Napa Valley Balloons Autumn flights

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.

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Rutherford Vineyards nearing Harvest

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.


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Eric at Piano with Vineyards, Napa Valley

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.


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Napa Valley Proposal

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!
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Somerston Winery Tundra Swan

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. Tundra Swan at Somerston Winery Vineyards.

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Napa Valley Spring Mountain Vineyards

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.












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Spring in Napa Valley

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.


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Frost Protection in the Napa Valley

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.

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Best of times – Weddings

Truly the best of times are at weddings.  Family gathers around, friends fly in for your day and memories are created to last a lifetime.  Cheers to all the wonderful and loving weddings we have photographed.














Two years of planning, numerous residency locations for these premed students, now doctors, who chose to be married at the beautiful chapel at St. Mary’s University in Maryland.  Their day arrived loaded with rain, not just a sprits of rain but total downpours throughout the day.  Here they enjoyed a brief break from the celebration with a walk through the autumn trees of the East.













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Wedding Memories & Favorites

Did you know just how much I love the Napa Valley and California, how I love and miss the state of Wyoming and in our beautiful state of California I love the stunning beauty of Yosemite National Park?  Happy are those how choose to be married in these amazing places and how great that they choose to share with me and my team.  Cheers to great and beautiful weddings in our wonderful world.

Yosemite National Park wedding

Mariah and Brian's wedding Yosemite National Park May 31, 2009









Mariah and Brian's wedding Yosemite National Park May 31, 2009









Bride and groom at Inspiration Point in Yosemite National Park









Mariah and Brian's wedding Yosemite National Park May 31, 2009












Before the ceremony in the trees of a Bed and Breakfast.










Philadelphia Arboretum wedding










Katherine and Chris happily married above the wide open spaces of Wyoming.

Mary Steinbacher Photography Napa California; this photo Saratoga WY












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