It was early Sunday morning when we heard the “shush, shush” of the hot air balloon flying over our home. Stepping out I shot this photo and as you can see the fire for the lift is indeed creating the “shush, shush” to the soft sounds of morning in Napa.
There were five this particular morning but I thought back to a morning in summer when I counted 14 balloons floating downvalley. It was an amazing site.
Today we are not this sunny, it’s one of our last rainy type days for the spring. Once we enter the real stages of spring and summer there will be no more rain until perhaps October or maybe even November. Summers are perfect, warm during the day and nicely cool at night. Each night temperatures dropping to near 52 degrees. Perfect for a great night’s sleep.
Two weekends ago we spent time in the Monterey and Carmel areas. Saying it was stunningly beautiful would be an understatement. It was amazing, especially as we were on bicycles and could constantly hear the roar of the waves. Biking 17 Mile Drive was excellent as we were right on the edge of the coast and could easily see the Pacific, hear the waves crash and could enjoy the warmth of the air. Just two days there but still wonderful and then we were quickly back to Napa and our lovely Valley.
During different times of the year we find the early morning balloons take different paths. During autumn and winter they most often float to the east side of the valley, summer flights float to the west and often land at the open and lovely Alston Park. The balloons in the photos below were taken the past week were on the east side of the valley and while we see them often not all that often do we have such skies to accent the colors as you can see in the yellow balloon. Yes the sun chose this one balloon to highlight and illuminate as they rose and crept down the east side of the Napa Valley.
It’s that time of year when grapes are nearing their harvest date. As you can see from these Rutherford AVA cabernet sauvignon grapes their ripeness is showing. It’s just days before their harvest. Early morning harvest when grapes are cold from the chill of night and when they are fullest of flavor.
To say I love photographing the Napa Valley would be an understatement. To say I love living here would also be an understatement. To say I love grapes would be very accurate.
When asked if I prefer red or white I often answer, yes! Red like a cab or a rich merlot, white like a sauvignon blanc or fume blanc, or a rose of nearly any varietal and of course there are the bubbles. Love sparkling wines and champagne! Do I drink every day? No but often enough to know what I like and more importantly is their beauty in the vineyard and on the vine.
Cheers to the art of growing grapes, making wine and for the wineries for their work to share this fine product.
As the sun was nearing its departure for the day I was photographing Eric Rinehart at his piano.
It was a beautiful evening on the edge of the vines at Missouri Hopper and with the classical music I must say it was perfect. Blessed are we who give or ourselves and that includes photography as well as the gift of music.
What a week it was with a proposal at the lovely Brix Restaurant in Yountville.
We arrived early to set up and then after scouting the area, waited patiently for the couple to arrive. When they did we simply roamed about like we were shooting the property, but, when Robert pulled the ring out for his future bride, Holly, I began to shoot. With the photo below it was taken as we walked towards the vineyards and gardens.
If you are wondering yes they are this happy, truly a great couple and it was our total pleasure to photograph this special time.
Cheers to love and happiness!
Returning home I reached for the book Birds of Napa County and found this lovely Tundra Swan. Described as a rare visitor from the far north and a bird that is not observed each year in this county. These special birds search for fresh water reservoirs, lakes or even flooded fields from big storms. Generally in groups of two or three this one was alone and quietly just resting on the water. Quite a sight early this morning.
Early Tuesday morning, well before sunrise, I headed Upvalley towards Spring Mountain Vineyards. Arriving just around sunrise I met my guide, Ron, who is the vineyard manager. He ever so kindly drove me around the vineyards and showed me the rows and block sourced by the client I am shooting for.
Yes, of course, I wanted to see from the highest point and an overview of their property. All I can say is it was stunningly beautiful. I jumped out camera in hand and took a few photos, after the first frame, I had turned to Ron and said, “Okay, I’m done!” Only half joking as I knew the first image was over the top and nearly perfect. What a scene and what a stunning vineyard. As you can see below.
It’s an amazing feeling to be standing on the edge of a vineyard in the chill of morning. A soft breeze blowing as out comes the tripod, camera and cable release. All while simply being present with this scene. It’s like a gift to just be present. Listening to a few birds, the breeze through the vines or budding vines as it was this morning.
Here at Chimney Rock Winery’s vineyard it was all magical as I heard the click click of my camera. This is truly one of my favorite times of the year in the vineyards as this is when the vines, so narrow in their rows and along their vines, appear to be bright green ribbons twisting through vineyards.
It’s spring in the Napa Valley and with spring comes the beginning of another vintage and bud break and the leafing out of vines. In this photo you can see the sprinklers on as they spray and protect the young leaves and buds from the early morning chill.
This photo taken at the Chimney Rock Winery and of the famed Tomahawk Cabernet Vineyard.