time choosing wineries and participating in tastings. But we couldn’t have done it without the help of all those in hospitality at the wineries. Each and every one of them were fun, engaging and knowledgeable, and each one let me photograph him/her during the wine tasting.

I used my Olympus OM-D E-M10 as it was easy to carry from place to place and I thought is would be less intimidating than my Canon 6D. Some tasting rooms were brightly lit, while others were dark. I used natural light for all environmental portraits and used an ISO range of 200 to 2000. Aperture ranged from f/1.8 to f/3.5.

Our first stop was Beringer Vineyards where we opted for the Reserves tasting in the Rhine House Mansion. It was a stately building and Eddie greeted us as we approached the bar. We talked about the Chicago area and northern IL among other things, and enjoyed the excellent reds. We walked away with a nice red and a wine club membership.


Eddie at Beringer Vineyards

Along the Silverado Trail, we came upon Duckhorn Vineyards. What a treat to sit on the porch on a beautiful day! Mary did a excellent job taking great care of us as we tasted Duckhorn’s selection. A bottle of 2012 Merlot came home with us. 🙂


Mary with the collection of glasses from our table at Duckhorn Vineyards

We saw a sign for Charles Krug Winery earlier that day and decided to try their wine next. This winery has a stunning tasting room! It’s very large and very impressive with bottles displayed up to the ceiling. It has clean lines and gorgeous lighting. Candice has the awesome job of working there. She went up and beyond and brought us into a tall and expansive barrel room located adjacent to the tasting room. The wonderful aroma of oak barrels and fermenting wine hit us in the face. So. Many. Barrels. We learned the history of the building and the winery, and went outside for a look at the old stone walls.


Candice at Charles Krug Winery

The next day, we tasted more wine! Started with a morning appointment at Ehlers Estate. This winery was recommended by our waiter at lunch the day before. Upon arriving at the winery, we were greeted by an outgoing, happy individual named Bradley, and a chalkboard sign with our names on it. We felt welcome. We were also comfortable sitting on a love seat while Bradley sat across from us, as we tried several fantastic wines. The 1886, with it’s unique bottle and beautiful flavor, has found a place on the bar top in our home. The bottle of refreshing 2014 Sauvignon Blanc we purchased will be enjoyed with tofu (Bradley will know what I mean.) The tasting room was inviting with sofas and chairs arranged in small seating areas and a few tables and chairs as well. I loved the artwork on the walls. They change up artists every 6 weeks and this particular artist had a splash of red in each of his pieces, whether it be a red umbrella or red dress. They tied in nicely with the rest of the decor.


Bradley at Ehlders Estate

We had an afternoon appointment at Cade Winery located on Howell Mountain. We traveled up a long driveway and once in the tasting room…..Whoa, what a view! Again a nice sofa/chair arrangement to enjoy our tasting with the view before us. Jennifer was relaxed and engaging, and what beautiful light for her environmental portrait!


Jennifer at Cade Winery

Day three and more choices to make. Regusci Winery was recommended by a friend and I’m glad we visited. Brittney served us bold reds, was a pleasure to meet, and brought us through the raindrops into their barrel room. Ahhhh…that barrel room smell that should be made into a Yankee Candle scent. We couldn’t pass up the magnum of 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, so we brought one home.


Brittney at Regusci Winery

Our last stop was Silverado Vineyards where Brett poured tastings of their wines while we enjoyed a knockout view of the landscape through a two-story window. The view from the deck was even better. The next best thing to wine in Napa is olive oil in Napa, and Silverado Vineyards makes a good one! Brett offered olive oil with our bread sticks and it was a special treat. We enjoyed a conversation about football with him as well as other topics. Nice guy.


Brett at Silverado Vineyards

Thank you Eddie, Mary, Candice, Bradley, Jennifer, Brittney & Brett for your time and expertise. And thanks for letting me practice my people picture skills on you. Cheers!