Kettle Valley Winery Photo Workshop

Culinaire Magazine advertised a contest for a landscape photography workshop by Scott Forsyth hosted by Kettle Valley Winery and two nights accomodation at Sandy Beach Lodge and Resort. I love Scott's photography and of course would love a weekend in Naramata so I decided to write a piece for it and I won!! I wrote about my experience of wine and photography in North-East Argentina, which is a part of my newest book to be released soon. I'm used to winning awards for photography now but this is my first time winning something for writing and I was, and still am, extremely chuffed about that!!

Kettle Valley Winery

I wanted to try a variety of focal lengths for the landscape course with the idea that I could compare the differences. This first set of images were shot with Nikon's 80-400mm F4.5 lens. I hadn't changed my settings from my last shoot and I was using aperture priority, auto ISO and spot metering. Settings for the above image are 85mm, f16, 1/8000 sec, 5600 ISO. I should have set the camera to 100 ISO and then started with the settings f/16, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, following the "Sunny 16" rule as it was a sunny day at around noon. I am surprised that the auto settings took the ISO so high as I always thought it started with the lowest setting. The grapes, below left, were shot at 270mm, 1/5000 sec, F16, 12800 ISO. Because it was in the shade with the high ISO it has a lot of noise on it so I processed it with Topaz Simplify to save it as I wanted to include a grapes shot. The vineyard, below right, was shot at 140mm, 1/5000 sec, F16, 12800 ISO. I processed it by "Ortonizing" it in Photoshop (I screened the image, duplicated it, applied gaussian blur and then using multiply overlay).

Kettle Valley Winery Kettle Valley Winery       Naramata vinyards

I love the layers that rows in the vineyards create. The image above was shot at 200mm, 1/32 sec, f15, 100 ISO. (After the first stop I checked the images and noticed the different settings so I fixed the ISO at 100.)   Then we went up to a tunnel on the Kettle Valley Railway. I brought out a 14-24mm lens that a friend from Delta Camera Club, our local CAPA club, lent me for the landscape course.

Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway is something I'd love to do and I knew ahead that I wanted an image showing the cycling activity. I sat in one spot and waited almost the entire time to get an image with cyclists in it. It's hard to sit still, especially when you know that everyone else is getting tons of great images all over but I have learned through doing street photography to get the background and wait for something to happen. The image below was shot at 15mm, 1/125 sec, f11 and 100 ISO.

Kettle Valley Trails 

And between vineyards there were still some Pink Lady apples on the trees. Most of the fruit was picked already, although typically the harvest would just be starting. First I shot what caught my eye, the lines of apple trees, with the 14-24mm and then I used the telephoto to capture a close up image of a clump of the apples. The top image is at 24mm, 1/100 sec, f9 and 100 ISO. It was processed in photoshop with a black and white layer on soft light overlay. The second one is at 290mm, 1/80 sec, f5.6, 100 ISO with a bit of added contrast in Lightroom.

Pink Lady apple orchard Pink Lady Orchard 

The penultimate event was the sunset scenery shot. I used the 14-24mm on a tripod and shot at 22mm, 1/640 sec, f5.6, 100 ISO. To get the final image I merged four bracketed images into HDR in Photoshop and then increased contrast.

Kettle Valley Winery 

And then following sunset the finale; A fabulous three course gourmet dinner inside the Kettle Valley Winery production room! The first course was a parsnip and apple soup. Then we had a choice of BBQ'd chicken breast or steak (I had the steak of course!) along with roasted squash salad with almond brittle and a tomato beet salad with goat cheese. Dinner started outside in the beautiful evening air overlooking the lake with wines and appetizers distributed about on wine barrels.

 The Great Northern Vineyards Zinfandel was a special treat that disappeared quickly. The Great Northern Vineyards Viognier was an excellent pairing with the cheese and sausage and other tasty appetizers. I missed trying the Riesling as it went quickly and many said that was their favourite. The Old Main Red 2011 was a good match with the steak. I loved the Pinot Gris 2013, they leave it on the lees for two days, which gives the wine a richer flavour that matches the colour. And I almost didn't try it because of the colour.

I was tasting by drinking full glasses all night as the wines were so good! For dessert the flourless chocolate cupcakes with caramel creme were perfectly matched with Caboose, Kettle Valley's fortified blend of Malbec and Petit Verdot. A rich and elegant take on port.

Kettle Valley Winery Kettle Valley Winery Kettle Valley Winery

Thanks so much to Kettle Valley Winery for this great weekend! And to Scott Forsyth for sharing his knowledge and gorgeous images. As a total bonus I won a beautiful print of Scott's as well that now hangs in our living room! And make sure to check out more landscapes (including with in-camera movement) on the next post!