Thursday, September 27, 2012

Photography Challenges and Wine Tasting - What a Great Combo!

Bon Journo Everybody,

0002- Europe12DAZ_1473Sorry for the delay in getting the next post up.  We rented a car in Rapallo made our way across Italy to check out that engineering and architectural marvel of the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Up close and personal, that thing really leans!  It looks like it could topple over any minute - with the tourists walking through it!

The tour books sort of wrote off Pisa as a tourist trap with lots of souvenirs, etc.  But LaDawn and I both agree it was a side trip worth making.  You know, it's not just the tower itself that is really cool to see in person, but the surrounding buildings like the Duomo are just beautiful to see and we're glad we did. Besides, our stop coincided perfectly with "Gelato Time" and we had sampling of that Italian treat at the New York Cafe - I kid you not, that was it's real name.

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Next it was back to the car.  We programmed in our next stop into our Garmin GPS and set out for Radda in Chianti, about 90 minutes away.  Only one problem, the Garmin died about 10 minutes into our trip.  It seems the cigarette lighter was faulty and was supplying no power to the Garmin which means we were running on battery only for the first part of the trip.  Now the Garmin battery was dead.

With the cooperation of a friendly gas station attendant, a taxi driver, and our own ingenuity, we discovered the Garmin was in good shape - we just needed to find power.  The gas station attendant looked to the back seat for another lighter but didn't find one.  After he left, I dug around the back seat more thoroughly and as lucky would have it, found another lighter socket that worked just fine - we are on our way, albeit about one hour behind schedule.

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Nevertheless our delay made our timing into Radda just about perfect as our arrival coincided with a beautiful Tuscan sunset.  We're looking forward to our four days in the Chianti area of Tuscany to be delicious, relaxing, and educational in that order ;~)

Photography and Wine Tasting - What a Great Combo!

Although we arrived late in the day on Wednesday, it was off to wine country early the next day.  I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable tasting wine all day and then navigating the twisty, turny, hilly Tuscany back roads,  so we hired a driver who knew the area, it's history, and the best wineries in the area. ( Lisa, Rafaella was GREAT!)

0001- Europe12DAZ_1680The day was wonderful especially with our stop at Monteranaldi Vineyards where a special lunch was prepared for us by the owner's personal chef.  The lunch, the main meal of the day here in Italy, was accompanied with parings of wine to go with each course.  I did mention we weren't driving, didn't I! 

Anyway, after one more stop before heading back to the hotel I managed to click off a few more images.

The Photo Challenge of the Day

I have to say,this part of Italy is just beautiful.  Chianti is about 2,100 feet above sea level and there are many beautiful vistas to see along the road.  The problem for us yesterday was slightly bad weather - we were covered up with a very gray, cloudy overcast day. 

You may think that our lighting would have been perfect for shooting - maybe for weddings but not landscapes.  If you make your exposures for the sky, the mountainside is way underexposed.  If you expose for the foliage, you blow out the sky.

HDR to the rescue one more time or so I thought.  I've been letting the camera decide which HDR exposure to use setting it on HDR AUTO for all my images so far on his trip.  Yesterday I decided to take matters into my own hands and told my Canon 5D Mark III to shoot my HDR images at a full three stop exposure range.  That made all the difference in the world to the result I wanted or rather the result I thought I wanted .  Now I could see the rich, green color of the vineyards and still preserve the cloud structure and detail in the sky – at least on the back of the camera. 

The same image in Lightroom 4 was not so good – the greens were just too much.  Check out the the images below to see the difference between the AUTO setting and the 3 stop setting. 1st image - and my tweaked image in Lightroom 4  the 2nd image.  I much prefer my Lightroom 4 tweaked image – what do you think?

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Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We're heading out to see the sights today, including Volterra.  Some of our DPT readers may know Volterra from the Twilight Series - that's the town known for the vampires!!! LaDawn and I are playing it safe and wearing our turtleneck sweaters during our visit;~)

Signing off for now.  See you soon.

Ciao,  David

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